Is there help for my child with adoption attachment issues in the school setting?

IEPS and other education assistance for older adopted children with attachment issues.

By Gloria Wassell, MHC, NCC, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Receiving help for my child with adoption attachment issues in the school setting.

This depends on the nature of your child’s difficulties, and to what extent the challenges affect their participation and involvement in school, such as academic supports, social skills, physical development, medical needs, classroom accommodations, and other school-related services or supports.

Speak with a school administrator or counselor about your concerns regarding your older adopted child’s functioning at school. Depending on the concerns, the school may suggest having a child team meeting with your child’s team (teachers, principal, school psychologist, special education teacher, etc.) and decide whether to have your child assessed through the school district.

Collaborate on appropriate school supports which may include varying levels of intervention based on each individual student’s needs. In some cases students may qualify for a 504 accommodation plan, or an IEP to be determined through a school based evaluation.

Education laws and regulations are in place to guide this process of ensuring that all children (in the United States) have the same opportunities and access to learning.

Parents have a right to send a request expressing concerns to the school district Special Education Office. Schools have to respond within a certain period of time to evaluate the child. The evaluations are based on areas of concern, at no cost to the family, and are used to identify whether there are needs to provide.

If the child is not improving in the public school setting, the results of the evaluation and concerns are discussed at the IEP team meeting (the parent is just as important a team member as any school staff), then a more appropriate placement can be considered (e.g., smaller class size, special school setting, therapeutic residential school, etc.).

Students and parents are protected by federal and state educational laws and regulations through the IDEA process of establishing FAPE, scheduling IEP meetings, requesting IEEs (when you disagree with the school’s educational assessment results), and managing the child’s IEP (Independent Educational Plan). An excellent resource for education laws and education advocacy is WrightsLaw. The OCR website is also useful and provides information on civil rights.

Gloria Wassell is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a co-author of the excellent resource Adopting Older Children.