Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

Shelly Lane


In the past 5 years, almost 100,000 children have been internationally adopted. Research suggests that many of these children have growth and developmental delays, but few large scale studies have been completed. In the current study data obtained from a restrospective chart review of 534 children followed in the International Adoption Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center between 1999 and 2007 was analyzed. Prevalence of developmental delays and sensory processing issues initially and after 6 months in country, the relationship of delays/issues with previously identified risk factors, and the frequency of recommendations for early intervention (EI) and therapy services were all examined. Results demonstrated the following: 1) Development: most children fell > 1SD below the mean in at least one developmental domain (Vineland Developmental Motor Scales) initially, however improvements in developmental scores were noted between initial and follow up visits. The number of children with a delay in at least one domain dropped from 58% (initial visit) to 44% (follow up). Developmental scores at six months had the strongest correlation with age at time of adoption; children adopted at older ages had lower scores at follow up. 2) Sensory processing: Infant/toddler sensory profile scores for children aged 1-3 were compared at initial and follow up visits. The percentage of children with atypical scores in at least one area of sensory processing decreased from 68% initially to 48% by follow up. Similarly, children > 3 years of age demonstrated improvements in sensory processing; at follow up, only 15% had an atypical total score on the short sensory profile compared to 42% initially. 3) Referral: Referral data was available for 61% of children; of these approximately half received a recommendation for additional services. Most referrals were for EI services (31%); 22% received a referral to speech therapy, and 12% received referrals to PT and OT. Consistent with other work, a significant number of internationally adopted children demonstrate delays in developmental skills and sensory processing abilities. Although improvements in these areas were generally noted, developmental delays and sensory processing issues remained for some children 6 months after adoption. Over half of the children received recommendations for additional services; this number increased for those with more significant delays.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2010