The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type

Starred Paper

Degree Name

Special Education: M.S.


Special Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Marc Markell

Second Advisor

Bradley Kaffar

Third Advisor

Jennifer Jay

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Post-institutionalized, adoption, special education, executive function, emotional, behavioral


As parents are unprepared for the challenges their post-institutionalized children bring into their families, schools are often unprepared when these challenges enter the classroom. Educators are often unaware of how adverse childhood experiences can lead to behaviors in the classroom. These children are often referred to special education for evaluation and found to meet criteria for a disability category. Special education teachers are providing services to more internationally adopted children. Given the increase in this population, educators must be thoughtful of the pre-adoptive history of the child and how it affects student performance and achievement. Literature review provides more information about the positive correlation between early childhood adversity and biological impacts on cortisol production. Studies in this paper support the association of international adoption and diminished executive function in children. Although adoption is a positive intervention improving social, physical, and cognitive functions of children, the executive function is diminished and remains diminished with no evidence of improvement for at least two to three years after adoption.



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