International Adoption Info

Newsletter #135 for Internationally Adopting Parents
September 30, 2010
PAL Center Inc.


Dr. Gindis
will accept patients in the BGCenter-West office in Phoenix, AZ on

his next trip in December 10, 2010 - January 6, 2011
Call 845-694-8496
for details
your parenting skills with

International Adoption
Articles Directory,
Dr. Gindis' answers
on your questions
about older internationally adopted children


New Specialist
in the BGCenter-West

Carol Zelaya
School Psychologist,
M.Ed., Ed.S.

Beginning June 2010,
we accept
Spanish-speaking internationally adopted children
psychological screening, proper school placement determination, and services
in our BGCenter-West office
in Phoenix, Arizona.

For more information
call 845-694-8496
or email

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



Latest Articles
from the

International Adoption Articles Directory

Questions and Answers

My Child Has an IEP - Now What?
(How to make IEP work)

Our daughter has an IEP because we got her tested in Russian when we adopted her. She tested as being LD in the native language, so it was never a question of "Oh, she's just struggling because she is an English language learner." I highly recommend anyone adopting a school age child have the test in his or her native language ASAP. On the other hand, I'm not so sure how much good the IEP is doing. The school does not know what to do with a child who didn't have any education or hear a word of English until almost age 9. She goes to resource room where the teacher works with small groups to help them with the day's lessons, but our daughter has such a lack of global knowledge and lack of vocabulary that just learning "today's lesson" isn't that big a help.
From a message of an adoptive parent
Dr. Gindis
An IEP (Individual Educational Plan) is a tool, an instrument, a method, not a goal in and out of itself. An IEP is created for children who cannot benefit (at least temporally) from a mainstream educational process due to certain individual differences (developmental, neurological, cognitive, emotional, sensory, etc.). As any other instrument, IEP is as efficient as the one who uses this tool. IEP is also a legal document: it is an obligation, a contract assumed by the school; once accepted, it must be implemented and maintained until officially removed. Although flexible (it can and should be periodically adjusted and modified), it must be followed exactly, and failure to act as this IEP prescribes, constitutes a legal liability for the school.
Structurally, IEP consists of a child's placement determination, description of services to be provided, and remedial methodology to be applied. The available placements range from the least restrictive (general education) to most restrictive (homebound, or hospital-bound, or placement in residential specialized school). Services include, but not restricted to: speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, adaptive physical education, etc. In addition, IEP includes other components, such as classroom modification, test accommodations, behavior plan, etc.
Now, what can be done by parents to insure that their child's IEP is effective?
The effectiveness of any IEP is firmly based on three "must have" conditions:
  • The right remedial methodology
  • The intensity of remedial input
  • The continuity of remedial efforts

If you child goes to Resource Room to get "help with the day's lessons" - it is not remediation, and this IEP is not worth the paper it is written on. Our children require specific methods of teaching, called "remedial methodology." An example could be an Orton-Gillingham based approach, such as the Wilson Reading System. It's the research-based reading and writing program that uses a structured, sequential, multi-sensory, language-based remedial approach. Fluency and comprehension of reading/writing skills are emphasized in WRS, and the criterion-based assessment, built into the program, tracks the student's progress. The reading component of the WRS places heavy emphasis on accurate word decoding. Reading comprehension skills include summarizing, paraphrasing, predicting, and drawing inferences. In this method, spelling is taught through specially arranged dictating in which students practice encoding spoken language.

Most IA children need remediation in their cognitive-academic language, and the WRS provides explicit instruction in rules of the language necessary for comprehending, remembering, and communicating academic and social information.

The multi-sensory nature of remedial methods is very important: the instructor's teaching methods have to be action-oriented; with auditory, visual, and kinesthetic elements reinforcing each other for optimal learning. From the behavioral reinforcement perspective, with most Orton-Gillingham based approaches, IA students experience a high degree of success and gain confidence as well as skills: learning becomes a rewarding and happy experience. It is important that remedial approach, such as the Wilson Reading System, provides not only direct remediation in basic academic skills, but is concurrently aimed at developing organizational skills, work habits, and regulation of attention.

The intensity of remediation is the next crucial requirement: One or two hours a week will not make any difference; an intense input means at least two hours a day of remedial work.

The existing research in cognitive psychology and remediation, as well as the best practice in special education, indicate that the "incessant input" and "regular reviewing" are the basic conditions for remediation; therefore, the continuity of remedial efforts is a necessary component of an IEP effectiveness.

The effectiveness of IEP depends also on the preparedness of service providers. These professionals have to be familiar with the specificity of our children and their educational needs. In many cases the parents would provide such an education, bringing to the school different publications related to international adoptees.

An IEP is created by a team of school professionals. By law, the parent of the child for whom an IEP has to be created is a member of this team. The parent has absolutely the same rights and responsibilities as any other member of an IEP team and may introduce his/her suggestions, recommendations, and rejections during the creation and implementation of their child's IEP. For example, a parent may request an application of any additional methodologies recommended, by an external psycho-educational evaluator. While other members of an IEP team have many IEPs on their hands and this is their routine job, a parent has only one IEP to worry about, and this is the remedial plan for your child, not just a "student": Thus parents should not delegate the responsibility of selecting what's necessary for their child at school, but be motivated to get the most out of their IEPs. An outside paid or volunteer specialist (a child advocate), can be a representative on their behalf during an IEP creation process; the parents can and should monitor the execution of the plan.


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