International Adoption Info

Newsletter #139 for Internationally Adopting Parents
January 13, 2010
PAL Center Inc.

Happy New Year!

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FASD Project

At the BGCenter we are currently seeking professionals for a new project - creation of a flexible team of experts on FASD (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder) management - to work with school districts in different states.

FASD is less known in population at large, but it is widely spread among the internationally adopted children. It causes a lot of school-related difficulties in children, but is not yet accepted by the school system as a legitimate disability that should qualify the child for an appropriate classification and services. Thus the parents of the afflicted children have to fight individually for the recognition of this condition in their children and for obtaining an IEP and services.

With this project under way, the parents will be able to get support from a qualified team of experts. Such team will consist of a group of independent professionals from varies states specializing in and knowledgeable about this complex disorder and it would include representatives from the field of medicine, psychology, educational law, parents' advocacy and cognitive/behavioral therapy.

We already have a number of qualified professionals from New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rode Island who expressed interest in participation in this project. The goal is to identify and make specialized professional services available for FASD children in other states and make parents confident that they do have effective specialists to work with on their child's necessary and proper remediation.

We will have a new page with the links to professional services of the members of the teams for your preferences.

BGCenter Administration

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Internationally adopted children and food

Food related issues are very typical for children adopted from foreign orphanages. Sensory problems, unfamiliar and strange for the child tastes, smells and textures, cultural preferences, food battles as a means of obtaining control - all these problems take time, patience and understanding to resolve.
Below we publish several articles related to different aspects of the problem.

  • Tatyana Elleseff MA CCC-SLP
    How to improve the feeding abilities of young adopted picky eaters
    It is an unfortunate fact that so many parents of adopted children are too familiar with the problem of food selectivity. Food selectivity, better known as “picky eating” is common in many formerly institutionalized children. It often develops due to numerous physical and sensory constraints associated with institutionalization (e.g. an orphanage may feed their wards a highly limited diet lacking a variety of tastes and textures).

    It is important to make a clear distinction between children who are picky eaters due to serious impairment (e.g., autism, neurological disorders, swallowing difficulties, etc.) and children who were fed highly limited diets before their adoption took place.

  • Soothing and calming
    An abstract from
    Dr. P. Cogen online class PC1 - The first year home: what to expect and how to respond.

Once your child has learned how to identify her feelings and talk about them you will both discover that although some feelings can be "fixed", others cannot. For example, when Svetlana told Jane she was hungry and wanted a roll to eat, Jane could provide her daughter with immediate nurturing in the form of a roll. But the next day Svetlana demanded another roll, and there were no more rolls to be had in the house.

When babies cry, one of the first ways they are comforted is by sucking either at the breast or from a bottle. Sucking remains one of the most effective ways to soothe a child. If your child is still young, you can offer a bottle; if your child has been weaned, then a juice box with a straw, or a glass with a straw---anything that requires sucking, such as a Popsicle or lollypop---will be helpful to regulate your child's intense feelings.

Jane called my office desperate for help with Svetlana shrieking in the background. I asked Jane if she had a Popsicle on hand, and fortunately she did. Tell Svetlana that you will give her the Popsicle if she sits down on the couch, I suggested. I wanted Jane to help Svetlana move her body in accordance with Jane's direction to "earn" the Popsicle. This is a way to indicate that the parent is not rewarding the tantrum, but is rewarding the child for doing what the parent asks. A second Popsicle could be forthcoming, I said, if Svetlana would stop shrieking loudly (soft crying, which is the end of an episode, would be allowed).

Other techniques involve:

  • Changing the room lighting from bright to dim.
  • Changing the temperature from warm to cold, or cold to warm.
  • Warm with a blanket, or bath, or drink.

Other children may find eating something with an intense flavor can help shift their feelings. Fredrico liked to suck on limes; Svetlana found popsicles worked well, especially grape ones; and Petra who was ten discovered that the salty green olive helped him change his loud fury to a manageable level.

Overwhelming, unstoppable tantrums for children are similar to having a panic attack. The child often feels out of control, under the influence of an emotional storm that won't stop. A racing heart is one of the features of tantrums and panic attacks. Finding ways to slow a child's heart rate can be helpful. Methods for re-regulating heart rate include coughing hard five times, having a child put pressure on her belly---such as holding tight to a large ball or stuffed animal---and changing the body's temperature by having the child dip his face in ice water.

Internet Digest
  • by Laura
    Nutrition and the Internationally Adopted Child: Sensory and Food Issues
    Many children who are adopted internationally have sensory processing issues, which can affect their eating habits. The problem can arise from an overall lack of stimulation in the orphanage or it may be due specifically to what and how the child was fed.

  • ADVANCE Newsletter
    Erasing Traumatic Memories
    Researchers suspect removing a brain protein can permanently delete recollections of painful events.


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