View Full Version : first time post - special needs 5 year old

Marna IN
07-26-2011, 03:34 PM

i'm new to the message boards and have never posted before. not sure how well i will be with this, specially since i'm not so computer savy (that's my husband) but i will try my best.

we adopted a little one from China 3 1/2 years ago who was a little over 2 years old. she is now 5. we wanted a child from the special needs group and we felt called to adopt a child with cleft lip and palate. however, when we arrived in China we realized we had what we call "surprises". that's the short story... :-)

as we have been home over the last 3 plus years with our little one the "surprises" have become more known, but also more difficult.

we LOVE adoption, but we were also not prepared for ALL the "surprises" that came with our adoption. it has been a hard long road, but also we have been blessed with new lessons everyday. however, sometimes it hard to keep those blessings up front and close when dealing with the 24/7 of a special needs child. that also, is the short story. :-)

i have a 17 year old whom i have always homeschooled. i love homeschooling! however, i feel lost in what i am supposed to "do" with our little one now.

i suppose i would love some direction, encouragement and sites that may help me along the way. even connecting with some other mommy's that can understand what it is like to parent our special ones, specially those that homeschool, that would be so nice.

besides speech issues, my daughter has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS being on the spectrum towards aspergers. Developmental Trauma Disorder (most would call it PTSD - Post traumatic stress disorder) because the first 2 plus years of her life had MUCH trauma, neglect, medical trauma etc., the DTD seems to fit better. she also has attachment issues - RAD - reactive attachment disorder. SPD - sensory processing disorder has been thrown in there, too. :-) my daughter is also filled with FEAR. fear controls pretty much everything.

ok, i think that gets me started.

thank you SO much for reading!



wife to Dan
mother to Madeleine (age 17) and Millicent (age 5)

07-26-2011, 05:14 PM
Hi Marna! I have 3 adopted from the foster care system, so I know a little bit about what you are talking about.

I have first hand experience with PDD-NOS , SPD and RAD. Does your dd get attachment therapy? my kids have been going to a therapist that specializes in that for the past 2 years.(NOT all therapists know what to do for RAD kids)
I do not believe they would be where they are today if we have not addressed the emotional issues.
I don't have much time to type out a long reply right now, but if you want to PM me, that's fine. I don't have it all figured out ,and schooling my two older ones with special needs has been challenging , but maybe I can help you in some way.

Marna IN
07-26-2011, 07:40 PM
hi amy,

thanks for your reply! :-)

no, we have not started attachment therapy, YET! that is NEXT on our list. we know this is where we have to focus now!

the only reason it has taken us this long is because of WHO to go to (and YES, we know that MANY dont understand RAD...crazy, but so true) AND the money it takes to go to therapy! we pay ALL things on our own. no state help at all. that is one part of the "LONG story" of what we have been dealing with. we feel that are hands are so tied, feet too...very very hard! :-( my husband is actually getting another job just to help pay for all the things we are trying to pay off and for what we need to get ready and pay for...attachment therapy!

any other words or leads are GREATLY appreciated and is healing to our weary hearts.


Hollie in SC
07-27-2011, 09:23 AM
:group: Welcome, Marna! It sounds like you and your little gal have a lot to deal with, but it also sounds like she has a great advocate in you. :group:

There are some yahoo groups for special needs homeschooling. It might take some searching to find what you are looking for. Also, HSLDA has a special needs department and that might be a good place to start as well as your own groups in the state you are in.

This site has a lot of articles and ideas as well:
I have also read some here:

And of course, this forum has a lot of busy moms with kids who have a variety of needs. :)

Praying for you along the journey.:group:

Sue C
07-27-2011, 10:59 AM
:hi: Hi Marna and welcome! My daughter has Aspergers and has done VERY well with FIAR. She thrives on the gentle learning! :clap: The boards here are very helpful for those of us with SN kids. :group::group: to you for receiving your special blessing into your home! I'll pray for you as you start this new adventure.

Marna IN
07-27-2011, 12:04 PM
thank you hollie and sue!

i'll check those sites out!

i did FIAR WAYYYY back when my 17 year old was 5....it is what brought me back after all these years. the sweetness of learning together. :-)

i plan on using this with my Millie...she loves us reading to her, thank goodness! :-)

i was hoping to use Small Talks with Millie, as well, for speech...but it seems that it is not available...? is there any updated news with this product?

again, thank you SO much for replying!

it means so much!


