Glossary of Special Needs Adoption-Related Terms “A”

Glossary Special Needs and Adoption-Related Terms: Adoption terms and special needs words may vary from agency to agency. The terms used in this Special Needs Adoption-Related Glossary may be slightly different from one State to another.

A | B | C | D | E-F | G-H-I | J-K-L | M | N-O | P | Q-R | S | T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

  • Abuse: Harm inflicted on a person through physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual means; may cause victim to develop emotional or behavioral problems, some of which may not appear until later in life. Help from an experienced counselor or therapists may be needed to work through abuse issues.
  • Adjustment: is learning to live together successfully as a family. Adjustment can take a long time and be difficult.
  • Adopt: is to legally join one or more parents and a child not born to them into a family.
  • Adoption: Is the choice that adults make when birth parents cannot be nurturing parents for their children. This is when adoptive parents become the nurturing parents.
  • Adoption assistance or Subsidy: Monthly or one-time subsidy payments designed to help offset the short and long term costs associated with adopting children who need special services. Before adopting a child with special needs, ask your worker about the availability of federal and state subsidies. In some states medical insurance or Medicaid is part of the Adoption assistance services.
  • Adoption disruption: The interruption of an adoption prior to finalization. Also called a “failed adoption” or a “failed placement”.
  • Adoption dissolution: The interruption or “failure” of an adoption after finalization and requires court action.
  • Adoption exchange: A state, regional, or national organization with information about children waiting for adoptive families. Recruits adoptive families for children with special needs using print, radio, television and the Internet.
  • Adoption placement: The point child moves in with prospective adoptive parents and the period before the adoption is finalized.
  • Adoption tax credits: Non-refundable credit which reduces taxes owed by adoptive parents who claim adoption expense reimbursement. The Tax credit may be claimed on Federal taxes, and in some States with similar legislation, on State taxes.
  • Adoptive Parents: Are mothers and fathers who choose to nurture a child they didn’t give birth to and make the legal steps to forever join together as a family.
  • Alcohol-related birth defects: Physical or cognitive deficits in a child which result from prenatal alcohol consumption. Includes, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), and/or Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND) and/or Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAE).
  • Anti-social behavior: Actions deviating sharply from the social norm. Children with such behaviors commonly skip school, get into fights, run away from home, persistently lie, use drugs or alcohol, steal, vandalize property, and violate school and home rules.
  • Asperger’s Disorder: A Pervasive Developmental Disorders and shares much in common with autism. The principal difference is that, unlike many sufferers of autism, there is no intellectual impairment
  • Attachment The ability of a child to form significant and stable emotional connections with other people, beginning in early infancy with one or more primary caregivers.
  • Attachment Disorder: Failure to establish secure attachment with one or more primary caregivers before the age of five. Attachment disorders may result in difficulties with social relationships and disorders as severe as reactive attachment disorder (RAD).
    Point Learn about some of the side effects children with attachment disorders may have in:Side Effects of Attachment Disorders.
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD): A developmental disability that affects a child’s ability to concentrate and control impulses. A child who has ADD may not be hyperactive, but may have problems maintaining attention in task or play activities, and difficulty sticking with tasks to completion.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A developmental disability which involves problems with attention span, impulse control, and activity level at home, at school or at work. Behaviors include: fidgeting with hands or squirming in seat; difficulty remaining seated when required; distractibility; difficulty waiting for turns in groups; difficulty staying on task with chores or play activities; difficulty playing quietly; excessive talking; inattention; restlessness; and engaging in physically dangerous activities without considering consequences.
  • Autistic disorder: A pervasive developmental disturbance with onset before age three, characterized by markedly abnormal or impaired development in social interaction and communication and a markedly restricted array of activity and interests. Manifestations of the disorder vary greatly depending on the developmental level and age of a child. Autistic children can be withdrawn and show little interest in others or in typical childhood activities and instead exhibit repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities.

For more information about parenting special needs children you might want to visit the Special Needs Blog and the Mental Health Blog. Or visit my personal website.

Photo credit for this blog entry: sxc (no use restrictions for this photo)