Children, Youth and Families

Some children available for adoption have special needs. For example:

ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER (ADD): Children with ADD have a difficult time paying attention, show impulsive behavior and are often very active. Parents of these children find that having clear rules and known consequences helps. Sometimes, these children can best manage themselves when on medication. Accepting one of these children means you will have to work closely with the school system to see that the child gets a teacher and a classroom setting that works for him/her. The child's therapist may suggest special parenting classes and counseling. This counseling may be for the child, parents and any siblings.

ASTHMA: Children with asthma may have frequent coughing and wheezing. They may take medication to control it. Some things which may help prevent asthma attacks are a very clean house and a balanced diet. As vigorous exercise may trigger asthma attacks for some children, parents need to ask their physician if certain activities should be avoided. Frequently, swimming is a suggested activity as it helps increase lung capacity. If it is serious, there is a chance that the child will miss more than the average number of school days due to asthma. Parents of children with asthma need to be sure that there is cooperation from the school in regard to making up assignments and keeping up with their grade level.

AUTISM: When children are diagnosed as autistic, their behavior and communication is affected. Their ability to learn, understand and participate in social activities is sometimes limited. Children with autism may withdraw from contact with others, have difficulty developing personal relationships, abnormal responses to sensations, and display repetitive motor behaviors. Children with autism may avoid eye contact and game playing. Their language is usually delayed or impaired. They may repeat what others say and/or repeat unclear words and sounds. Children with autism thrive under routines, they do not cope well with change. Some children require long-term supervision. Early interventions, such as special education classes and individualized training programs help to lessen the severity of their condition. Children with autism require schooling that focuses on learning language and self-help skills. When communicating with an autistic child with autism, be direct, use simple directions, have the child ask for things by name and encourage interactions with children with a higher level of development. Reinforcements such as tokens, food or small toys to control behavior are successful.

CEREBRAL PALSY: Children who have cerebral palsy have a group of medical conditions, not a disease. These children lack normal muscle control and may suffer from a variety of other movement and speech impairments. Sometimes cerebral palsy shows itself only by a slight awkwardness in their walk. A person with more severe cerebral palsy may find it necessary to use a wheelchair, braces or special shoes for assistance. Often there are other related disabilities such as seizures, or impaired speech, sight and/or hearing. they may also suffer from emotional and /or learning disabilities. Many children with cerebral palsy are sensitive to light, loud music and temperature. They are frequently congested and may drool.

DEVELOPMENTAL DELAYS: These children are delayed in meeting developmental tasks such as crawling, walking, talking, toilet training, writing and coloring. With therapy and assistance, some of these children will catch up with other children their age while for others the delays may be permanent.

EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS: A Therapeutic Foster Family setting provides special training to foster parents to meet the needs of children experiencing emotional problems. Typically, these families have a treatment plan for each child and work closely with the therapist to carry out that plan. Children are placed in these settings only after a thorough review of their treatment needs. Families adopting children who live in therapeutic foster homes will need to establish a cooperative relationship wit the therapeutic foster parents as the child transitions into their adoptive home. The transition from the foster home to the adoptive home may take longer than usual.

EPILEPSY: Abnormal electrical-chemical brain activity cause seizures of varying types and intensity. Epilepsy may occur because of brain damage or injury, illness or chemical imbalances. More than 80% of these cases can be controlled with medication.

FETAL ALCOHOL EFFECTS: Fetal alcohol effects consist of growth, mental and physical problems that may occur in a child when their birth mother drinks alcohol during her pregnancy. When children are born with fetal alcohol effects, it means that their birth mother drank alcohol during her pregnancy. They may have some minor facial abnormalities, may be hyperactive, have difficulty staying on task and may have some learning difficulties.

MILDLY MENTALLY HANDICAPPED: Children with mild deficits may face difficulty and require help when accomplishing tasks like feeding and dressing themselves, and using the restroom. In school they will need to be in smaller special education where they can receive more individual attention. While their socialization skills may not be on target with other children their age, they are able to play and enjoy activities with others.

MODERATELY MENTALLY HANDICAPPED: Children with moderate deficits may also face difficulty accomplishing everyday personal tasks. Their language skills are basic and they may be limited in communicating basic needs and desires. While these children should develop skills which will allow them to live in a supervised home when they are adults it is likely they will always need some assistance.

SPINA BIFIDA: A birth defect characterized by failure of the bone to completely enclose the spinal cord. Babies born with spina bifida may also have hydrocephalus or fluid on the brain. They may have little or no sensation in the lower half of the body. The cause of spina bifida is not known.

VISUALLY IMPAIRED: Partial or total loss of sight due to congenital defect, injury or accident.