The July issue of Augusta Family provides important information on special needs adoptions. If you are thinking of adopting, I encourage you to read the magazine feature in the Smart Mom’s Guide on “Adopting a Special Needs Child” (located on pages 18-19 of the print/digital issue). Author Cammie Jones shares seven key components of understanding the process of a special needs adoption. Also, she lists some bonus research for our newsletter subscribers below.

When adopting a child with special needs, there are often specific special needs that he or she will have. According to, here are some of the most common syndromes:

Abuse and neglect – this can lead to behavioral or attachment disorders and require medication and therapy, depending on the level.

ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder)- ADHD is a neurological disorder causing focus issues and a lack of impulse control. Treatments include medication and behavioral therapy.

Autism – this is a spectrum of developmental disorders and commonly includes the inability to communicate or socially interact although there are degrees of this disorder, so treatments vary.

Bipolar Disorder – causes drastic mood swings which can lead to depression or great joy. It is caused by genetics or can be tied to the environment. Treatments include medication and therapy.

Cerebral Palsy – CP describes a lack of motor skill and balance because of brain damage or undeveloped parts of the brain. The severity of symptoms varies as so do treatment plans.

Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate – caused by the lip not properly developing during pregnancy resulting in a gap in the lip. Cleft Palate is where the skin on the palate (mouth’s roof) doesn’t form properly and leaves a gap. Both cause eating and speaking issues as well as an increase in ear infections. Corrective surgery and therapy are the best treatment plans.

Down Syndrome – caused by an extra “x” chromosome, the brain doesn’t develop as a typical fetus would which causes mental limitations. Babies can also have heart problems when born.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders – this is a birth defect that is caused by the mother’s heavy alcohol consumption during pregnancy. This can result in behavioral, mental and/or emotional issues. Early treatment is key, but there is not a cure.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) a condition caused by neglect, abuse or abandonment resulting in a child unable to create a healthy and loving attachment to caregivers. Treatment options include counseling and therapy to improve behavior.

Spina Bifida (SB) this is where the spine does not form completely during pregnancy, which leads to severe nerve damage. Causes could be genetic and/or environmental. SB causes impaired mobility, lower limb paralysis and mental disabilities. Corrective surgery and therapy help, but there is not a cure.

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