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International Adoption Info

Newsletter #164 for Internationally Adopting Parents
November 20, 2013
PAL Center Inc.

New Service at BGCenter

    Neurocognitive Assessment at BGCenter

    Neurocognitive testing is used to assess the patient's attention, memory, mental processing speed and other cognitive functions. By reviewing test results, professionals can more objectively assess cognitive problems and their possible causes: medical, neurological, psychological. Computerized neurocognitive testing is a relatively new procedure, so it would not be surprising that in the past your doctor has never asked your child to take a computerized neurocognitive test.

    The test will take about 25 minutes for children ages 8 to 12, for older children it may take up to 45 minutes. In most cases this is a part of Dr. Gindis' standard battery of tests.

    When your children take the test, they should be in their normal state: not sleep deprived, or overly stressed. The test is normally taken in one sitting, however, if needed, there will be breaks between sub-tests.

    Is it a "red flag" that your child was asked to take a neurocognitive test?
    No. Just as your psychologist measures your child's IQ and your teacher measures your child math skills, we measure your child's neurocognitive status. The evaluator may want your child to take the test to estimate and manage a clinical condition over time, to establish or rule out a diagnosis. Some physicians may request this test to assign or change medication.

    Is this an IQ test?
    No, this test is not an IQ test, but a measure of fundamental brain function.

    Neurocognitive testing is appropriate to use in a variety of medical conditions, such as:

    • Attention Deficit Disorders,
    • Anxiety and Depression,
    • Executive function (self-regulation) disorder
    • Medication Adjustment,
    • Suspected brain injuries
    • Other Conditions.

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Assessment & Remediation,
or a former student
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or a user of the International Adoption Articles Directory.



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Extra-Curriculum Activity for Adopted Child

It's essential for every child to excel in any activity that can showcase them to their peers as special and worthy of their friendship. It's especially important for international adoptees who may have difficulties with peer relationship due to the lack of language skills and ability to read social cues, not to mention expected developmental delays and different background. Thus it's a priority for parents to help their newly adopted kids find the kind of extra-curriculum activity that would be appropriate to their psychological and emotional status.

Today we publish a new article of our counselor Jeltje Simons on her own experience with finding the right activity for her adopted son and the ways she managed this activity to become a therapeutic experience for her child.

I want to give you 'the world' dear child, but unfortunately whatever I give you is lost, broken or thrown away after 4 hours, so my gift to you is not of a material nature but my time and patience so you can learn to appreciate beautiful music and play a musical instrument.

As an adoptive parent do you have difficulty finding a hobby or club that your child can participate in?

When my child came home, my first thought was that he needed to meet children and play with them, after all he had been full time in the company of children the first 6 years of his life. He was at home for 18 months before starting school (what was compulsory at that point - he was 7.5 years old), so I was looking at activities where he could play and be together with his peers. I tried several and here were the first experiences mixing with children in different activities.

I tried scouting with him, but this group was poorly supported and not very structured. After attending 6 times he was bullied, the other children did not want to stand next to him, give hands, etc., he was basically excluded. He was still going around with a big smile on his face but he also began asking why the children did not want to play with him. I had to withdraw him as the benefit of being with other children would not outweigh the problems, in fact I did not think this situation I had put him into was healthy for him.

Than we started judo, this was very structured and he did well; we did this for 8 months or so before he had to move on to an older group. The group he was in had children from 4 to 6 and was very gentle; he was 7 at the time but he was rough with the 4 year olds, running over and into them. He really needed to move to the group with older children. As he has a bleeding disorder this was not a straightforward decision, and after discussion with his doctor we decided that the risk for injury was too high in the older group aged 7-13.

We did some swimming lessons but they were not successful either as he had one mission, and that was hanging around the teacher's neck. His total focus on adults and interactions with them as his most important goal in life diverted him from learning a thing. While he was busy smiling at the teacher and pretending to be scared, the teacher responded by giving him loads of attention. Totally understandable behaviour if you think of how he had to fight for attention in the orphanage, but not handy when you need to learn new skills. The other children learned to swim with a floater, but not him. He did learn it later that year when I took him daily to the lake and let him swim every day 25 meters before allowing to play, but then there was nobody around to 'help him' (except myself).

My boy did not do well when it came to interactions with other children, he was really interested only in the adults. Gradually my thoughts changed from "he needs children to play and interact with" to "he needs me around to feel safe before he is able to interact with other children in a healthy way." The behaviours he displayed when interacting with other children might have served him in the orphanage; in real life children did not like to be bossed around, they did not understand his intentions and he often gave wrong nonverbal cues.

So there I was having a child with poor social skills, poor motor skills, poor working memory, and not being able to go anywhere alone, as his behaviours were not appropriate when dealing with unfamiliar adults or other children. Just dropping him off at the local ping pong club was and is not an option. He is too friendly, manipulates adults around him, creates chaos by telling tales and lying, and has a strongly developed feeling of entitlement. These are all very common behaviours for children who lived in orphanages, but they make finding an activity where the child can be successful without causing trouble tricky for parents.
More Articles by Jeltje Simons

Jeltje Simons
Preventing Tantrums
Tantrums are quite common in adopted children even long after they have passed the toddler years, and this behaviour can be tricky to deal with. The normal practice of sending the child to his/her bedroom will not work for most adopted children as they are likely to feel rejected and often they need close supervision, otherwise they will probably damage belongings or hurt themselves or others. Ignoring the child is often not the answer either, as his behaviour is likely to escalate in an attempt to gain the parent's attention: any attention - negative or positive - will do.


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