The joys of adoption are deep and profound. You are bringing a child into your home to make someone who was once an outsider a member of your family and change their name from stranger to daughter or son. This is a beautiful thing! The miracle of adoption, is that it is both an instant becoming and a long-term journey of belonging…especially when international adoption or adoption of children with special needs is involved. This process is filled with joy and love, but it can also be challenging and scary as you determine what your new family member may need to be most successful.
As a pediatric occupational therapist, I have the immense pleasure of walking alongside families who have chosen to grow their family through adoption. Pediatric occupational therapists evaluate and provide interventions to help children participate in everyday activities. These may include things like playing, learning, sleeping, moving in the environment, eating, interacting with others, getting dressed, being able to tolerate an unfamiliar environment, and even things as simple as calming down when your child is upset.
Children who have been adopted internationally may have been exposed to environments that have limited their motor abilities. They may have limited independence in daily living skills with simple tasks such as feeding or dressing themselves. Your child may demonstrate behavioral or attachment difficulties as a result of significant changes in their daily routines or lack of a consistent caregiver in the child’s developing years. They may also have challenges in processing and responding appropriately to their new sensory environment.
A pediatric occupational therapist looks at a child’s motor skills and their ability to participate in their environment through basic movement such as sitting, crawling, and walking. They look at fine motor skills to determine if a child can manipulate tools and toys to use them appropriately for play and learning. They also evaluate and assess sensory processing, and can provide interventions to help children tolerate new sounds, smells and sensations that may be upsetting to them. Your occupational therapist will address each child’s unique skills, needs, barriers, and support systems to help them participate right alongside their peers in any environment.
If you have concerns regarding your child’s development, please contact your pediatrician to find out how occupational therapy can help your child grow and develop the skills they need to lead a successful life. Occupational therapy can help your child and family as you begin this journey of belonging.
Krystal Showers, MSOS. OTR/L
For more information and assistance finding a speech therapist in your area, contact Anna Hull.
Krystal Showers works for BPT Kidz, serving children and families in Stuart, Virginia and surrounding areas. BPT Kidz provides speech, occupational, and physical therapies and have adoption-trained therapists on staff. Go to their Facebook page for more information!