Psychological characteristics of internationally adopted post-institutionalized children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Boris Gindis

Abstract


Gindis, B. (2014). Psychological characteristics of internationally adopted post-institutionalized children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 3(1), 35-42. doi:10.7895/ijadr.v3i1.133

Aims: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) is widely observed in internationally adopted (IA) post-institutionalized children. The specificity of FASD in IA children has significant practical implications and necessitates a modified methodology for identification and remediation.

Design methods, and participants: Clinical case study with statistical analysis (simple frequency recorded in an Excel spreadsheet); quantitative and qualitative data was obtained through individual medical, neuropsychological, and educational assessments of 63 children, ages five to sixteen, adopted from Eastern Europe to the United States.

Findings: FASD in international adoptees presents amplified characteristics typical for this condition, with the following specificities revealed in our research: rapid first-language loss and a particular pattern of English language learning; profound complex childhood trauma related to extreme deprivation and institutional upbringing; “mixed maturity” evident in impaired executive functions; low predictive accuracy during a pre-adoption screening for FASD conditions; general cognitive ability (IQ) being in the Low Average to Borderline range, with processing speed, attention, and working memory as the weakest cognitive skills; and academic achievements being higher than could be predicted based on cognitive abilities.

Conclusions: FASD must be recognized as an educational handicap in our school system in order to change the outcomes for afflicted children. Educational remediation and cognitive-behavioral therapeutic intervention are the most effective remedial methods for IA children with FASD. Practical recommendations for adoptive parents include early identification and specialized remediation of “secondary” disabilities through concerted efforts of the school and family.


Keywords


FASD; FAS; internationally adopted children with FASD; neuropsychological profile of children with FASD; educational profile of children with FASD;

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v3i1.133

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