Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Therapy comes in all forms

Over the years, we have some what taken the non-traditional route when it comes to raising PI (post institutionalized) kids.  We don't try the diets, we don't do all the therapies, we don't have special routines, etc.  We went to a psychologist years ago w/ our first two.  Yes, she was great but still, we knew this wasn't really for us.  We knew our situation we had to work out for ourselves.  Especially, when you have children that can be manipulative and weave a triangulation web that the best experts can't figure out.  Anyone with a kid w/ RAD can probably understand that statement the best.  Things can be taken out of context.  Some of my RADishes (only have 2 of them!) play the "victim" quite well.  They are SO believable.  So much so, I started recording things years ago just in case.  For us, therapy just didn't seem like a good idea.

So, what did we do?  One, we've tried to let the kids take care of something alive.  Like a plant.  Simple.  Snake plants are fantastic b/c you really can't kill them even after months of neglect.  Trust me, we found one in the boys' room.  Anyhow, plants are easy yet show me if the kids know responsibility and to care for something.

Fish are another.  We always start out w/ betas.  Easy fish to take care of.  Once they master that, we let them get an aquarium, if they want it.  Some don't.  Let's just say the boys' record of getting an aquarium is zip.  Irina has her own aquarium, Yana doesn't want one, and the younger girls are getting their larger aquarium once the new room is done.  Trust me, they've reminded me of it everyday.  Found a very nice one on Craigslist for free so we're good.

Another "therapy" tool we use around here is the dogs.  Dogs seem to be great healers.  They will listen any time.  They won't talk back.  They're soft, etc.

Reni, working things out, just being with Kota.  Kota at that moment in time was comfort enough.  Her and I had a round so she needed some space and time to "zone" out.  She's gotten better at not stomping off, not mouthing back(still working on it), and not being as upset for so long.  Old habits are hard to break.  We'll get there slowly but surely.  You just have to teach them the right way to react and that takes time.   She no longer flinches at yelling but instead has found her voice.  That is both good and bad.  Great that she feels safe here.  Safe enough though that she thinks she can mouth off and say whatever she likes.  Of course at this age, it is NOT all PI stuff.  Some if this is normal preteen girl stuff.

Another form of therapy we have is the other kids.  Max took on the "Dr. Phil" role here.  Actually, it was really good for him to talk to Reni.  I was taken back by how much he knew and learned.  Really rather mature for his age.  Much insight.  He was trying to explain why Mom and dad do what we do.  He was talking about what would of happened to her if she stayed where she was.  Now that one surprised me.  Reni was listening to all Max had to say.  He was calm and in turn, she was calm.  None of the other kids were making fun of her.  All of them got quiet and just let Max talk it out.  Sometimes, not everything needs to come from mom and dad.  

I remember one time years ago when we were doing hold therapy on one of the kids.  I was holding one of them while we were sitting in the recliner.  Another one of the kids came up (you'd be shocked at which one!) and said "it's going to be okay XXX, she's not hurting you.  You just calm down and it is all okay.  You're not hurt and no one is hurting you."  I was stunned.  The kid knew.  Knew what was happening as they'd experienced the same thing.  I will reiterate this just so some people don't think we're doing this 'on our own.' Disclaimer:  We were trained by a licensed psychologist on how to do hold therapy.  We "tweaked" it a little to fit our kids' needs and don't do some parts that are controversial.  That's for another post.  But, what we do do works thus far for all the kids that have come home.  For new adoptive parents, when the kids are in a hold session, they become almost like a hurt animal.  Squirming to get away.  Away from touch.  They are screaming, flailing, etc.  Doesn't phase our kids any more as they've seen it w/ each child coming home and know it's temporary.  The hold session allows the child to kind of get all those emotions out that they can't verbally express.  For us, we are holding the child in a cradling position.  Think of rocking a baby.  One arm is over their legs. Otherwise, you will get kicked.  Other, around their arms.  They are not hurt, and you're not able to hurt them in this position.  It is loud.  For our kids, doesn't last too long.  A few minutes.  One time however, it lasted over 2 hours.  And you can't trade off.  Must be the person you first started with.  Or, should be.  We did not have to do this w/ our Bulgarian kids.  Though one came really close to needing this I do believe.  And for us, hold therapy didn't happen that often when first home.  I was skeptical at first but since we used it the first time, have used it ever since w/ the rest of the kids.  

So, as you can see, therapy can be in many forms.  That goes w/ OT and PT too.  We opted not to do that w/ Summer and just let her be a kid, follow her sibs and play soccer.  She was evaluated by Raleigh Neurology at a beginning 2yo level in all areas.  Said, PT, OT and speech was necessary.  Being that we have a speech therapist come to the home already, I waited a few months and then asked her opinion.  Summer does get speech but only once a week for 30 minutes.  No PT or OT.  Gross and fine motor skills are totally on target now.  Speech therapist is shocked at how well she can cut.  So, some times, you can find other ways to make therapy work.  It's not for everyone and I'm not downplaying what therapy can do.  Remember, we use speech therapy quite often in this home.  And, we've done PT and OT w/ some before.  However, I just don't think it should be a rush decision when all these kids first come home.  Give them time to adjust and show you what they can do.  A lot of the lagging behind is simply b/c they did not experience these things over there.  Everyday life provides a lot of those opportunities.  I hope all this babble made some sense. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your insight. It is always informative! I love reading your blog posts because I learn something all the time.