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Q: My daughter is post-institutionally adopted from Russia. She has been home for 4 years and is currently in kindergarten. Her behavior mirrors some of the same traits as that of ADD. Is a diagnosis of ADD therefore incorrect? Shouldn't she be diagnosed as Post-Institutional Behavior? Either way, would the same academic modifications be the best way to help her in school?

A: Given the age of adoption of your child (about 2 years old?), it's very unlikely that your daughter was able to acquire at that age any patterns of institutional behavior and retain them during the next 4 years in her American family. It's more likely, that her diagnosis of ADD is the real problem. Though ADD and post-institutional behavior, as you correctly pointed out, have similar presentation, they are very different internally. It's important to understand that the second one (post-institutional behavior) is not a medical condition, it's rather an acquired and reinforced by the institutional circumstances pattern of behavior, which was useful as a survival skill. Normally, in a healthy child these skills, even if they indeed were noted in the child on arrival, should diminish and disappear and new, more adequate for the family life skills be learned over the time.



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Last update on May 8, 2018