Charlie is an 11-year-old boy who suffers from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which is associated with ADHD, learning disabilities and behavioral, emotional and social deficits. Charlie suffers from all of these disorders. The Alliance first became aware of Charlies’ special needs when we assisted his parents in finalizing the adoption of his twin brother, Jamal. During that process, we discovered that the family was unable to take on the emotional and financial responsibility of adopting Charlie, due to his severe and often disruptive behavioral issues. We learned that Charlie was attending a school that was not meeting his needs, and due to the school’s failure to provide Charlie with appropriate positive behavioral modification services, he often had outbursts at school.
The Alliance worked with Charlies’ school district to find a more appropriate non-public school, which placed special emphasis on positive behavioral management. Charlie is thriving in this new environment and the positive changes are evident in his academic growth and improved behavior at home. As a result of these changes, Charlies’ foster parents decided to adopt him. The Alliance completed Charlies’ adoption in an emotional ceremony where Charlie was beaming with pride. Charlies’ story shows how powerful the right school setting and services can be for a child in foster care.
Potential Indicators of Disability
What does a child with an education disability look like?
- Academic delays in reading, writing or math; poor grades; retention/being kept back a year
- Behavior problems at school including not following the rules or teacher directions, fighting, being disrespectful, being sent home from school early, being suspended
- Social Emotional problems including depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (note that youth sometimes self-medicate with drugs for these disorders)
- Inattention, disorganization, impulse control problems, ADHD
- Poor attendance: specifically for older youth, if they have had an undiagnosed learning disability for a long time, they may tune out and stop attending school
- Speech and language deficits
- Problems with handwriting
View the Eligibility Checklist for an in-depth explanation of disability eligibility.