Posted by: amica | January 24, 2010

This Stuff Works!!

Friday I went to see Denise Best here in San Antonio. One of my fellow RAD mommy bloggers and wonderful friend, Christine, also attended. It was very informative and definitely raised new questions and thoughts for me. She talked about brain damage due to trauma, not like an accident but due to neglect and abuse while the brain is still forming. It was truly insightful, especially when she gave us ways to “test” our kids and see if their Pons and/or middle brain is damaged. One way is to have the kids follow your finger going both vertically and horizontally. It should be a very fluid motion; both of my kiddos aced this test. Another test is to have them lie flat on their tummies in one spot and tell them to move to another spot. The only rule is they must keep their belly buttons on the floor. A person’s natural instinct is to use both arms and legs to wiggle themselves from point A to point B.  If there is damage to the Pons, the person won’t use both arms and legs. H went first (I had M go to another room) and she pulled herself with her arms only across the room. I can’t say I was shocked but my heart was hurting watching her drag herself and keep her legs limp. Then it was M’s turn. He also began by dragging himself with only his arms but about halfway there, he added the use of one leg. Out of curiosity, I had AE do it also. She kept trying to get up on all fours and basically couldn’t keep her belly on the ground. I guess not too surprising for a 3-year-old.  

We also learned key words to say when our kids are upset and/or escalating. I am guilty of saying It’s Ok, It will be alright, etc. These aren’t the best choices but some much better alternatives are I Am Here, I’m Right Here, and rub their back or something equally soothing. This can be very hard to do if they’ve just destroyed something, called you names, and kicked the dog but we must continually remind ourselves of what our children have endured to get to this place. I had a much less dramatic situation this morning. Not long after we all got up, my car alarm went off. My car is in the garage and I only have an alarm if a panic button is pressed. This button was on my key ring, in my purse. H comes running to me with my keys saying she accidently leaned on my purse with her elbow and it must have pushed the panic button. I turned off the alarm and said, it must have been very interesting to see what would happen if that red button was pushed. Here come the tears. “But I didn’t”…I stopped her. Honey I am not mad, I pulled her over for a hug. I just think it must be very hard to not be curious about things and want to test it out. She buried her head in my arms and began to sob, heavily. I rubbed her back and said, I’m right here sweetie. She popped her head up at me with the strangest look. Like she was searching my eyes to see if I was messing with her. I smiled all the way to my eyes and continued to rub her back. She sobbed and sobbed and eventually said, “Mom there is something wrong with me. I need help. ” Now I thought this was leading to her admitting to the panic button thing. But instead she says she is a bully at school. She says she is mean to the other kids and she doesn’t know why and she can’t stop. Whoa! Where did this come from? I already knew she wasn’t playing well with others and has no female friends. I believed her. I just couldn’t believe she was telling me about it. I was still rubbing her back and I told her how that must have been so hard to say and I was so proud of her. She was once again searching my eyes, afraid to trust me. I never lost eye contact, kept smiling, told her we are working on helping her, reminded her that I am here for her, and I love her. She practically jumped into my lap and held me tight, just sobbing… It was an amazing morning.



  1. That is amazing stuff with H. Love the test too. You know I had to give it to both girls before I commented. It was really interesting. Both of them were able to do the belly thing but K had trouble going to the right on the finger test. Hmmm…..

    Please post more on the conference. I am a sponge waiting to absorb all the details. 😉

  2. Lisa is a copy-cat….and so am I. Of course I had to try this with mine (3 so far…have one more to do). Corazon did great on both as did the toddler (fun to see her crawl on her belly since she never crawled.) Tortuga couldn’t track my fingers without lots of stops and starts and the belly thing…well I should have videotaped it but he was finally able to do it with only the use of his hands/arms.

    So glad H. was able to share so openly!

  3. I just did this with ttops. She couldn’t do the finger thing fluidly. She was able to do the belly thing using her toes and elbows. At first she said she couldn’t but I told her to take her time and think about it. At first she just used her elbows. Then I noticed she was using her toes a tiny bit. What does this mean??

  4. Wow–that’s amazing, Laynie! I so admire your strength and dedication to the kids…

  5. WOW! Remember how much Denise talked about shame? Check that out. She’s feeling shame for the stuff at school, and trying to make sense of it (in her case, LITERALLY “pushing buttons”) …

    I will also keep posting as I process through all we learned and were reminded of.

    Oh … every single one of my kids had issues with one or all of the tests. Every. single. one. (granted, I also have two with Tourettes and one who never really crawled b/c she was adopted right at that stage).

  6. I just stumbled across your blog… it’s wonderful!
    I had my adopted (came to us as a foster child at 13 months) son do the tests. He could not fluidly follow my finger! His eyes would jump to where he thought my finger would go, and he moved his head too, would not keep it still and use just his eyes.
    He used only his arms for the floor test. Once he gave himself a push with his knee, and at the end he propelled once with his toes.
    Very interesting. Now what do I do with this info?

  7. Hi-I came over from Lisa’s blog telling us about your post. I’m going to try this with my kiddo’s too. Amazing story about your experience this morning. How cool! You must have been ready to burst saying how this works!

  8. WOW. Amazing stuff I’ll be trying with our 3 older boys tomorrow….Very sweet that your daughter could disclose like that ….

  9. Wow! That is quite the morning with H. Sounds like you really did good.

    Those tests: just tried them on our younger son (adopted internationally at age 3.5). He tracked my finger very fluidly. On the belly test, he dragged himself (very easily) along using just his arms in a full range of motion. On the way back to me, he used same arm motion but added in pushing with his toes. Really wondering what this means, and hoping you and Christine will share more about what you learned as time permits.

  10. Got here through lisa… just did the test on 3 of mine. One bio, age 5, had no problems with either, and used both arms and feet (not really legs, just her toes to help push). My RADling (also 5) actually didn’t have problems with the eyes, but only slid using 1 arm, legs lay limp. Another adopted daughter, (4)tho not diagnosed with RAD (yet) also dragged her self across, legs limp. now i can’t wait to hear more!

  11. Thank you for sharing. I got here through Christine. I can’t wait to try this on my boys, ages 10 and 16. I need as much help and info right now as I can, so I can’t wait to hear more.



  12. Hi Lisa, I am an SLP and adoptive mom, who now homeschools our 11 y.o. Russian-born son, who came home at 20 mo’s. I stumbled across your blog while Googling “youtube neurological reorganization”. Like you, I am frustrated by professionals who are possessive about their knowledge. My hope was to learn about NR and do it, and anything else I can learn myself.

    Here are a few of my favorite resources:

    Carla Hannaford’s Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not ALL in Your Head,
    Parenting a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder: A Family Guide to Understanding & Supporting Your Sensory-Sensitive Child by Christopher R. Auer and Susan L. Blumberg,
    Anything by Deborah Gray or Cynthia Tobias,

    However, the reason I posted is because I am trained as a BCi Instructor by Heather Forbes, who authored Beyond Consequensence, Logic, and Control: A Love-Based Approach to Helping Attachment-Challenged Children With Severe Behaviors. The scenario you described reminded me of the unconditional love approach to parenting, which is the foundation of her program. Her 1 day parenting seminars are FREE w/ the coupon found in this particular book.

    Blessings to you and your family!

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