Evaluating Special Needs to See Which One is a Good Fit

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The world of special needs adoptions can be confusing. Parents need to explore the different types of special needs to determine which conditions and issues they can handle and which needs are beyond their comfort level to parent. Our guest, Dr. Mary Staat, director of the International Adoption Center at Cincinnati’s Children’s Medical Center, will walk us through the treatment, prognosis, and long term impacts of the most common special needs. The specific special needs discussed in this show include: cleft lip/palate, the most common heart deformities in infants, limb differences, amniotic band syndrome, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, attachment issues, RAD,  imperforate anus, ambiguous genitals and albinism.

Highlights of the show (click to expand)
  • What are the most common special needs that adoption medicine specialist are seeing now?
  • What are the causes and treatments for cleft lip/palate?
  • Are cleft lips/palates often associated with other conditions or syndromes?
  • What is the prognosis for a child with cleft lip/palate?
  • Does it matter what age the cleft is repaired?
  • How soon after adoption should the cleft be repaired?
  • What are the different forms of heart problems that are usually referred for adoption? VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect), ASD (Atrial Septal Defect), PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosis), TOF (Tetralogy of Fallot)
  • How are heart conditions in infants treated and what is the prognosis for children born with these different heart conditions?
  • What is albinism and how does it affect the child other than in appearance?
  • What birth marks usually pose more significant problems other than in appearance?
  • Is it possible to get more medical information on a child with special needs that has been referred to your family for adoption?
  • What causes limb differences in infants?
  • What is meant by amniotic band syndrome and what defect does it cause.
  • Are there any limb discrepancies that can indicate much more significant problems for the child?
  • What is the long term prognosis for a child with Hepatitis B?
  • How contagious is Hepatitis B? Is the adoptive family at risk for transmission?
  • What are the health implications for Hepatitis B?
  • What are the biggest risk factor for a child to struggle with attachment?
  • What are the short and long term issues for an infant exposed to cocaine and/or heroin during pregnancy?
  • What is Anal Atresia / Imperforate Anus? How is treated and what is the prognosis for a child born with this condition?
  • What other conditions should parents look for if the child that has been referred to them for adoption has Anal Atresia or an Imperforate Anus?
  • What is Ambiguous Genitalia? How is Ambiguous Genitalia treated and what is the long term prognosis for a child born with this condition?
  • What is the long term prognosis for a child with HIV? What is the life expectance of a child with HIV that is being treated with medication?
  • What are the risks of transmission to family members from a child adopted with HIV or AIDS?

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Image credit: Trinity Care Foundation