Parents of Adopted Children Face More Special Education Challenges

Studies show that adopted children suffer from learning disabilities at more than twice the rate of children born biologically to both parents. The result is that many parents of adopted children find themselves in need of professional special education services.

It brings up a lot of issues, including the possible need to find a special needs private school, or if the child attends a public school, making sure that this public institution has the proper resources to handle disabilities. Some parents resort to home schooling while others hire outside private professional help.

Although it is well known that children of adoptive parents have a significantly higher rate of learning disabilities and other issues, finding reliable data to back it up has been elusive so far. Studies have been done, but statistical results vary widely.

For example, a study conducted at Illinois State University found that fully 40 percent of kids that are adopted are receiving special education services. But another similar study done by the Institute of Family Studies came in with a rate of 24 percent.

Although these results are highly at variance statistically, it is an almost certainty that when looking at all children – both adopted and those belonging to natural parents together – the rate of special needs is 10 percent of all students.

What does it mean? The implications are many. For one, parents who are considering adoption should be aware that the child they plan to adopt is much more likely to require expensive, long-term special education resources.

Other implications from the statistics concern funding decision for various government programs. When lawmakers formulate budgets for special education having reliable data on how much to spend on such resources is critical.

The bottom line, however, is that adopted kids are more likely to require special education resources.

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