Marsha in Fl
07-31-2011, 02:16 PM
Hi Marna,
I would love to talk with you! We also adopted from China, although not with known medical issues, but with some of the "alphabet" diagnosis you've gotten.;)

The fact that you are homeschooling will help attachment TREMENDOUSLY, especially using FIAR because it is so gentle and relationship based. We have been working hard with our therapist and are making wonderful progress in attachment and PTSD/DTD. We began doing neuroreorganization (NR) with Bette Lamont a year ago in May along with our regular attachment therapy and therauptic parenting. My older daughter is soon to finish the program, we think. :clap::clap::clap: And my younger one is doing well although she still has some work to do.

If you want to talk in real life, ;) private message me and I will give you my number.

Welcome to FIAR!

ps I'm from Indiana originally.:)

Marna IN
08-02-2011, 09:14 AM
hi Marsha, :-)

oh boy, i would LOVE, love, love to talk with you! thank you so much for writing back to me on the forum! :-) i'll PM you, of course i will need to ask my husband how to do that! :-)

i know about NR as well! we started NR with Emily (but have wondered if we should have gone with Bette...) and had to take a rest a year ago after we hit a wall with it (millie refused to do ANYthing, it takes 3 of us to help her with all movements). i thought we would only miss a few months, but it has ended up to be a year. :-( we are ready to get started again, but i have wondered if we should switch ladies....? are you on their yahoo site? i dont post, mostly because i am "scared" with computer related things (what if i push the wrong button kind of thing, say the wrong thing...) and, i am just not a good writer! i actually scared myself by writing in on the FIAR forum, but was hoping, because there are many who love the Lord it would be friendly! :-) and to be honest, i had NO idea how to write out so many of the details we have journeyed in the last 3 1/2 years with our adoption. where do i even begin...crazy! :-)

i'm from seattle originally, but married a hoosier and have been here ever since. i love it. we live in northern indiana. :-)

thank you again!


Trish A
08-02-2011, 11:15 AM
Marna, to pm someone you click on their name and a thing pops down and private message is an option on there. :)

Marna IN
08-02-2011, 11:33 AM
thank you so much Trish! :-) i can do this!!!! ;-)


08-02-2011, 02:28 PM
Hi Marna~

I have no experience with RAD or adoption, but I have two boys on the Autism Spectrum. Just wanted to say welcome. :)

Marna IN
08-04-2011, 09:08 AM
hi Lisalyn,

thank SOOO much for the welcome!!! :-)


Melissa Crabtree
08-10-2011, 09:53 AM
i dont post, mostly because i am "scared" with computer related things (what if i push the wrong button kind of thing, say the wrong thing...) and, i am just not a good writer! i actually scared myself by writing in on the FIAR forum, but was hoping, because there are many who love the Lord it would be friendly! :-) and to be honest, i had NO idea how to write out so many of the details we have journeyed in the last 3 1/2 years with our adoption. where do i even begin...crazy! :-)

:hi: Just wanted to say, Welcome!! I think you'll find this a very warm, non-threatening place to be! Please don't be hesitant to write b/c you're not a good writer. We don't hold ourselves to our children's grammar rules here. :lol:

Hollie in SC
08-10-2011, 10:30 AM
Please don't be hesitant to write b/c you're not a good writer. We don't hold ourselves to our children's grammar rules here. :lol:

:yes: I was a science major for a REASON and writing/grammar was the reason. :lol: :group:

