Supplemental Therapies For Adoptive Families
Well-read and well-informed adoptive parents generally realize that their family may need a post adoption therapist. Families that adopt often undergo family therapy and/or individual therapy to discuss adjustment, parenting, grief, and change, as everyone shifts into the new family dynamics. Depending on the background that the adopted child comes from, he or she might also need additional interpersonal psychotherapy to work through issues of abandonment, creating new attachments, and peer relations.
For some families, however, standard therapy may not be enough. Additional issues in need of treatment might include auditory processing difficulties, speech complications, attachment and bonding challenges, trauma related issues, and more.
But what kinds of supplemental therapies are available and what issues do they address?
Sensory integration is an inability to fully regulate all of one's senses and is a result of deprivation during a child's early years, but other causes may include a shaken baby, and more. Kids with sensory integration disorder may be very sensitive to textures and smells. Or, they might be "crashers," continually bumping into things because they are unable to regulate themselves in relation to the objects around themselves. Occupational therapists are often the first line therapy to help a family who suspects that their child has sensory integration disorder.
Over the past few years, more and more has been learned about the connection between hearing and the mental processing of what is heard - auditory processing. Chronic ear infections, head trauma, lead poisoning, and other unknown factors cause auditory processing disorder (APD). Audiologists make assessments for APD and if identified, speech pathologists work to help mitigate the problem. Auditory processing disorder cannot usually be identified until ages eight or nine when the brain is developed enough to process larger amounts of input.
Attachment issues or reactive attachment disorder (RAD), the inability to form honest, trusting relationships, requires the services of an attachment therapist. These specialized therapists are trained to identify RAD and related issues, and to provide therapy and parenting tools to help parent and child develop appropriate, reciprocal relationships. RAD is caused by early trauma, inconsistent caregiving, poor parenting, and more. Because adopted kids usually come from a background of trauma and loss, they are (ripe) for attachment issues. With RAD treatment, the earlier the treatment begins the better, with some kids identified as RAD by ages two or three.
Neurofeedback is a supplemental therapy that teaches children and adults to change their brain waves. Some people think of it as training and exercise for the brain. Neurofeedback is sometimes found to be helpful for ADHD, bipolar, chronic pain, seizures, depression, and more. Sensors are placed on the scalp, and through a series of sounds and visuals, individuals learn to change their brain wave patterns to correspond more closely to those of individuals without these emotional and behavioral challenged.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a supplemental therapy used to treat victims of trauma or other emotionally unsettling events. Since many adopted kids have experienced difficult situations, EMDR may help. EMDR utilizes motion of the eyes along with therapeutic guidance to bring healing. Sometimes, counselors and therapists have been trained in EMDR and can undertake this approach in conjunction with family or individual therapy. Otherwise, families need to find a therapist who specializes in EMDR.
Other therapeutic approaches include pharmacological, nutritional supplements, equine therapy, and more. There's no easy answer to helping kids and families in working through complex emotional, behavioral, or mental health issues. When parents are searching to help their child heal from the deficits and trauma of their early years, there are a variety of therapy approaches. Some might work for one child but not for another. Read, talk to others, ask for referrals, join support groups, and read some more. Parents need to educate themselves about potential issues, research possible resources, and maintain hope, commitment, and an open mind.
Family dynamics such as relationships with parents and siblings and separation anxiety >>
The classroom and relationships with peers and role models>>
Identity, Heritage and Belonging>>
International adoption and siblings with different adoptive backgrounds>>