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Fostering empathy through stories: A pilot program for special needs adoptive families


  • Faver, Catherine A.
  • Alanis, Erika


Special needs children with a history of maltreatment often have behavioral and emotional difficulties that pose challenges for adoptive parents. In response to the need for support services for adoptive parents and children, this project used stories to foster empathy and enhance communication in special needs adoptive families. Eight families, including fourteen parents and seventeen children, participated in the program. An evaluative survey indicated that the program prompted parent–child discussions, provided support to adoptive parents, and helped parents view the adoption experience from their children's perspective. The findings suggest that stories can be used to address the challenging emotional issues confronting adoptive families of special needs children.

Suggested Citation

  • Faver, Catherine A. & Alanis, Erika, 2012. "Fostering empathy through stories: A pilot program for special needs adoptive families," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 660-665.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:34:y:2012:i:4:p:660-665
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.12.012

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Goldman, Gerri DeLong & Ryan, Scott D., 2011. "Direct and modifying influences of selected risk factors on children's pre-adoption functioning and post-adoption adjustment," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 291-300, February.
    2. van den Dries, Linda & Juffer, Femmie & van IJzendoorn, Marinus H. & Bakermans-Kranenburg, Marian J., 2009. "Fostering security? A meta-analysis of attachment in adopted children," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 410-421, March.
    3. Faver, Catherine A., 2010. "School-based humane education as a strategy to prevent violence: Review and recommendations," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 365-370, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Montgomery, Paul & Maunders, Kathryn, 2015. "The effectiveness of creative bibliotherapy for internalizing, externalizing, and prosocial behaviors in children: A systematic review," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 37-47.


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