Developmental Delay and Behavior Challenges in an Internationally Adopted Child.

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DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000001235


Jay is a 6-year-old boy who was referred to a multidisciplinary developmental clinic for evaluation because of speech/language delays and challenging behaviors. He attends kindergarten with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) supporting developmental challenges with speech/language, motor, and academic skills.Jay was reportedly born full-term after an uneventful pregnancy and lived with his biological family for several months before transitioning to institutional care. Shortly before his first birthday, he transitioned to the first of 3 foster homes. It is suspected that Jay experienced malnourishment, neglect, lack of appropriate supervision, and inappropriate levels of responsibility (e.g., providing care to an infant when he was a toddler) as well as limited language input while in foster care. Ages at which he attained developmental milestones are unknown, but he has displayed delays across all developmental domains, including speech/language development in his primary language, which is not English.Jay's adoptive parents report that he is learning English vocabulary well but has been noted to have occasional word-finding difficulties and errors in verb conjugation, pronoun use, and syntax in English. Behavioral concerns include impulsivity, hyperactivity, and aggression exacerbated by new or loud environments and transitions. Socially, he seems to be typically engaged with peers but lacks understanding of personal space/boundaries. His adoptive parents have also noted that he is very sensitive to the emotions of others around him, more irritable in the morning, fascinated by "scary" things, and seems to fear abandonment. During the initial months in his adoptive home, he had frequent night awakenings, fear of the dark, and aggression at bedtime, but all these concerns have improved with time.Neuropsychological testing was completed as part of the multidisciplinary developmental evaluation, and Jay demonstrated low-average cognitive abilities, delayed preacademic skills in all language-based areas, and receptive and expressive language delays. He was socially engaged during the evaluation. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, combined presentation, and unspecified trauma/stress-related disorder.Given what is known about Jay's early history, what factors would you consider in addressing his parents' concerns regarding his speech/language development and behavior challenges?

Journal Title

Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP





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MeSH Keywords

Male; Humans; Child; Child, Adopted; Social Behavior; Aggression; Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity; Language Development Disorders


Adopted Child; Social Behavior; Aggression; Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity; Language Development Disorders

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