Monday, September 23, 2013

Diagnostic pushback

I’m starting to think SuperD has what is now being called Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED), formerly Reactive Attachment Disorder, Disinhibited type. I briefly brought it up with his therapist today, just mentioning that I think he meets the criteria. She immediately pushed back and told me that that diagnosis applies to the kind of kids who would just go off with a strange family at a mall without looking back and that she really doesn't think SuperD meets the criteria. While she was explaining this to me, SuperD had wandered across the waiting room and was asking a stranger to read a book to him…

I’m thinking we’ll need to find a new therapist post-adoption, much as I like this one. She’s just not getting it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


There’s been a lot of talk lately about “re-homing” adopted children thanks to a series of Reuters articles. I’m not going to comment on them, except to say that I firmly believe a lack of resources plays a huge role in the struggles of both adoptive and typical families dealing with mentally ill children. In our area, for instance, it is so difficult to find a bed for a mentally ill child in a residential facility that they might sit in a hospital emergency department for 3 days before something opens up. That may not sound like a huge amount of time, but that’s 3 days a parent is away from work, from their other children, trying to occupy or keeping sedated an angry, struggling child in a small space with no therapeutic intervention. It’s a lot.

I’ve been investigating local resources for my own struggling kid recently. Our area actually does okay in the resource department if we’re not talking about severe mental illness. I have at my disposal an excellent children’s hospital with a developmental pediatrician and a psychiatrist. We are already part of a good therapy group with its own psychologist. I’ve just been told (I’ve been putting this off for a long time) that I have to have SuperD evaluated as a therapeutic placement, which will lead to an enhanced monthly stipend, which will provide us with more funds for services for him. I’m looking into some groundbreaking, non-diagnostic intervention that may actually take us out of state for assessment and treatment planning.

I can do these things because I live somewhere with resources. Because I work with an agency that provides full disclosure about a child’s previous issues and full support to get the help we needs. Because hubby and I have flexible jobs that allow us the time we need to take care of our kid. And because I only have SuperD and Monkey, the world’s easiest baby, to worry about. I am fortunate and SuperD is fortunate to have these resources at our disposal. With all the talking and judging of adoptive homes that I’ve seen in the last few weeks, I’m feeling particularly blessed that we will have access to the help we need to ensure SuperD gets the treatment he needs to heal and thrive.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Behavior management

We’re doing some serious behavior training up in here this weekend. SuperD has continued to lose his mind at school. His poor teacher sent a note home on Friday basically pleading for help, saying she’d tried everything she could think of to control him. Now, I do think there could be better classroom management in place, but my heart goes out to her. It often takes both hubby and I to manage SuperD at home, so trying to corral him in a classroom full of 4 year olds can’t be an easy feat.

On top of that, Monkey has decided she is not a fan of sleeping any longer. She let us know this between 12-4 am last night (this morning?) by howling and throwing decidedly toddler-like tantrums every time she was put in her crib. This weekend is all about reintroducing the 1-year-old to sleep and teaching the 4-year-old some self-control. We’re literally taking it in 15 minute increments and setting a timer, which is making today go by painfully slowly and yet all too quickly, as we’re also trying to complete some house projects.

I hope your weekend is more fun than ours!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First day = FAIL

Today was SuperD’s first day of Pre-K. Since he’s almost 5, he’s older than most of the other kids. We opted to pay for private preschool at the same place he was in “summer school” (daycare), and he was able to keep the same teacher. I really had hoped that not transitioning him to a new school with a new teacher would help him this year. However, his anxiety got the best of him today. The report upon pickup at the end of the day was that he was out of control, refusing to listen, climbing furniture, JUMPING ON OTHER KIDS’ BACKS, and had to be isolated at his own table for most of the day.

His little face was so sad after school. My heart just broke for him. I could see that he was disregulated this morning, and I deeply regret not spending 5 minutes rocking him and reading to him, or engaging in some kind of calming activity before taking him to school. Hubby and I talked and identified two things that we think set him off.

1. Even though he had the same teacher, he was the only kid who returned to the class. So he was surrounded by all new students.
2. He was SO excited about his new school supplies, and he thought he’d be using them. Apparently they didn’t use their pencil boxes and all their new goodies today.

We think he went to school with certain expectations and the day just didn’t go how he expected. We talked when he came home and he tried to tell me he didn’t use his calm brain because he “missed me.” That’s a trick that used to work with his bio-mom. If he said he missed her, he got a pass on any and all behavior. I acknowledged his feelings and we went over our strategies for coping with missing people and also how to find the calm brain when mommy and daddy aren’t around. Then we had him practice finding his calm brain by sitting quietly and reading for a while.

I know 4 yo boys act crazy. And traumatized kids act crazy. But I am starting to get a little freaked at the long-term commitment of parenting a traumatized kiddo. I can maintain some control of a 4 yo. But a 10 yo? A 14 yo? I have no idea. I guess we’ll just learn as we go.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Highly sensitive

I posted on a foster parenting board about SuperD’s total preoccupation with any cut, bump, bruise, etc. The tiniest scratch is a HUGE deal to him. I was wondering if it was age-appropriate behavior or trauma related, and I got some really good responses that led me to believe it’s both. A couple of people brought up the possibility of sensory processing issues. While I don’t believe SuperD has Sensory Processing Disorder, I do believe he has enough traits to categorize him as a highly sensitive child.

I stumbled across this link: I checked 12 of them that apply to my little guy. When we go to do his pre-adoptive psychological eval next month, I’m going to make sure to mention this to the doctor, as well as to his therapist. This doesn’t change anything about how we parent, really, but there may be things we can do differently or adjustments we can make at home to better help SuperD navigate the world. I’m also going to read the book The Highly Sensitive Child.

I vividly remember having tactile sensory issues as a kid. I had to go to occupational therapy for it because  I couldn’t have my hair brushed, wear socks right side in, have tags left on my clothes, etc. Thankfully, SuperD doesn’t have tactile issues. But he is a very sensitive and intuitive child, and I feel that hubby and I should alter some of our expectations to honor SuperD’s differences.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Love note

Monkey is at hubby’s favorite age. She’ll be one in a few days. She tries to mimic words, She talks all. the.time. She mimics actions, too. If I point at her, she puts her finger out and touches mine. If I put my hands on my head, she does too and then laughs and laughs. Seeing her smiling face is my absolute favorite part about waking up every day. This morning she’d taken her pants off! She’s always standing in the corner of her crib, chewing on the side rail (covered in a rubber teething protector).

Monkey has made huge strides in the eating department. We’ve learned that this baby LOVES chicken, applesauce, beans and black olives. She will take a whole handful of olives and cram them into her mouth. When she’s done eating, though, she lets us know by deliberately looking at us, picking up her food and delicately dropping it on the floor. She’s not taking a sippy cup, but I admit I’ve been slow to introduce it. She’s likely the last foster care placement we’ll take (unless we get a miracle call for an adoptable baby who needs a home in the next six month) and I’m savoring the sweet moments of feeding her. It’s time, though, and I’m going to be more deliberate about giving it to her every day. She'll figure it out in her own time.

I know this post is kind of disorganized and there is no real point. It’s just a love note for my sweet girl.