Articles on adoption, foster care, & pediatrics

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Raising Resilient Rascals Conference

Raising Resilient Rascals:

Integrative, Brain-Based and Practical Ways
to Nurture Adopted and Fostered Children

Save the date! On Feb 2nd we'll be hosting an all-day conference with Deborah Gray and colleagues.  We're aiming to be interesting and informative for both parents and professionals interested in adoption. Check out the topics below, and sign up at the Cascadia Training website.

Topics include:


The "Decade of the Brain" Came and Went - What Have We Learned?

The past 10 years brought many advances in neuro-imaging, and better understanding of the effects of prenatal drug and alcohol exposures, malnutrition, maltreatment, lack of attuned care giving, and stress on the developing brain.  What can the latest research tell us about how these all-too-frequent influences affect the neurodevelopment of adopted and foster children?  We will explore different regions of the brain, and aspects of learning and behavior, with an emphasis on avenues for intervention at home and school.

Loving the Child Who Bites You - Disciplining Scared/Aggressive Kids. 

Children who have been maltreated or lost attachment figures desperately need to form secure attachments with their parents.  Often the children are aggressive and/or immature and impulsive.  What strategies are useful when children show limited empathy?  We will look at approaches designed to bring out the best in children whose histories of maltreatment have resulted in dysregulation and behavior problems.

From Snake Oil to Fish Oil - Integrative Medicine and Adoption. 

A lively romp through the wilderness of complementary/alternative therapies commonly used by adoptive families, from an "alterna-friendly" 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, chelation therapy, bodywork and chiropractic, developmental movement therapy, sensory and auditory integration, and bio/neurofeedback.  We'll also cover ways to evaluate therapies and practitioners, and the cardinal signs of quackery.

Adderall and Risperdal et al. - Meds and Adoption.  

In this part of our talk, we'll address 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?

Creating Resilience in Children: What areas promote competencies in children?  What are we doing well?  What are we missing?   How should we be doing it? 

The remarkable increase in the number of adoptions of children adopted after trauma and neglect has pushed the need for support.  But, professionals and parents alike need to know when to obtain support.  This talk describes symptom clusters in childhood trauma, neglect's impact on children's functioning,  and best practices in providing help.  We will also discuss what to look for in acquiring help and what to avoid.

Resilience Panel

The day will end with a panel to include all the speakers and a few invited guests.  The panel will discuss resilience factors, resilience gene, adult influences, orphanage interventions, goodness of fit, what can parents do to prepare/promote resilience?  There will be plenty of time to take attendee questions.

About the presenters:

Julia Bledsoe, MD, is a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington, and a staff pediatrician at the UW Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Diagnostic and Prevention Network in Seattle.  She founded the Center for Adoption Medicine, and has worked in the field of international adoption for ten years, with travels to Russia, Romania, China, and Guatemala.  She has two children adopted from Korea, one of whom has Tourette's Syndrome and ADHD.

Julian Davies, MD, is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington, and the other pediatrician at the UW FAS Clinic.  He is also the Co-Director of the Center for Adoption Medicine, where he provides pre-adoption consultations, post-placement evaluations, and ongoing general pediatric care for adopted children.  He is the primary author for, an online resource for medical and developmental issues in adoption and pediatrics.  He has traveled, clowned, and volunteered extensively in Russia, with an arts rehabilitation program and summer arts camp for Russian orphans.

Deborah Gray, MSW, MPA, is a national trainer, a psychotherapist in private practice, and the author of the well-received book, Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents, Perspectives Press, 2002. Deborah has spent 20 years helping children develop attachments and work through trauma and grief. She teaches in the Trauma Certificate Program at the Univ. of WA School of Social Work and both graduate adoption therapy programs at Portland State University and Northwest Adoption Exchange. Her second book on best practices with children after neglect and trauma is in preparation.

About the particulars:

Location: Tukwila Community Center
When: February 2nd, 2007
Hours: 8:30am-5:00pm
Fee: $65.00 US
CEU info: 7 CEU's 
Cascadia Training is approved by the NASW, Washington State Chapter, to provide continuing education units to Licensed Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists.  Certificates of Completion are awarded to attendees at the end of each workshop.  Provider number #1975-118; Cascadia is an OSPI approved provider of in-service education.  This is a "Washington State Approved Clock Hour Offering Workshop."