Does your Adopted Child have a Developmental Delay?

Where is the instruction manual?

First thoughts when you start to see an atypical behavior in your adopted child – AHHHHHH.

Please for your own sake, take a deep breath. You don’t know if you child is suffering from the baggage that she had to bring with her along the way or if she is actually suffering from a developmental delay.

As long as your child isn’t harming himself or anyone in the family you can somewhat relax. I know that is difficult because this is now your child and you need to figure out how to help him.

Developmental Pediatrician:

  1. Talk to your pediatrician about your concerns. If your child is jumping down a flight of stairs continuously or if they are swinging off of the  chandeliers, I would even set up an appointment with a developmental pediatrician.
  2. Developmental pediatricians have the ability over several months with meeting with your child to determine if this is something  developmental or just a few things that need to be worked out at home.
  3. If your child is having difficulty keeping up with their milestones there are a few directions you can take depending on his age.

Early Intervention:

  1. If your little boy or girl cannot complete an age appropriate puzzle in the 0-3 range – first make sure they have seen a puzzle before (that was my mistake). If they have worked on the puzzle and cannot place the pieces appropriately or they are not crawling, talking, or walking on time, early intervention is your best option.
  2. Early Intervention will provide a free developmental assessment of your child, which may include a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist and/or a social worker. The tests they conduct will allow you to know if your child is on the right path or needs a little more help in a certain area.

School Age Intervention:

  1. If your child is school age, contact the school district, the school principal and the school psychologist in writing and ask for a developmental evaluation. At the school, your  child will be evaluated by the same types of professionals that assess children in Early Intervention. You are also able to do this privately but this will cost you. 
  2. Once the school tests your child they will be able to tell you if your child needs a  504 plan, an I.E.P. or is functioning at grade level. I will go into what a 504 plan and an I.E.P. are at a different time; however, if your child needs some extra help – fight for the I.E.P.. 

Behavioral Therapy:

  1. Another idea that many adoption specialists recommend is working with a social worker, psychologist and/or a psychiatrist. These professionals can help with working on a plan, which will make the family more cohesive.  If the child needs medication or simply behavioral therapy these are the professionals you want to work with.


If your child is suffering in some way, a solution to the issue is not overnight. Their life is not a race but a marathon to growth, happiness and success. 

Along with the worries, don’t forget to have fun along the way. Sometimes when you have many therapists coming and going you forget your child needs some down time and fun with you!

I would like to hear your stories on any types of intervention your child needed along the way. 




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