International Adoption Info

Newsletter #96 for Internationally Adopting Parents
October 16, 2008
PAL Center Inc.


Workshop with
Dr. Gindis' participation
in November 2008

The 28th Annual Adoption Conference

Adoption... Where the Joy Begins

Presented by the Adoptive Parents Committee, Inc.

Sunday, November 23, 2008
8:00AM - 5:00PM

Weill Cornell Medical Center
1300 York Ave.
East 70th St.
New York City, New York

You receive this newsletter
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of the Center for Cognitive-Developmental
Assessment & Remediation,
or a former student
of the BGCenter Online School,
or as a user of the International Adoption Articles Directory.


Latest Articles
from the

International Adoption Articles Directory
New Articles 
Non-verbal Communication in Children

    Nicole Beurkens
    We use 8 different types of nonverbal communication without even thinking about it.
    What are they and how do these skills affect children with developmental disabilities?

    Nonverbal Communication: What’s it all about? Part 1

    Nonverbal Communication: What’s it all about? Part 2

    Nonverbal Communication: What’s it all about? Part 3

Questions and Answers

Deterioration of Cognitive Abilities in FAS Children

    Q: Dr. Gindis, is it true that children with FAS tend to deteriorate in their intellectual abilities and academic work getting older?
    What is your experience and is there any research on that?

    A: Indeed, there is a number of longitudinal research reports (the same individuals were followed for 6 to 20 years), mostly done in Europe (Germany and Scandinavia), that have found that individuals with FAS tend to show lower scores on their IQ tests and lower
    academic achievements as they progress through the school years into their early
    adulthood. At the BGCenter we also have similar data: 8 internationally adopted children
    with FAS that we tested at least 2 times have consistently shown lower and lower scores
    on their cognitive and academic testing.

    I would not call this deterioration, however. The word deterioration means that a person
    had attained a certain level of functioning and after this starts losing it either suddenly
    (e.g.: traumatic brain injury) or gradually (e.g.: Alzheimer). What happens to the
    children with FAS is neither of the above. In fact, they have been progressing, but at
    a different pace that their peers at large, and as the result of this slower pace the
    impression of deterioration may emerge. The individuals with FAS condition are known
    to have problems with high-order (abstract) reasoning. In early elementary school this
    problem is not so obvious and they can make it through those years without noticeable differences. After the age of 12, however, both cognitive tests and academic assignments
    rely more and more heavily on the abstract thinking. At this point the students with FAS
    begin to fall significantly behind the norms designed for their non-handicapped peers.
    Cognitive abilities in the children with FAS present a wide range, but still the majority
    of them are in the Low Average/Borderline range with a few in the Average/High Average,
    and a significant minority (almost 40 percent, according to some studies) is in the
    Mentally Retarded range. Those who were in the Low Average range start responding
    less proficiently to the tests (both academic and psychological) and move into Borderline/
    MR range, getting even more behind in their academic skills.

    The majority of children with FAS are capable to attain what is called "functional literacy"
    - literacy skills on the 5th grade level. This level of literacy allows them to master
    significant number of jobs (unfortunately this number is shrinking with the technological progress). The good news is that when individuals with FAS join the workforce, their weaknesses in the abstract thinking and immature self-regulation are not as obvious as in school, and they can get by with the blue color jobs. For significant minority (close to 40 percent), however, some kind of assistance will be needed at least through their early adulthood, and some may end up with assisted living in group homes.

    One interesting and, to the best of my knowledge, not previously discussed phenomenon
    is what I call "the reverse discrepancy formula" implication. I found that in the majority
    of those children with FAS that I tested, their achievement scores were higher than
    cognitive scores. In other words, they performed academically better than could be
    predicted based on their cognitive scores. It means that cognitive tests may not be a
    good predictor for children with FAS in relation to their learning ability. Also, a strong
    support in the family and the remedial efforts at their school are to be taken into
    consideration. But the bottom line is that the children with FAS can do better in school
    than it may be expected based on their IQ

    B. Gindis, Ph.D.


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