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Can anyone help advise me of a realistic time frame to have our kiddos we adopted assessed.  They have been home for about 5 months, and based on years of homeschooling outliers, I understand a lot about them.  But separating out their special needs that inhere in them versus spring from their "adopted" status is a huge question mark.  I am trying to avoid putting them in front of more people who conflate these issues.  DH and I are beyond frustrated with the "professionals" who are happy to take our money but provide no helpful answers. 

 

Should we wait for a few more months, maybe after they have been with us for a year? 

 

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They are 4, 4, and 6.  My little girl (4) is highly distractible, very loud, has an abnormally high pain threshold and craves sensory stimulation. She doesn't sleep much either even though she needs a lot.  The meds they tried actually stimulated her.  When she is in a good place, she is delightful, although she is not "compliant" and is strong-willed (I'm used to that with my bio kids :) )  Her twin brother is as calm as she is excitable, and both of them are very confident and strong now that they are in a good place.  My concern for my little girl is her ability to learn when she is so easily distracted.  Her twin brother is learning better than both of his siblings.  She struggles to learn because she just struggles so much to pay attention.

 

Older brother (6) has extreme anxiety but complies with outsiders and English teachers.  It concerns me because they don't see how he is trying to be perfect, as his panic attacks and problems are generally just at home.  Honestly, I think it is because he feels like he can actually be real with us.  His anxiety seems to me to likely inhere more in his fragile personality  which was magnified many times over due to abject poverty and neglect.  He is so anxious about failure that he doesn't want to try to learn.  But his teachers just say crap like what a delightful, silly boy he is and that he'll learn eventually.  If I wanted my child to be passed over and allowed to stagnate because of his "status" he could have stayed in the horrible place where they already wrote him off.  What really angers me is they think they are being nice, but low expectations communicate to kids you don't believe they can do anything.  He has had enough of that sh*t to last a lifetime.

 

 

 

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You can begin anything that is bodywork right now, because it will bust through language barriers. I wouldn't do psych evals just yet but would start with the bodywork and see where that gets you. If you can find an OT or PT who is really, really good with retained reflexes, that will be a start. Also consider trauma techniques like TRE. There are psychs who specialize in trauma and neglect who are doing it with kids. It can also be a method of working on self-regulation.

 

The other thing that would help you is to look for a Social Thinking or Zones of Regulation workshop and try to get in. These are techniques that are going to benefit your kids.

 

Yes, anyone who is blowing off your concerns is not recognizing that they have MORE impacting them than just typical development that you outgrow. They have things going on in their bodies, due to their backgrounds, that are going to need some interventions. For my ds, that extreme level of physical has calmed down with serious, serious reflex work and stroking. We started in January, took a month to get him just able to tolerate it, did a month really faithfully (ramping up to 3X/day!), tried to back off when she said we were clearing, had symptoms resume, and are still doing it now in mid-April. But the difference is LIFE-ALTERING. He no longer needs any meds nor will the ped give him any. That's with the bodywork. 

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I'm not an expert by any means, but from a layman's perspective, is your older son in any sort of therapy? (After what they've been through, it would probably be beneficial for all of them.) A therapist, especially if you can find one who specializes in RAD and other adoption issues, could very well help him work through the anxiety.

 

As far as your daughter's sensory issues, it would probably be worthwhile to have her evaluated by an OT. The sensory needs could very well be playing into her distractibility, and once those needs are addressed the other issues you're seeing may very well also improve. (SPD is often misdiagnosed as ADHD.) In the meantime, you can try interspersing schoolwork with heavy work, every hour or two if possible. It may really help her increase focus.

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If the school does not do IEPs and will not provide services, you're going to want to consider changing schools. These needs are not going to disappear in a year and are not going to go away simply because they turn 5. Part of what you're saying or leading up to is that your dc need IEPs.

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If the school does not do IEPs and will not provide services, you're going to want to consider changing schools. These needs are not going to disappear in a year and are not going to go away simply because they turn 5. Part of what you're saying or leading up to is that your dc need IEPs.

