Going to school provides wonderful opportunities for children to learn and develop new skills and friendships. Adopted children—especially those whose pre-adoption history included abuse, neglect, or orphanage life—often run into unique educational challenges. These challenges can be related to the learning itself, answering questions from classmates or teachers about relinquishment or adoption, or completing school assignments that are personal and painful.
Some children—adopted and biological—need special assistance to thrive academically. There are factors that may require that your child receive special assistance, and, thankfully there are many customizable solutions available through an IEP (sometimes called an Individualized Education Plan, Individualized Education Program, or Individual Education Plan).
By Kathleen L. Whitten, Ph.D. for Bethany Christian Services
I was picking up my daughter from the first Brownie meeting in second grade. The new girl, a little redhead from Florida, looked at me hard and asked, “Are you her mom?” I smiled and said, “I sure am.” I knew something about adoption would come next. I was right.
Q: We adopted our son as an infant. When his classmates learned in grade school that he was adopted, several of them began to tease him, and this has not let up over the years. Later we adopted our daughter from China. She is teased at school because she doesn’t look like the rest of our family. Can you offer any advice about how we can help both of our children deal with teasing?
School provides wonderful opportunities for children to learn and develop new skills and friendships. Adopted children, however, may also experience some challenges in the school setting, ranging from comfortably fielding questions about adoption from classmates, to completing assignments that are insensitive to their history, to overall learning itself.