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Psychological services for internationally adopted children
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Q: Do you know of anyone in the N….. area who specializes in treating children with FAS?

A:No. But I will give you some general guidelines on where to look. The medical profession may be the first to diagnose FAS based on growth retardation and features of facial dysmorphology. A diagnosis, however, is not often confirmed until developmental difficulties and central nervous system involvement become apparent later (usually during pre-school years, but sometimes only in school years). Timely and correct diagnosis is crucial because it leads to early and appropriate intervention that may reduce some of the psychosocial manifestations of this disorder. Your second line of defense is special education and psychological services (consultation and therapy). You may go back to your physician to ask for pharmacological intervention, if a need arises, but your main partners in remediation should be a special ed. teacher and a psychologist. Children with FAS/FAE qualify for special ed. services under the category "other health impaired", "learning disabled" and some other classifications (in NY State, at least). Some of them may need as little as a Resource Room tutoring and school-based counseling. Some may need a self-contained placement and a number of services, including speech, OT, and others. At different age level FAS has somewhat different manifestations, but what stays with FAS children at any age are cognitive impairments and behavior problems (ranging from restlessness/inattentiveness to a serious behavior conduct disorder). In my time (15 years ago) FAS in Russia was recognized as the leading "known" cause of mental retardation, surpassing even Down's syndrome! Different degrees of "learning disability" are found in almost all children diagnosed with FAS/FAE. Therefore, you should look for a psychologist with a cognitive-behavioral orientation. Do not look just for a "specialist in FAS", you may not find one. Any good psychologist with cognitive-behavioral background may help you with managing the child at home (through consultation and/or short-term therapy, if needed) and to monitor his/her progress in school.



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Last update on May 8, 2018