Special needs

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Journey to recovery

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

This powerful story was the keynote speech at Growing Together: a retreat for parents of persons with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in January 2010.

Hi, my name is Nicolas. First of all, I’d like to thank the organizers of this retreat for asking me here to share with you. I’d also like to thank and welcome all the parents and families for being here today.

Understanding the impacts of your child's early experiences on learning

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

The degree of stress your child experienced prior to adoption may significantly impact how his or her brain develops.

As an adoptive parent and a therapist, I am keenly interested in how my child’s early experiences impact her classroom performance and ability to learn. A recent experience at my daughter’s school reinforced how critical it is for teachers and parents to have information that will help educate them in a practical way to respond to children who have had significant early stress or trauma and are struggling to adapt to the school environment.

Give your child school intelligence

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Dr Richard Lavoie, renowned expert on learning disabilities, recalls numerous occasions when parents have cried in despair in his office. These are not tears about their child’s school work—they are about how he or she is managing with the social side of school.

Lavoie gives two examples of social skills that most of us take for granted but that many learning disabled children find difficult.

Treating PTSD

Source: 
Special Needs Database

Although some children show a natural remission in PTSD symptoms over a period of a few months, a significant number of children continue to exhibit symptoms for years if untreated. Few treatment studies have examined which treatments are most effective for children and adolescents. A review of the adult treatment studies of PTSD shows that Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective approach.

Parenting special needs kids

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Most parents shy away from adopting children with special needs. Here we meet parents who actually want to.

When I interviewed Carrie Hohnstein, mom of 11 children, I probed for quotes that might offer hints of the constant drama and stress that I assumed was an inevitable feature of her life.

There were slim pickings. Carrie just isn’t a dramatic person. She’s calm, thoughtful, and unflappable—qualities which are probably central to her success as a parent in a large family.

Finally on the way to forever

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Maya and John Benson adopted a sibling group almost three years ago. Despite careful preparation, and being experienced foster parents, the couple were soon devastated by the behaviours of their traumatized children—especially their oldest son. Being a forever family quickly seemed an impossible fantasy.

Some parents who have adopted older kids or sibling groups will understand what I'm going to say next; others will think I'm an awful parent.

Solutions in strengths

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Taking a child's strengths as the starting point to solving their problems, and involving family and community, can work wonders.

Chris Mundy sees his job as a combination of detective and anthropologist. After our interview, it’s easy to see why.

Diary of an Adoptive Mom #27

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

In the 27th of our series, our mom of three kids, Emily, Grant and Lynn, feels isolated and different from the other moms waiting in the schoolyard for their kids. Then she spots her youngest daughter, Lynn, who has been standing completely still, all alone in the busy playground.

I just don’t fit in with any of the mom groups that surround the playground after school. I really have nothing to contribute to their labour pain and episiotomy stories.

Clever communication with kids

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Children, especially those who are under stress or who have a learning disability, can easily feel overwhelmed by the amount of language being thrown in their direction, or by their inability to process what is being said. Here are some tips on how to reduce your child’s frustration, and increase your success.

Don’t Talk Too Much!

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