Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

A B C D E F G H I K
Adoptive Placement

The point at which a child begins to live with prospective adoptive parents; the period before the adoption is finalized.

Agency Adoption

Adoptive placements made by licensed organizations that screen prospective adoptive parents and supervise the placement of children in adoptive homes until the adoption is finalized.

Alcohol-related Birth Defects

Physical or cognitive deficits in a child which result from maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy—included but is not limited to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and 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.

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 caretakers. Failure to establish such connections before the age of five may result in difficulties with social relationships as severe as reactive attachment disorder.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

A lifelong developmental disability (with onset in infancy, childhood or adolescence) that affects a child’s ability to concentrate and control impulses. A child who has ADD is not hyperactive, but often has problems sustaining attention in task or play activities, difficulty in persisting with tasks to completion, and concentrating for longer periods of time.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

A lifelong developmental disability (with onset in infancy, childhood or adolescence) that involves problems with attention span, impulse control, and activity level at home, at school or at work. Typical 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 disability 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 the individual. 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.

Bipolar Disorder

A category of mental illnesses in which mood and affect are disturbed—characterized by irregular cycles of mania and/or depression. During manic periods, the individual may be in a very elevated mood and exhibit symptoms of hyperactivity, wakefulness, and distractibility or irritability. In very severe episodes, psychotic symptoms may also be present. Individuals experiencing depressive periods can exhibit sustained symptoms of depressed mood, diminished pleasure or interest in most activities, fatigue, sleep disturbance (either insomnia or hypersomnia), weight loss or weight gain, and slowed thinking.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder

A condition in which an individual has difficulty comprehending and integrating information that is heard, although hearing is normal. Central auditory processing disorder occurs when the ear and the brain do not coordinate fully. The causes of this disorder are varied and can include head trauma, lead poisoning, possibly chronic ear infections and other unknown reasons. Because there are many different possibilities or even combinations of causes each child must be individually assessed.

 
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