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Adopting a child with Disabilities

The Social worker will look into verious things in the home study to see if you understand adoption of a child with additional needs:


1         Experience

What is your understanding or/attitude towards disability?

Have you had the opportunity to explore the "social model of disability"?*

And to what extent will you be able/willing to incorporate this approach to disability in your care?

What direct or indirect experience of disability do you already have?

If you have no experience of disability, what is your motivation to care for a disabled child?



2         The child


How far can you see the child as well as the child's impairment? How is this understanding demonstrated?

How willing are you to accept the child as he/she is?

What is your expectation of the child's development? For example, a small developmental change may be a milestone for a child with a severe disability. How will you encourage a child towards achieving new skills?

What is your awareness of the importance of meeting the child's ethnic, cultural and religious identity needs regardless of the child's ability to understand?

Are you able and prepared to care for a child with a life threatening condition? And what is your understanding of, and capacity to deal with, the associated issues eg. uncertainty, acceptance, bereavement?

What are the potential areas of strength and difficulty you envisage for yourselves?



3         Adolescence, independence, skills development

What are your expectations of the young person's adolescent years? And how far do see the needs of a disabled young person as being any different from those of other young people in relation to puberty/adolescence?

Are you aware of the importance of opportunities for developing friendships, for acquiring independentliving skills, and ultimately for further education or training and moving from the family home? Are you able to foresee and make plans for the young person's future as an adult? And how will you help your disabled young person to gain adult status?

How will you assist your child's move towards independence as they get older?



4         Discrimination

How will you encourage the child to participate in a wide range of activities, for example, sport, clubs and holidayactivities?

Can you demonstrate positive attitudes towards disability? And how will you encourage the child/young person to develop self-esteem and self-respect? Disabled people often face discrimination. How will you deal with prejudice or rejection directed at your child/young person?

What will your reaction be to discrimination, bullying or teasing of your disabled child? What steps will you take to help your child cope and develop the social skills necessary to survive in the community?



5         Abuse

Are you aware that a disabled child may be at risk of sexual, physical or emotional abuse or neglect? How would you minimise this risk to protect your child?

How will your help your child to communicate any problems/difficulties?



6         Educational needs

Will you be willing to consider a child who would need to attend a special school or a child who would require special educational provision in mainstream school.

Will you need help in developing your understanding of the statementing/recording process?

How far do you understand the importance of being an advocate for the child within this process? and how will you meet any specific need? 



7         Practical considerations

What additional resources will you need to be able to take care of a disabled child eg ramps for access, lifting facilities, bathroom adaptations, transport?

Are you aware of what support is available ‑ educational/medical facilities, short‑term breaks, agency support, benefit advice?


Thanks to BAAF 2000



Form F1 PART 3                                                                                                 CONFIDENTIAL


Page 2



8         Disabled children

This section to be completed with the applicant(s) after full discussion of the issues.

Within the social model of disability the term "impairment" refers to the functional limitation caused by a physical, mental or

sensory condition: this model perceives people with impairments as "disabled" by society and the way society is organised to

exclude them. This exclusion causes disability, hence the additional use of the term "disabled children".

"Disabled children" is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of differing abilities.

For each of the following headings please state whether or not the applicant(s) would be confident in looking after a child.



a Eating

      Eg. child who dribbles, needs to be fed by a spoon or by tube, is on a special diet/has minor allergies/dietary restrictions.



b Mobility

Eg. child who is a slow walker, has difficulties with stairs/rough ground, is unable to sit/stand unaided. Makes uncontrolled

movements. Is a wheelchair user. Is reluctant to walk or has behavioural difficulties which impede mobility.



c Personal care

Child/young person who wears nappies/incontinence aids. Totally or partially incontinent of faeces/urine during the

day/night. Child/young person who needs assistance with toileting/bottom wiping/toilet training programme/ileostomy or

colostomy. Are the applicant(s) prepared to help a female child manage menstruation? How will the applicant(s) cope with a

child who smears/plays with faeces?



d Communication

Eg. unclear/no speech. Specific communication difficulty eg. dysphasia. Has other forms of communication such as sign

language/makaton/cued speech. Are the applicant(s) willing to follow the existing interventions eg. speech therapy,

physiotherapy etc?



e Sleep

Eg. child wakes occasionally/frequently. Wanders, restless, poor sleeper.



f Behaviour

Eg. Hyperactive/limited concentration/temper tantrums. Poor short‑term memory, running off. No road sense/no sense of

danger/self harming behaviour.



g Additional help needed with child's identity

       Eg. Self‑esteem, anxiety, depression.



h Deteriorating or life‑threatening condition

      Eg. Frequent hospital appointments.



j Specific impairment (some examples)Epilepsy ‑ controlled/occasional/frequent seizures, needing oral/anal medication. Cystic fibrosis ‑ frequent chest infections, postural drainage, digestive problems. Spina Bifida ‑ problems with a shunt, urinary tract infections, periodic surgery. Are the applicant(s) aware of the importance of medication and familiar with administering medication even if a child is reluctant to participate?*



k Sensory impairment

Eg. visual impairment/blind. Hearing impairment/deaf.




Post placement considerations

Are the applicant(s) willing to attend post‑approval courses to keep up-to-date with current practice?

What is the applicant(s)' understanding of the differing ways in which parents react to their child's impairment? How might this

impact on the applicant(s)' work with parents?


*Discussion with the agency medical adviser may be helpful on this point





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