Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sensory Integration

Children with Sensory Integration may have under or over developed sensory systems.  Disruption of one or more of the senses prevents information from being smoothly and properly transmitted to and from the brain. They may have difficulties with:

  • Tactile – touch
  • Auditory - hearing
  • Oral - speech
  • Olfactory –smell
  • Visual – sight
  • Vestibular – sense of movement

Do any of these look familiar?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Helping your Child through Grief

    For adopted children, grief may come in waves; changing over time, in small and large doses. There is no one answer as each child, and the circumstances of his adoption are different. It is our job as parents to help our child thought the grieving process. Here are a few ideas: 

Healthy Activity- Dance, Sports, Hobbies, Youth Groups, Clubs, etc.

Lifebooks- Create a Lifebook for your child. Work on it together. Use it as a tool to tell his life story and open up the lines of communication

Put it on Paper- Encourage your child to use a journal to write down his thoughts, if she is too young, have her draw a picture.

Make a Memory Box- Keep treasures relating to adoption, birth family, culture, etc.

Start a New Family Tradition- use your child’s input; make it center around him.

Listen to your Child
When your child does talk about his birth family, it is important to answer questions honestly and gently, as is age appropriate. Empathize and validate his feelings. Don’t be judgmental or invalidate feelings. Don’t lay blame or take anything he has personally.

Be Supportive and Seek Help when Needed
Find a grief support group
Adoptive children group
Find a therapist with adoption experience 


Friday, March 20, 2015

Adoptive Parenting

     Adoptive Parenting is different than parenting birth children. Most people who have not adopted don’t recognize the differences.  Fundamental differences include a child’s chronological age, his developmental age and the age of the family (how long the family has been together) nature versus nurture, and expectations versus realities.  Parenting adopted children, especially those with special needs or previously undiagnosed needs can produce crisis levels of stress for families who have no support system.

Why adoptive parents aren't prepared

·         Prospective adoptive parents with limited experience are unable to comprehend the impact a child can have on a family.

·         Many adoptive parents are not prepared for their child’s needs.

·         Often adoptive parents cannot find help that they seek.

·         Medical professionals and therapists do not always understand the unique needs of adopted children.

·        New adoptive parents, especially first time parents, tend to over parent /try to rush changes. This may result in a child’s:  internalization of anger, resistance to attachment, or control issues.

·         They believe the mythology of adoption.

Successful adoptive families have boundaries that are open and permeable.  They often have a parenting philosophy that all children need care, love – a sense of personal altruism. Their approach to parenting is based on large amounts of guidance and nurturance rather than punishment.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Wee Bit of Blarney

"It all began December 31, 1999 In St. Petersburg, Russia. I was a baby that got left in a basket on the steps of an Orphanage."  

This was the opening line of an "autobiography" written by then, 10 year old Sean. When asked about his work of fiction. He replied 'isn't this what always happens? You know, just like in Meet the Robinson's". 

Huhh? A Disney Movie-really? But Sean, you know your adoption story. "Oh yeah" he said with a sheepish grin. I guess a movie about a boy named Lewis who is a brilliant inventor, travels in a time machine, meets the family that adopts him before it happens and saves the world in the process is bit more exciting than I was born in Russia and adopted when I was three. At least the remainder of the story that he wrote was fairly accurate.

But Meet the Robison's is so much more than a story about the spiky haired Lewis. Walt Disney, an adoptive parent, probably understood how a child feels about being placed on the stairs, his desire to know what his birthmother looked like and children who are not adopted. Each one of these issues as well as his motto of "keep moving forward" are central to the plot, yet subtle.

Movies and books like Meet the Robinson's can serve as tools too initiate conversations with children about adoption. Except in Sean's case, when a wee bit of the Blarney left this grandmothers '"Irish eyes a smiling."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Attachment: Seek Help as Needed

     Remember you are your child’s best advocate. No one knows your child like you do. If your child is struggling, academically, behaviorally, or socially, follow your instincts and seek help as needed. It may be necessary to seek out professionals who have some experience with adopted children.  

Resources may include:
  • Pediatrician
  • Developmental Pediatrician
  • University Adoption Clinic
  • Child Development Center
  • Psychologist 
  • Occupational or Physical Therapist
  • Social Worker
  • Adoption Agency
  • Parent Support Groups

Monday, March 9, 2015

Attachment: Post Adoption Blues

A number of parents feel a degree of post adoption blues and some will develop post-adoption depression (PAD). The symptoms are the same as those for most forms of depression. They may include fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, sadness, and a general sense of being overwhelmed. Finalizing an adoption is an emotional climax and the stress may be replaced by the new stress of caring for your child, sleep deprivation, and significant lifestyle changes.  These feelings are not uncommon and will pass. However, because PAD can negatively affect attachment and bonding, it may  be necessary to consult a physician or other professional. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Attachment: Be Predictable

     Be PredictableYour child needs to know that when he needs you, you’ll be there. Promptly respond to his cries, yells, or calls.  This is the fundamental basis of attachment.  

Create a Routine
Create rituals and routines. Routines are reassuring and help a child built increases confidence. Don’t rush to change feeding or nap times. Children who have an idea of what to expect, experience less stress. Create a bedtime ritual; massage baby, bath before bed; sing a certain song, or for older children read a book. You will create memories that will help create a stronger attachment.

Be emotionally available
Children are in-tune to their parent’s emotional state. They should see a range of expressions and emotions. It may be necessary for to talk with your child and explain how you are feeling. This will help them begin to understand and express their own emotions.

If a child is verbal and he has words to use to describe his feelings, then he is less likely to act out or internalize them. If your child is acting inappropriate, don't take their behavior personally. If your child is upset and rejects a parent, or refuses to cuddle, it is important to remember that your child's ability to express emotion is not yet fully developed.