Educational Outcomes of Children Adopted from Eastern Europe, Now Ages 8-12

By Neuharth-Pritchett, Stacey | Childhood Education, August 15, 2006 | Go to article overview

Educational Outcomes of Children Adopted from Eastern Europe, Now Ages 8-12


Neuharth-Pritchett, Stacey, Childhood Education


Educational Outcomes of Children Adopted From Eastern Europe, Now Ages 8-12 --Tirella, Chan, & Miller

Longitudinal data on the cognitive and physical outcomes of children adopted from Eastern Europe by American families is limited. In the late 1980s, much was made of the conditions of the orphanages and institutions for infants and toddlers in Romania. While there is clear evidence that many children adopted from such settings in Eastern European countries are more at risk for medical concerns and developmental delay, research that follows these children into their elementary school experience is lacking. As noted in recent research (Groza & Ryan, 2002; Rutter, English, & Romanian Adoptees Study Team, 1998), the learning difficulties and emotional concerns of this group of children present issues for families and schools.

The current descriptive study focused on children and their families from three adoption-related organizations: an international adoption clinic, a private neuropsychological practice, and an adoption agency. The children selected for the study were between the ages of 8 and 12 and were adopted from the following Eastern European countries: Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Lithuania, Moldova, Latvia, and Belarus. The 32 percent return rate for the survey included 81 children, of whom 33 were males and 48 were females. The survey included 61 questions on background information of the child and adoptive parents, medical and disabilities information on the child, types of post-adoption services and supports, and experiences that the family had with their adoptive child's school.

The survey results indicated that adoptive children ranged in age from I to 8 at the time of their adoption. The mean length of time that the child had lived with his or her adoptive family was 4.5 years (SD = 2 years). Data revealed that 29 percent of the children were below grade level and 52 percent of the children had been diagnosed with language disorders or delays in such areas as expressive language, receptive language, abstract reasoning, and auditory processing. Consequently, 49 percent of the children had individualized education plans that included speech and language services. Of the sample, 36 percent of the children were diagnosed with learning disabilities, including delays in mathematics, reading, written language, and visual perception. …

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