 

Oldest DS is in school, but the only specials they are doing is English lessons. Long term, I want him in a progressive, private school but his English needs to improve.  The twins being at home with me have developed their language schools far better than DS6 who supposedly has 3 lessons each week. Given his highly extroverted personality and social needs, DS6 needs a school environment so it would not be good for him to be homeschooled.

 

I reached out to the school social worker, but she said the teacher is thrilled with DS and he is thriving.  His lack of skill acquisition suggests otherwise.

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As far as your daughter's sensory issues, it would probably be worthwhile to have her evaluated by an OT. The sensory needs could very well be playing into her distractibility, and once those needs are addressed the other issues you're seeing may very well also improve. (SPD is often misdiagnosed as ADHD.) In the meantime, you can try interspersing schoolwork with heavy work, every hour or two if possible. It may really help her increase focus.

 

Thank you!

 

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A couple of things...my friend adopted kids she thought were neurotypical from overseas (they ended up having SN). I don't want to get too specific here. Early on, she picked up speech issues with her daughter, and it was blamed on her daughter still learning English. My friend knew that it was a speech issue (she has an ear for these things), and she pressed for testing in her daughter's native language, and sure enough, she had language delays. 

 

While your son may or may not have speech issues, the school is REQUIRED to test students in their BEST LANGUAGE--it is the district's responsibility to locate someone who can do this. The school is not really going to suss out adoption vs. SN and the like in the way that a private psych or clinic might, so it might actually be a positive to go through the school and to do it soon so that your children will still have the opportunity to access their native language. If you submit a written request for formal evaluations for the purpose of determining whether a student is eligible or special education (underlined because the wording has to be something like that and has to be written, or the school can blow you off), it starts a legal timeline in which the school has to respond. Those are your rights under IDEA.

 

We have friends that went the private route with having their adoptive daughter evaluated for learning issues, sensory, etc. She got some good help, but for the price, it wasn't what they had hoped for. The school will be focused on specific needs and eligibility, not ferreting things out. So, it would give them time to settle on an emotional and physical level (during which time you can look for trauma competent therapies), the evaluation is free, and you can take advantage of that native language window to get a bead on where they are cognitively. If you go through the school, check "all the boxes" on the ETR permission to assess form (ETR is the process that leads to an IEP, a 504 plan, or a denial for services, and then you can agree, appeal, etc.). The IDEA website will give you a ballpark of what your rights are, and then your state's department of education will have all the forms and the process outlined online. Know your rights and know what parts of the process are crucial. The very first thing you do is agree to testing, and agree to which testing will be done. It is where you agree to what language will be used for testing. It's nearly the most important part of the process, but it's the part that is least emphasized. The school will leave it up to you to know your rights. They probably have to give you a booklet, but they might actually expect you to sign forms, and if you wait until you get the book,  you might miss something. Many of us on this forum can help you be ready if you go this route.

 

I don't know where you live, but this organization is for the six and under crowd, and they are well-versed in trauma. The people who work there are from a variety of disciplines, including OT. I think if you contacted them, they might be able to describe what kinds of therapy or evaluations could help you long-term related to therapy and how to figure out if options you evaluate will be harmful or helpful before subjecting your kids to new things.  http://connectionsforlife.org/

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Taking Kbutton's comments one step further, I'll point out that the ps *still* has to do evals, even if they're in a private school. Is this ps or private? I think that language point is HUGE. It's sort of a side story, but when I was in Russia years ago, I remember this one boy in the family who puzzled me. I just thought my russian was really bad, and then I got better enough that I realized it was him, that he had some kind of disability. So imagine us trying, as native english speakers, to interpret development in someone who can't even show it clearly in a way that connects. 

