Apparently, we love to talk. We been giving presentations, lectures, and classes on adoption and pediatric topics for years, at Seattle Children's, adoption agencies, national conferences, and our own Raising Resilient Rascals regional adoption & foster care conferences.
Here's a smörgåsbord of talks we've enjoyed presenting. If you'd like to have one at your conference or training, please get in touch. Our funds (and our families!) don't let us travel gratis, unfortunately, but we hope to fit your budget. Cascadia Training, who hosts the Rascals conferences, can tell you if we're worth it.
The basics of international adoption, with recent country trends, pre-adoption review pearls, the post-placement medical workup, and ongoing developmental/behavioral issues. This talk can be targeted for parents, adoption professionals, or pediatricians.
The Nature and Nurture of the Brain
The “Decade of the Brain” came and went, bringing many advances in neuroimaging, and better understanding of the effects of prenatal drug and alcohol exposures, malnutrition, maltreatment, neglect, and stress on the developing brain. What can the latest research tell us about how these all-too-frequent influences affect the neurodevelopment of internationally adopted children? We will explore how nature and nurture interact to shape brain development, the neurobiology of relationships and behavior, and how brain plasticity imparts risk and resilience, with an emphasis on avenues for intervention.
Sleep and Adoption
A humorous, balanced, and practical exploration of why internationally adopted children (and their parents!) often sleep so poorly, and what to do about it. This talk will review sleep physiology, why sleep is important, how many of the prenatal and environmental factors impacting adopted kids interfere with restful sleep, and present some strategies for the immediate post-adoption period, as well as persistent sleep difficulties. Developed in consultation with pediatric sleep doctors, but sensitive to the unique needs of adoptive families, this talk will feature lots of concrete sleep tips.
Prenatal Alcohol and Drug Exposures
Recent advances in neuro-imaging have brought new insight into the impacts of prenatal alcohol exposure. The latest round of intervention trials has suggested promising avenues for intervention. A pediatrician from the longest-running FAS clinic in the country will review the basics of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and examine the latest research. We will also explore the impacts of prenatal tobacco, marijuana, opiate, cocaine, and methamphetamine exposures.
From Snake Oil to Fish Oil
A lively romp through the wilderness of complementary/alternative therapies commonly used by adoptive families, from an "alterna-curious" pediatrician. We'll review the evidence or lack thereof, safety, and cost of interventions ranging from vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and other "nutriceuticals", herbs and homeopathy, elimination diets, bodywork and chiropractic, sensory integration, relaxation techniques, and bio/neurofeedback. We'll also cover ways to evaluate therapies and practitioners, and the cardinal signs of quackery.
From Adderall to Risperdal (et al.)
This talk addresses the use of psychiatric medications with adopted and fostered children. Stimulants, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, blood-pressure medications, and atypical anti-psychotics are being used more and more with younger and younger children. Unfortunately, the evidence for safety and efficacy in children for many of these drugs is lacking (as are the child psychiatrists!) What do we know about these meds and children? What goes into the decision to medicate a child for specific psychiatric conditions like ADHD, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders, as well as less defined emotional and behavioral problems? What sort of monitoring is important?
Om a Little Teapot
In which I put the audience to sleep - in a good way. This talk reviews practical techniques to help children (and their parents!) relax, get to sleep, and improve their emotional and behavioral self-regulation.
Nutrition in Adoption
A review of the common nutrient deficiencies seen in internationally adopted children, their possible impacts, and how to "renourish" our kids, with practical tips for picky or aversive eaters.
What can improve brain function? Many children adopted internationally and domestically have learning difficulties, specifically problems with higher order learning – what we call “executive functioning”. There are now many programs that claim their systems and supplements improve executive functioning. I will review these programs and the evidence about whether or not they work.
Emerging Issues in International Adoption
A review of hot infectious disease topics in recent international adoptions, particularly tuberculosis and hepatitis A.
Developmental and Behavioral Issues in Adoption
A lecture for child psychiatry fellows on the commonly encountered issues in internationally adopted children.
International Adoption for Attorneys
A review of country-specific trends, medical issues, and developmental/behavioral outcomes for adoption attorneys.
FASD and the Justice System
An overview of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders for juvenile justice professionals.
Why not make the handouts available online?
While we do that for conference participants, it doesn't feel ideal to offer them to folks that didn't see the talks. We do take pride in our slidedecks, but we aim to be more dynamic than reading off of over-stuffed slides, so the handouts aren't nearly as instructive as being there, or reading one of our articles on the site.