By: Julie Beem
Many of the parents who contact ATN have children with multiple diagnoses and we’re frequently puzzled about which ones are the “right” ones. I’m included in that group. My child has an alphabet soup of diagnoses, including autism spectrum and ADHD/OCD/Tourettes (aggravated by her trauma.) Fortunately for us, we had professionals who also recognized the RAD, PTSD, DTD components and pointed us in the right directions for treatment of those. Yet, her developmental and processing struggles continue.

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By: Julie Beem

My child has __________________ (pick one or several: Bipolar, ADHD, autism, ODD, anxiety, executive functioning problems). When parents of traumatized children turn to professionals for diagnoses and treatment, coming away with at RAD or Developmental Trauma Disorder diagnosis isn’t a sure thing. If I had a dollar for every time a parent told me, “but my child has only been diagnosed with ADHD,” I could fund ATN’s activities well into the next decade. Nearly every child I’ve met with attachment or trauma problems carries an ADD or ADHD diagnosis. Don’t misunderstand me, children can have both attachment & trauma problems and ADHD. But do they always co-exist? No

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By: Julie Beem

“You don’t want her labeled for life.” This sentence is usually spoken by your child’s grandparent (out of sheer concern for you and your family) or by a school official (who may be trying to block access to special education services). Either way, crossing the threshold into “labeling” your child is a difficult thing for many.

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By: Julie Beem

It’s nearly Mother’s Day. And thanks to retailers, schools, churches, we hear the message of “celebrating your mom” broadcasted from the rooftops. In a normal world, this would be a great thing. Motherhood is truly one of the highest callings. But what about children for whom their first relationship with a mother didn’t go well, didn’t last, produced trauma?

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By: Julie Beem

The argument discussion rears its head every now and then, so I wasn’t surprised to see it come up again in an online group I belong to. Someone in the group took offense over others in the group referring to their children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) as “radishes” or “radlets”. Then others in the group took offense at being “shamed” because they were just referring casually to their children. And a war of words ensued.

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By: Julie Beem

When she looked at me, her eyes were filling with tears. She had just heard me say, and expound upon, the idea of reviewing your therapeutic parenting responses at the end of the day to see where you had done well and where things had not gone so well. “Just like professional athletes,” I advised, “we need to review those game tapes every day, learning from what worked and what didn’t.”

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By: Julie Beem

This whole Russian adoption ban issue is ridiculous!

There, I said it. I suspect many of you were thinking it. A knee-jerk political reaction designed to make Americans in general, and American adoptive parents in particular, look like violent, evil monsters. The Russian government uses the deaths of 15 Russian-born adoptees as the fuel to stop thousands of adoptions and to insist that they be allowed to come to this country to provide oversight on our adoptive families.

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By: Julie Beem

LuLu and I build gingerbread houses. We build them for the annual competition at her virtual school. She’s a serious competitor. Prior to the houses we built for the last competitions, I had absolutely no gingerbread house experience. It has been a trial by fire – and a lot of work! But the interesting thing is that it’s been a fruitful adventure and one that showcases some of her talents.

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By: Julie Beem

Every Monday my daughter (let’s call her LuLu) goes to a social skills class. Most of the children are on the autism spectrum and that seems to work fine for her, even though I truly believe her developmental issues are trauma-related and not true autism (or at least not entirely autism-related). It’s a nice bit of downtime for me, given that she’s in virtual school and I’m her daily learning coach. Chatting with the other mothers is my own social break. One of the mothers recently revealed that her daughter was also adopted and did it in the context of exploring why she acted the way she did. We’ve since discussed ways that her daughter’s autism diagnosis doesn’t quite “fit” some behaviors and maybe there was something more there. (Yes, I believe there is – early childhood trauma.)

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