 

So Kbutton is really, really right that if you're noticing ANYTHING significant that getting evals in their native language could be exceptionally helpful. The ps is legally bound, sure, but you still have to provide evidence so that they don't deny you the evals. If the teacher in the ps is "happy" with him, then they could deny you and say there's no cause. So gather up the list of things you're seeing and be really specific. 

 

 

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So Kbutton is really, really right that if you're noticing ANYTHING significant that getting evals in their native language could be exceptionally helpful. The ps is legally bound, sure, but you still have to provide evidence so that they don't deny you the evals. If the teacher in the ps is "happy" with him, then they could deny you and say there's no cause. So gather up the list of things you're seeing and be really specific. 

 

I know that RTI gets trotted out as a reason to not do evals, IDEA clarifies some of this on their website. See Questions C-2 and C-4--it has to do with the overall approach of the district. http://idea-b.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,dynamic,QaCorner,8,.html

 

Depending whether your kids are non-white and depending somewhat on where you live, there are some tender points about evaluating kids who fall into those demographics. I think I have read  in the past couple of years that statistically ESL learners and non-white kids have often been moved into special education improperly because of bias vs. need, so it might be good to know that going in--the school may be worried they are getting into a sticky situation. I guess there has been some disparity in applying least restrictive environment in the past, so kids were getting more discipline and/or services that weren't needed based on bias and other related factors. I am not sure I'm saying that in the most appropriate way--it's been a while since I read about this issue and being white, it's all secondhand to me. If I am not stating it in correct terms, my apologies in advance. I am still getting educated about how these things happen.

 

I suspect that it might be a good idea to say, "We think our kids are struggling in these areas (specific data...), and we don't feel that those things are related to learning English because of x and y." It might bring up things that the teacher just doesn't see.

 

The other thing to consider is whether or not you are seeing things that fall within what the school remediates or what IDEA considers a disability category. For instance, some schools do sensory work, but some do not (because sensory issues are considered symptoms, not a disability). In those schools, an OT is really going to evaluate only really basic stuff like handwriting and postural support for sitting. They might provide some schoolwide consults on sensory regulation or provide some classroom tools across the board, but they probably won't identify a child as needing OT solely on the basis of sensory needs. Their focus is just different. But once a child is in school-based OT for something, they might get some sensory work as it comes up. That might be different for preschool aged children also.

 

Everything in school is like this--it's about getting them to do classroom activities and academics. But, if you are worried about someone reading into adopted and SN and not just lumping everything in with adoption, the school is likely to be pretty agnostic on the adoption issue.

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I am sorry but I don't know your whole story but we had adopted ones with special needs.

 

Is English their 2nd language?  Did they know any English before coming home?  Are they international or domestic adoptions?

I would also suggest finding some good adoption resources.....books, websites, facebook groups, conferences, etc. where you can meet up with other adoptive parents in similar situations.

Often these kiddos are like onions with layers and layers of things to work through.

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They are 4, 4, and 6. My little girl (4) is highly distractible, very loud, has an abnormally high pain threshold and craves sensory stimulation. She doesn't sleep much either even though she needs a lot. The meds they tried actually stimulated her. When she is in a good place, she is delightful, although she is not "compliant" and is strong-willed (I'm used to that with my bio kids :) ) Her twin brother is as calm as she is excitable, and both of them are very confident and strong now that they are in a good place. My concern for my little girl is her ability to learn when she is so easily distracted. Her twin brother is learning better than both of his siblings. She struggles to learn because she just struggles so much to pay attention.

 

Older brother (6) has extreme anxiety but complies with outsiders and English teachers. It concerns me because they don't see how he is trying to be perfect, as his panic attacks and problems are generally just at home. Honestly, I think it is because he feels like he can actually be real with us. His anxiety seems to me to likely inhere more in his fragile personality which was magnified many times over due to abject poverty and neglect. He is so anxious about failure that he doesn't want to try to learn. But his teachers just say crap like what a delightful, silly boy he is and that he'll learn eventually. If I wanted my child to be passed over and allowed to stagnate because of his "status" he could have stayed in the horrible place where they already wrote him off. What really angers me is they think they are being nice, but low expectations communicate to kids you don't believe they can do anything. He has had enough of that sh*t to last a lifetime.

