Thursday, July 30, 2009

Neurological Reorganization & Newly Adopted

The title alone is enough to make some of you start snoozin'. But if you have interest in human development--especially as it relates to adoption--keep reading! :)

As you may or may not know, one of my children spent 2.5 years doing a program of neuro reorg. Why? Quick summary... Neuro reorg is designed to wire parts of the brain that didn't get enough attention during normal neurodevelopment. In adoption this can be due to moves, transitions, etc... All stuff that puts immense stress on the developing brain. Actual "symptoms" vary immensely from child to child. You can actually see brain "issues" by looking at a child's movements--things as simple as creeping/crawling can give you incredible insights.

All that to say...

When GG came home, I was eager to observe his creeping/crawling abilities. After we were home several weeks, he tummy crawled down the hallway. It looked pretty good. I thought we were home free. But several weeks later I looked again, this time at both his tummy creeping and hands/knees crawling. What I saw deeply concerned me; both were very unorganized. I mentally prepared myself for years of neuro work with him.

Fast forward to today, now home two months. Everything looks MUCH better. Nice crosspattern. Fairly even. One foot comes up off the floor during creeping, but other than that, things look really pretty good.

Which leads me to contemplate why. (If you're still reading, you must be a neuro nut like me!) Some fellow adoptive/neuro moms helped me brainstorm...

1. One mom said, "I've been wondering how big a role a child's "point on the continuum of trauma" plays in how they look neurologically. What I mean is, if you had video of GG crawling and creeping months before the adoption, would he have looked fine? And then immediately after the adoption, would he have looked really impaired? I know with my dd that the trauma of the adoption experience was enough to make her regress severely in several physical areas, so I'm guessing if we'd had her evaluated after we'd only been home a month, she probably would have looked a mess, whereas 4 years later her issues looked mild-moderate. As GG is processing what has happened to his world, as the trauma is less fresh and raw, I would think that he would look more neurologically integrated and typical. But that's just my layman's musings."

I, too, wonder about the "trauma factor." GG's world turned upside down. (Literally, if you consider he's now on the other side of the world!) What affect could that have on his current neurological appearance?

2. Another mom asked if he's been on the floor a lot since he's been home. The answer is yes. He often plays on the floor. But he also runs outside a ton. In China we noticed that his balance was off. When we got home, he fell quite a bit (and has the banged up limbs to prove it!) I held by breath whenever he ran on our asphalt driveway because he was always on the verge of tripping flat. In the last couple weeks, this seems to have improved.

I wonder a few things... How much was he able to move about in China? Did he run freely? He lived in a crowded city. Did he simply need some time to get used to what it means to run in big, open spaces? Can balance/running ability really change that fast if given a different environment?

I'm curious to know how much the average Chinese family puts their children on the floor? Do kids have "floortime?" Do they run much?

I don't know if his current neurological presentation is going to stick. But it's changed so dramatically in the past two months--from good to bad to quite good--that I'm hesitant to make any surefire predictions.

But it sure would be cool to not have to do neuro again. It's fantastic cause it WORKS. But it's no picnic to do.

If you're still reading, I'd love to know what you think about all this... ;)


AmyP said...

This makes me remember that when C was younger, on his emotionally strong days he was right-handed. But on days where he was "off" and fragile, he favored his right hand. I'm not sure it's related to what you are seeing, but it could be. I do think that sometimes things can be just that fluid.

sahm98 said...

Your blog is so awesome! Though we have not yet adopted (we are just starting our home study for China SN), is there any relation or comparison here to kids with sensory integration issues? It sounds very familiar to some research I did a few years ago regarding one of my children who traditional schools would have said was ADHD. We homeschool. He is not ADHD - just extremely bright with some conquerable learning issues. Have you ever read The Out of Sync Child?

richmomma said...


Many, many internationally adopted children have SI issues. (Esp. if they are PI--post institutionalized.) As far as we've been able to determine, our sons do not. (But, yes, I've read the Out of SC! ;)

But, yes, there is a relationship. The SI issues are due to "wiring issues" in the same parts of the brain that I'm talking about. A lot of kids with SI issues have them disappear (or at least greatly diminish) with neuro reorg work.

As I understand it, Jean Ayers (SI Momma) studied under Florence Scott who helped to develop neuro reorg. Jean focused on one piece and developed SI/OT stuff while neuro reorg went largely unpublished. Some folks are currently working very hard to try to make neuro reorg more well-known & accepted, but as I'm sure you know (from your own experience), it's hard to get funding/studies where drugs aren't involved.

ADHD/learning issues are often addressed through neuro reorg. You can learn more from the links at A4everFamily or by joining the Yahoo group NEUROnetwork.

Thanks for visiting! I love comments. ;) I'm off to see if I can find your blog. ;)

And a big congratulation for homeschooling and helping your child get his needs met. Good for you!

P.S. to AmyP--I think you're right! And what an interesting observation!

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