Dear Director: Mental Health & The Adopted Child
We learned in our foster care training that kids who experienced early trauma may develop mental health issues later on in life. And sure enough it is happening to our 12-year-old adopted son, who is struggling at home and school with tantrums and nightmares. We just received the results from his Psychological Evaluation, and he has been labeled with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. We are shocked, and really don’t know how to understand these labels. We are also afraid they will follow him as he goes through adolescence and may change how other people see him. We love our son and fear for his future with these mental health disorders, help us understand.
Sincerely, Worried Sick
Is This Adoption Trauma or My Teen Just Being a Teen?
The teen years are always tricky; often fraught with push and pulls between parents and child as natural separation occurs. Gain insight from JFS’ Teen Whisperer on how to help your adopted teen. Learn how to navigate normal teen angst versus more consequential trauma related behaviors. If professional mental health support is needed, find out specifically what to look for in choosing the right practitioner for your teen.
Trauma Responses Contribute to Mental Health Issues
Children who come from hard places riddled with trauma are so easily misunderstood. Explore what is behind your adopted child’s tough behaviors. Buy into the concept that these are just leftover adaptive responses from before they came to you. True, our kids will get labeled with some form of mental health diagnoses or another. Trauma creates real changes in the brain which creates real symptoms. It remains our job to stand by our children through their struggles, teach and model healthier coping strategies, help them accept their mental health struggles, and learn to be proud of all their healing.
Labels: Shame, and Fear: Destigmatizing the Stigma in Mental Illness
What comes to mind when you think of these three words: LABELING, SHAMING, AND FEAR? I would wager that we all know someone who suffers from mental illness, if not ourselves. Overcoming the stigma that society has placed on mental illness is an uphill battle. Continue reading to learn ways you can help your child if they are struggling with their mental health. After all, breaking down the stigma means accepting that mental health challenges are real and then working as a team to gather support for your struggling child.
An Unexpected Journey: The Story of Afghan Refugee, Hadiya
My name is Hadiya Amini, and I was raised in a large family that included my grandmother, my uncle’s family, my father, my mother, and my older sister in Wardak, Afghanistan. We moved to Kabul because there was no girls school in Wardak, and my father and uncle decided that we should be educated. After
Dear Director: The 10-Second Child in the 1-Second World Edition
My 7-year-old adopted daughter and I fight every time it is time to go anywhere. She takes so long to get and be ready to go that it feels like she is stalling on purpose. My Post Perm worker told me she is a 10-second child in a 1-second world and needs more time to process information. I’m having trouble buying into this idea. After all, my daughter is 7 and very smart and capable. Please share your wisdom.
A New Perspective
What a gift it is to figure out that all your child needs is more time. More time to think, to listen, to process, to answer, to respond. Tension at home and problems at school can dramatically decrease with this simple adaptation. It is you; the parent, the teacher, the adult who needs to change. Adapt a new paradigm. Change how you understand your child.. Change your expectations. Change how you communicate. Change your total perspective. If your child is that 10-second child in this 1-second world, your entire lens must shift! Now keep reading for specific adaptations that match this new perspective.
Easily Misunderstood: Easily Labeled
“If understood word being you that you angry to that understand up just down you a even don’t
parents frustrated not directions answering your give grades what going.”
This is what a person with a slower processing speed may hear when you talk to them: EVERY 3rd word.
Now read that again without the missing words:
“If you only understood every 3rd word that was being spoken to you, what would that look like?
You may seem angry and defiant to cover up that you cannot understand and keep up. Perhaps you
just plain shut down? Or maybe you say “yes” a lot or even better, “I don’t know.” Your parents
would be frustrated with you for not following their directions or properly answering your
questions. Your teachers would give you poor grades and question what is actually going on.”
10-Second Child in a 1-Second World
Being a **10-second child in a 1-second world simply means that the child has a slower processing speed. The concept implies an expectations mismatch between the adult speaker and the child. Our cultural assumption is that children are supposed to “process” information immediately and respond accordingly. But the 10 second child needs way more time! This idea can be applied to all differently-wired brains. If you’ve read the other Post Perm Newsletters, you are well aware that your adopted child most likely experienced trauma that changed their brain. These changes include processing speed. Keep reading to learn how your child may actually be one of those 10-second children in a 1-second world.