I can relate to this so much! We were placed with DD15 at age 11.5 (5th grade) through the foster system. Her public school teachers kept saying how lovely and sweet she was "given her circumstances" and gave her A's. We found out a few months in she was totally illiterate! Couldn't read a baby board book. Nor could she multiply, divide, or calculate time or money. We were horrified.

 

Given her age and the upcoming adoption finalization we did push for evaluations which she got 1 year after placement and we got the results 2 months after finalizing. I'm not sure I regret it...given her age we needed to do something. But I don't feel we got accurate answers and I'm now having her reevaluated to possibly remove the intellectual disability diagnosis. Here's the thing: a shocking amount of the testing is interviewing parents and teachers for info. So they'd ask: "can she do laundry?" And I'd say, "well, no, but she's only been with us 9-10 months so I haven't really tried." The evaluator was young and inexperienced and seemed to ignore our caveats about only having had her 9 months after the kid had had zero teaching or guidance at home before. He also gave a test not normed for hearing impaired kids (she's partly deaf) Super unprofessional.

 

Anyway, because your kids are young I would wait on evaluations for 2 years from adoption. That way you can collect more info so the evaluator won't disregard stuff as "just because of being adopted" but also won't be assessing behaviors that are truly just because of the transition that happens in joining a new family. You can say, "so we've been doing xyz and it doesn't seem to have helped." with confidence. Or maybe the most concerning behaviors will subside and then you'll decide there is no underlying issue, or have a decent idea that it's something small and easily remediated (like dyslexia or adhd).

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I am sorry but I don't know your whole story but we had adopted ones with special needs.

 

Is English their 2nd language?  Did they know any English before coming home?  Are they international or domestic adoptions?

 

I would also suggest finding some good adoption resources.....books, websites, facebook groups, conferences, etc. where you can meet up with other adoptive parents in similar situations.

 

Often these kiddos are like onions with layers and layers of things to work through.

 

I have read so many adoption related resources but don't have good contacts in terms of adoptive parents.  The books have not been very helpful. We hired someone to work with them in their country before we brought them home, but very little was done.  Their comprehension of English is outstanding, and youngest son's articulation is nearly flawless.  My daughter has speech issues, so we are going to hire someone to work privately with her.  I don't want to go into too many details on a public board, but we live in a rich school district and have several close friends with children who are simply labeled and put in special ed classes when it is not warranted; to be honest, it sickens me that so many children are marginalized because they are different.  I can go the PS school route to have her evaluated, but DH and I have elected not to because we trust private professionals a great deal more.  In addition, my little girl will never be put in a school context because, as bright as she is, she is in no way suited to the traditional context.

 

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I can relate to this so much! We were placed with DD15 at age 11.5 (5th grade) through the foster system. Her public school teachers kept saying how lovely and sweet she was "given her circumstances" and gave her A's. We found out a few months in she was totally illiterate! Couldn't read a baby board book. Nor could she multiply, divide, or calculate time or money. We were horrified.

 

Given her age and the upcoming adoption finalization we did push for evaluations which she got 1 year after placement and we got the results 2 months after finalizing. I'm not sure I regret it...given her age we needed to do something. But I don't feel we got accurate answers and I'm now having her reevaluated to possibly remove the intellectual disability diagnosis. Here's the thing: a shocking amount of the testing is interviewing parents and teachers for info. So they'd ask: "can she do laundry?" And I'd say, "well, no, but she's only been with us 9-10 months so I haven't really tried." The evaluator was young and inexperienced and seemed to ignore our caveats about only having had her 9 months after the kid had had zero teaching or guidance at home before. He also gave a test not normed for hearing impaired kids (she's partly deaf) Super unprofessional.

