Adoption and Schools

An adopted child can face special issues when going to school. You can anticipate some of the school challenges your child may face so you can minimize the impact of these issues.

Adoption and School Issues

Once a child is 5 or 6 years old, the school environment plays a major role in their life. The child's teachers and school mates become a major source of the child's interactions.

As a parent you can recognize that many of the problems your child experiences in school are "normal" educational, school, social, and school-system problems that tend to be common to most children.

However, sometimes problems can develop that cause you as the parent to wonder if the problem is related to the fact that the child is adopted.

Some of the questions parents frequently have are:

How does adoption impact on a child as it relates to the school setting?

Are there specific problems that one can anticipate in adopted children?

Is it important to let the school and the teachers know the child is adopted?

If the child was adopted from foster care, what special school issue need to be addressed?

How do we address the "make a family tree" and other assignments often given in elementary school?

How do adopted children adjust to the pressures of middle and high school? 

How can a parent help increase the awareness and sensitivity of school personnel to adoption issues?

There are few if any answers to the above questions that apply to all children. What you can do to begin answering these questions as they relate to your child and family is to read the Child Welfare Information Gateway article Adoption and School Issues and visit the links Adoption and Child Development Issues and Explaining Adoption as well as Adoption Emotional Issues.

Need More Help

If your adopted child has developmental and/or learning disabilities, you may find the Child Welfare Information Gateway article Adopting Children with Developmental Disabilities helpful.

If you need or want some specific personal advice, contact your adoption agency social worker, state child welfare agency, local mental health center, state adoption contact, or the state Department of Education or Department of Health for recommendations of appropriate programs and professionals. You can also call Dr. Vince Berger, a psychologist and adoption professional.

Please visit our home page to read about our commitment to assist adoptive families like yours as well as pregnant women, birth parents and their children.

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