Jen in AL
08-20-2011, 09:53 PM
Marna, your post stopped me in my tracks. I have a 3 year old special needs daughter that we adopted from China in 2009. We too were surprised by the extent of her needs. She is visually impaired, which we knew ahead of time, but we did not know that she is totally blind in her right eye until we brought her home. Also, she is very developmentally delayed due to her being completely neglected in her orphanage, which we were also unaware of before we got her. When we first got her, she could not even sit up, use her hands, or chew food--at 21 months old. We've had her for about 18 months now, and that is the age where she is currently in terms of development. She's had speech, physical, and occupational therapy, which she no longer has, but she still has vision therapy.
This is what I do for her schooling right now:
1. Lots of singing-she loves music and loves to sing
2. Talking to her a lot-I tell her everything that I'm doing, she's doing, her siblings are doing, Daddy is doing, etc.
3. Basic sign language
4. Lots of reading-picture books, texture books
5. Montessori style teaching/learning
6. Hands-on activities
She has come a long way in the time that she's been with us, and I've learned to take it day by day. I look at her age in these terms: she was a "newborn" when we got her, so she's right where she needs to be now at an 18 month level since that's how long we've had her. I don't look at her as a 3 year old, which is her chronological age. She had no love, teaching, affection, etc. until we got her. My best advice is to look at your daughter in that same way. :group:
Right now our biggest issue is with getting her to communicate. Her physical and cognitive levels are ahead of her verbal skills, which presents us with several problems. She is able to *do* lots of things, yet unable to *talk* about what she's doing. So we just keep talking and giving her words and signs that she'll hopefully speak and do herself one day. If you'd like to see more of what I do for her school, you can check out my blog. Here's the link: http://freeindeed-redkitchen.blogspot.com/
I know some days are so hard and discouraging, and I sometimes feel like I am drowning. You're not alone, but just remember that you're a great mom and your daughter is blessed to have you. I hope I've been of some help to you.

Marna IN
08-25-2011, 04:35 PM
oh WOW jen, your post as well, could be explaining our situation! word for word! :-)

AND, i couldnt agree with you more, we see her not as her chronological age, but how long she has been with us, and how long she has been with us vs her life in China. we say we are parenting several "age groups", if you will. she is 5 1/2 year old, however almost 3 1/2 years home with us, and 1 year 3 months longer with us then in china. :-) :-) i know you understand! :-)

everything you said you have been doing with your daughter is what i have been doing. my oldest is actually ASL fluent, so signing is a HUGE thing in our home. the problem is/was millie didnt even know what comunication was, let alone what a human being was. truly! our daughter was VERY abused in the orphanage she was in, and if not abused physically, she was neglected. and, that is only the tip of the iceberg! sadness to even think about, but we have to in order to help her heal!

i guess i had hit a wall in ALL we have been doing, trying to do, and just living with all the special needs that have come out of her trauma. i have been beyond exhausted. trusting in our Savior, but being "real" about the hardness of it all! feeling alone and wanting to be with others that "get it".

it has taken millie over 3 years to begin to use language with us. volunteering language with us has actually just exploded in the last 2 months. it's taken a VERY long time i'm afraid, and it is still very broken...but i am sure in a few years we will see lots of changes. the changes just take a VERY VERY long time! millie's lack of verbal has not been because of her lip/palete but because of fear and trust. now that she is using verbal language to speak she actually has a very good sound and her palete is moving well. they called it selective mutism because of her fear of talking and what would happen to her if she did make a sound. :-( again, i am sure you can understand!

i cant wait to check out your blog... :-) and thank you SOOOO much for writing to me. :-)

we've been so busy the last few weeks (state fair for my oldest) and getting ready for school (we start after labor day) and life in general, i was unable to get on the forums. so i just saw this post today! thank you so much!

it was so cute to see the grammar funnies said about not holding ourselves to our childrens grammar rules....SOOO thankful for that. :clap: actually one of the many reasons why i choose to homeschool many many years ago....i never learned a thing in school! :hcry: (hopefully i am making these smiles to the side pop up...still learning) :unsure:

with gratefulness,

Jen in AL
08-26-2011, 09:48 PM
Marna, your last post encouraged me so much. It gives me hope that, even if it takes a few years, our little one may finally begin to speak voluntarily in order to communicate. Just today she went to the fridge when I told her to get her drink, so I know she understands what I'm saying.:) Something to celebrate, for sure!
Also, I know what you mean about trusting our Savior, yet still having doubts and fears. Some days I wonder if my little one will ever be able to *do school* like I really want her to--to really understand what we're doing, to read, write, etc.
It's so good to talk to someone who understands our situation. It sounds like our daughters both had horrible orphanage experiences. :group: Praise God we have them home now, though, and we can love and nurture them. I'm going to PM you and ask you a few questions, if you don't mind.