 

Anyway, because your kids are young I would wait on evaluations for 2 years from adoption. That way you can collect more info so the evaluator won't disregard stuff as "just because of being adopted" but also won't be assessing behaviors that are truly just because of the transition that happens in joining a new family. You can say, "so we've been doing xyz and it doesn't seem to have helped." with confidence. Or maybe the most concerning behaviors will subside and then you'll decide there is no underlying issue, or have a decent idea that it's something small and easily remediated (like dyslexia or adhd).

Thanks for this.  I think we will wait longer and just supplement oldest DS (6).  He reads well for us, though he is not doing much at school.  And his teacher's remarks largely echo what they told you.  DD4 is going to work on speech therapy.  Thankfully, we have a trusted private resource for this. :) In the meantime, I think we'll just wait.  Thanks for the advice!

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I wouldn't discount the school system based on what you said. Have your friends told you that their children are improperly placed in special ed, or is that your opinion? I have to say that no one who knows my two children with IEPs would be able to know that they have significant disabilities just from interacting with them on a social basis. Unless your friends have told you they think their children are being poorly served, your opinion may not be correct.

 

My children were adopted internationally, but they were infants, so we had years before they hit school age, and English skills were not at issue, for the most part. One child was 10 months old when he came home, and so did not hear English for almost his first year of life; his slight delays with speech did not concern us. Another child had an obvious speech delay and got help through early intervention.

 

There are adoption health specialists at some children's hospitals. If you live close enough to such a center, it may be helpful to consult with them to help sort out what could be adoption issues.

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I wouldn't discount the school system based on what you said. Have your friends told you that their children are improperly placed in special ed, or is that your opinion? I have to say that no one who knows my two children with IEPs would be able to know that they have significant disabilities just from interacting with them on a social basis. Unless your friends have told you they think their children are being poorly served, your opinion may not be correct.

 

My children were adopted internationally, but they were infants, so we had years before they hit school age, and English skills were not at issue, for the most part. One child was 10 months old when he came home, and so did not hear English for almost his first year of life; his slight delays with speech did not concern us. Another child had an obvious speech delay and got help through early intervention.

 

There are adoption health specialists at some children's hospitals. If you live close enough to such a center, it may be helpful to consult with them to help sort out what could be adoption issues.

 

After the school labeled these children, their parents had them assessed by private, outside professionals whose reports completely contradicted the schools' assessment.  Everyone has different experiences, and I appreciate your opinion.  For what it is worth, I am attorney by training and do nothing without a shed load of evidence to back up my position. ;)

 

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Thanks for this. I think we will wait longer and just supplement oldest DS (6). He reads well for us, though he is not doing much at school. And his teacher's remarks largely echo what they told you. DD4 is going to work on speech therapy. Thankfully, we have a trusted private resource for this. :) In the meantime, I think we'll just wait. Thanks for the advice!

I think doing the speech therapy in the meantime is a great idea. You're addressing the visible delay and then you can use those speech therapy records to bolster your argument if you need to push for evaluations later.

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Just from my limited experience of my permanent care twins. It took a good 12 months for them to start to settle in. They have been doing fourtnightly occupational therapy and speach therapy since being placed with us. They are now working with a play therapist and are now at a stage that we are going to get cognitive testing done.

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Just from my limited experience of my permanent care twins. It took a good 12 months for them to start to settle in. They have been doing fourtnightly occupational therapy and speach therapy since being placed with us. They are now working with a play therapist and are now at a stage that we are going to get cognitive testing done.

 

Thanks so much for this!  We are going to have them work on OT and speech and forego the rest for now, as we work through trauma sources OhElizabeth recommended.  I am hopeful that might get them to a better place sooner than later.

 

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Posted before I was finished. The occupational therapist does the brigance test on the twins every six months and it has been a helpful indicator on gross and fine motor skills. Also the OT has provided invaluable advice on calming techniques and sensory aids etc.

Thanks!  I think calming techniques would be particularly helpful for us to learn with DD4.  She gets into a bad place and just gets stuck there.

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