Now, please understand, I am NOT saying every adopted child needs to be on medication. I am not saying every adopted child needs on-going therapy. In fact, Youngest Son will likely "graduate" from therapy this summer if all continues to go well. However, if a child had diabetes, or asthma, or cystic fibrosis, or a heart murmur – if a parent or a clinician saw any sign of a possibility of any of these conditions, or hundreds more, and they did not test them – did not treat them, the parent would be charged with child neglect and the clinician would lose their license. So why do we wait with hurt children?
My kids were home more than a year before they were ever tested. We didn’t live near one of the big cities. I didn’t have the money to go see Dr. Boris Gindis or Dr. Jane Aronson. I knew it would be BEST to have my kids tested in their first language (Russian) as soon as possible after getting home, but that was a logistic impossibility here. By the time anything could be arranged, the kids were already in what Gindis calls “language limbo,” and they could not be tested in Russian. What I did not know at the time, however, was there are other tests – non-verbal tests – my kids could have taken before they had a good handle on English. We could have gotten started on therapy and medical treatment a lot sooner than we did. Because of my ignorance, they were neglected.
At 1.5 years home, both The Princess and Youngest Son went through a battery of tests at our local mental health facility. This was after our school district gave them a test at grade level (not age level) and said they were “normal.” I would have LOVED to have our special education director live with them for a month or two and then tell me they were “normal.”
Testing included having me fill out forms and complete some tests myself. I completed these tests for both kids:
*PCRI – Parent/Child Relationship Inventory (Parental style)
*PSI – Parenting Stress Index
Both kids had the following tests at different times:
*ADHDT – Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Test (Behavior Rating Scale or BRS)
*BASC – Behavior Assessment System for Children (BRS)
*CVLT – California Verbal Learning Test for Children (you don’t have to live in CA to use this test – for Neuro: Memory/Learning or NM/L)
*CAS – Cognitive Abilities Scale II (Neuro: Educational or NE)
*MACI – Million Adolescent Clinical Inventory (Personality)
*SCAN-3C – Test for Auditory Processing Disorders in Children (NE)
*TSC – Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (this is listed as a “Personality” test, but it’s more of an experience inventory)
*WISC-IV – Wechsler Intell Scale for Children (IQ-Multitask – probably the most involved and comprehensive test ever)
Youngest Son also had this test:
*Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire (Symptom Rating Scale)
What going through all the testing boils down to is that both kids continue in psycho-therapy and take medicine to manage their symptoms.
Medications either currently taken, or taken by my kids in the past that have had beneficial effects included:
*Tenex (or guanfacine) and Intuniv (a slow-release form of guanfacine) for attention-deficit disorder or ADD. Youngest Son is diagnosed with attention deficit, but without the hyperactivity.
*Focalin XR and dexmethylphenida (same as Focalin but not slow release) for ADHD, emphasis on the “H.” The Princess is very active and attention deficit. This is combined with a keen sense of hyper-vigilance. She rarely feels completely safe unless she is with me, and even then finds it difficult at times.
*Wellbutrin – for depression
*Abilify – for depression
*Seroquel XR (both 50 mg. and 150 mg.) – for depression and to treat strong, inappropriate emotions and acting out behaviors (such as trying to tear your mother’s arm out of its socket).
Meds that caused problems for my kids:
Concerta (Methylin ER and Methylphenidate) – for ADHD. The Princess became aggressive on this medicine and set fires. She’d never done that before and has not done it since going off the medicine.
Celexa – for depression and anxiety. Made my kids too sleepy and “out of it.”
Cymbalta – for depression. Gave Youngest Son massive headaches.
Strattera - for ADHD. Gave The Princess massive, daily afternoon headaches.
Natural herbs used at times (with psychiatrist’s consent):
Gaba – for anxiety
Valerian Root – for calming effect
Bottom line, in my opinion, is this: Don’t be afraid of tests. Don’t be afraid of well-tested and time-tried medicines. They just may be one of the best tools you have in your tool box to help your child heal.
THE ABOVE POST is shared as my personal experience only and is not to be substituted for the care and instruction of your family's own personal physician/psychiatrist.