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6 year old, no sign of initiative, curiosity, creative play, please help, i am desperate

(7 Posts)
joburg Mon 01-Jun-09 15:21:14

hello all, our 6 yo DD was adopted a year and a half ago and already diagnosed with sensory integration problems (having OT therapy now), but other than that nothing else and still i feel like smth is not just right. she wouldn't play by herself, she doesn't ask any kind of questions, or asking for help, she doesn't take any sort of initiative (i do understand she was only for a year and a half with us, but i was hoping she would START at least to register all those little things we tried to teach her and apply them little by little according to her age). what scares me is that she never tries to think on her own about this and that, even if her actions would turn out wrong. she memorises certain things by heart (after a million times of repeating those to her, but even those take so long that i could scream!), but otherwise no signs of creative thinking (sometimes she tries to destroy/break appart things, and i could see a sign of curiosity in that, but even those, they never show any creating impulse, but rather just destructing, and she looses interest directly after). We tried charts, stickers, ice cream for asking questions, nothing really worked. She is a lovely kid sitting right now nicely in her room to let me work, but i'm pretty sure by the time i get back to her, there will be nothing to see there, no real activity other than her spreading around toys and staring at them and not knowing what to do more. what shall i do? how can i help her? it can't be just the adoption situation and the snesory integration problem. can it be something else?

joburg Mon 01-Jun-09 15:27:31

oh, and by the way, she is otherwise a hyperactive kid, full of energy, screaming and running around all day long, no matter how long the day is if she is outdoors happy and smiling to everybody, chatting all day long (but, again, without making much sense) ...

magso Mon 01-Jun-09 16:03:33

Oh it is so complex with adoption to know whats what! Early neglect, inconsistent parenting, regular changes in carers, institutionalised care, can all affect early development very badly. On the other hand blaming everything on a difficult start to life can mean developmental conditions such as autism can go undiagnosed even though they are more common in adopted children! How is she doing at school?
Its good she is getting help from the OT. It sounds like she may need to be taught how to play and have fun and that you are already doing that. There is a good book called The Out Of Synch Child Has Fun by Carol Kranonowitz which has play ideas. Stanley Greenspans books -(eg The Challenging child) may be helpful (from the library) as they are not 'condition' specific. Have you read 'Parenting the child that hurts' by Carol Archer - there are 2 volumes. HTH

ICANDOTHAT Mon 01-Jun-09 16:12:06

What's she like at school? Do the teachers have any concerns?

magso Tue 02-Jun-09 10:30:28

She sounds lovely!
Is she is doing well at school and making friends - or do you have concerns there? Do you have access to specialised post adoption support services such as play therapy?

I am not an expert (just an adoptive mum) so feel rather out of my depth here but the combination of sensory intergration difficulties, delays in play and social skills, hyperactivity are very common in young children placed for adoption. The advice I received during training was to go back to basics as far as possible, (as if the child was younger) nuturing/ touching/talking/ playing on the floor/ laughing together/ gentle rough and tumble games and all the things that build attachments and trust between parent and child and teach the child to self regulate.
And have fun! Circus skills, learning to swim (skin to skin contact) ride a bike all give oportunities to learn trust another( parent as supporter) and build esteem.

If you have concerns (and it sounds like you do - so trust youe instincts) then perhaps seek developmental assessments. 18 months is still very early days - and I remember getting quite discouraged at about that point too!
Hope all goes well- Magso

joburg Tue 02-Jun-09 12:13:20

Magso, thank you for your encouragement! I don't really know what is going on in school. I'm told over and over again that all is just fine. But then i hear from DD quite often about her hitting or fighting with other children, or children refusing to play with her, so often that it gets worrying (while the teachers are silent!). Then we had awkward discussions with the teachers regarding the assesments we did, they insisted on telling us that all that was just nonsense, so i don't really count too much on the school right now. DD will start in a different school from autumn.
We had a chat with our OT therapist this morning and she also mentioned play therapy! I am just worried that all these are gonna be too much for her to handle as well as for us to pay (she needs speech therapy too, having now 2 sessions of OT a week .... ) I wish i could also do smth at home in order to help her improve! Something! Anything!

magso Tue 02-Jun-09 13:30:39

Hi Joberg
Yes its difficult to get the balance right especially when dd is going out of her home to school which must limit time to play and build attatchments.
I used to have lots of little play sessions where I followed ds interests, copied him, but added elements to build up play/ language/ sensory tolerance/ turn taking etc. (ds has and had a very short attention span so little and often worked best for us) Other times I would set something up ie messy play or playdough or whatever and aim to informally work on certain skills - but playfully. Ds likes sniffing the spices as a reward too!
We could not afford regular salt either but the salt (specialised in ASD and LD ) we saw basically showed me what to do and set me up with a program, reviewing each holiday. A lot of the salt work we did on the move ie on walks/ outdoor play as ds is also very busy and needs movement to run off his energy.
Sorry so long!

Anyway keep up the good work! Magso

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