Saturday, May 31, 2014

Thank You

I appreciate the suggestions of a different approach by the commenters in my previous post. I've been studying my child closely since reading them, trying to see if this could be it, hoping it could be it, but, with all her other issues, I'm very sure this isn't the case.

She does speak English in statements well enough to be understood by anyone and she talks non-stop, morning until night, so she's a pro at conversation. Her questions are phrased more in keeping with Chinese grammar, but I recognize that and know it's normal. This is a child with a cognitive disability for sure. What I'm discovering is that her that her disability is more broad, affecting more areas, than I thought. We've started the testing and there's more to come, but it's glaringly apparent. What I do think, though, is that she might have been born perfectly healthy, or with what would have amounted to a tiny learning disorder that she could have worked through in a loving home with parental support, but that the institutional environment, neglect, poor nutrition, and abuse, made it far more serious as neuro pathways just didn't develop, and high stress cortisol levels caused the brain to physically form differently, all of which is well-documented in adoption literature.

There is so much about her that isn't appropriate to share on this blog. Astonishing things. It's all adding up.

There is good news, though. She has learned a lot since I've had her and she's continuing to learn. Progress is being made, however slowly. I think that with a greater, more specific understanding of her current level of function and disabilities, and her learning style, I can better tailor her lessons and the way I interact with her to decrease frustration and increase the enjoyment of learning and add services that she may benefit from.

Like all parents, I want what is best for my daughter. Many parents can attest that it's like wading through a sea of desperation seeking answers, when we can't figure out what's going on with our children and their first 11.75 years is a mystery never to be unraveled. I still cannot find out exactly how many years of school my daughter has had, and at what level.

Please keep the positive suggestions and comments coming! I've learned so much from many of you in the online community. You are a valuable resource and an important part of my "village." I truly believe the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child.


Anonymous said...

I read another blog, and a couple of recent posts might be of interest to you, specifically the ones on May 28th and May 29th about teaching both sides of a child's brain to communicate with one another. Perhaps, if you haven't already, this might be an avenue worth exploring.

This is the blog:

goodiego said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing. Some of the things you have said remind me of my DD. She used to forget things she had mastered SO often.
I would be shocked since she was also so observant and remembered other things that weren't remarkable to me. One time she said to me: "I'm just a girl trying to learn how to be in a family, sometimes that takes up all the space in my brain." That gentle reminder gave me the permission to back off on some of the learning in school that was missing the mark. Working on the other stuff like giving her confidence, taking away her shame, lots and lots of consistency...all added up to not skipping a grade and being a successful 7th grade student today. Making new pathways for the day to day things and family things was how I looked at it. That was my mantra to myself when DD needed constant gentle guidance on simple tasks. Accepting that DD had a developmental trauma background, starting with neglect, lack of good nutrition (prenatal & for her first four years) and other medical issues helped give me the confidence to keep on making those pathways. I searched and read up on the trauma brain and found ways to help my DD. Consistency is key.

BTW It can take up to six years for a child to catch up to their peers in emotional & academic language.

Awesome blog link from Anonymous above!

K said...

This ordinary-time blog sounds just like our house and my kids. I've been doing so many of the same exact things described in this blog and that's why we've gotten as far as we have now.

Penny said...

K, this must be very hard and frightening. To give you a little encouragement, you might want to read Norman Doidge's book "The Brain the Changes Itself", about the huge advances in understanding - and using - brain plasticity in the last 10 years or so. You might also want to check out neurotherapies such as neurofeedback ("Symphony in the Brain" is a good in-depth look at that, if you'd like one, but there is plenty of info online too) or Integrated Listening (the latter I can tell you about if you email me - I am NOT selling it, but I did train in it, which was straightforward, to help my son).

Penny said...

Wanted to add that these kids of therapies actually help the brain to re-wire itself by building new, better, stronger connections between different brain areas, and they do it in a non-invasive do-no-harm way.