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Old 01-31-2011, 03:56 PM
Dneesy's Avatar
Dneesy Dneesy is offline
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Question Can Cognitive Development Delays be overcome?

Went to IEP meeting for 4yr pre adoptive daughter. Although we had already been told she was delayed. Special Ed teacher says she is functioning at 20mos-24mos. Severe Cognitive Delays...

What does this mean for her future? Will she ever catch up enough to be in general education classes? Anyone have their child overcome these issues?
Married to my high school sweetheart (19yrs)
One BS (12yrs)

Officially Matched with 4 yr Twins (12/01/10)
Presentation Meeting (12/13/10)
Move In 02/08/11
Disrupted 02/28/2011

Matched with Lil K 06/30/11
Presentation Meeting 07/12/11
First Visit 07/19/2011
Placement 07/21/2011
TPR 05/04/12
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:08 PM
alys1 alys1 is offline
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Well, I think it depends on what it is. I hope you got more specifics than "cognitive delays" so you can research specifics. I had one little boy come who was 3 years 10 months. No one could understand his speech, I mean, you could get 1 word in 10. The SW said "he needs speech therapy". I thought, bosh on that, he needs to learn to talk so one person can understand him, then everyone will be able to understand him. No one had ever bothered to teach him to talk. Geez. I figured he'd been told to shut up - a lot. He came with one of those goofy plastic talking machines, push the picture it talks. That went in the attic! He needed human interaction to learn.

I told him, "Sorry, I *care* what you're saying, but I don't understand you, can you try again?" I let him talk as much as he wanted once he started, and he would say the same word 3-10 times, obviously listening to himself and trying to improve. I listened for places where he thought 2 words were one word, and showed him that they were separate. I taught him to say bigger words, by getting him to say one half, then the other half. At first he didn't want to try, eventually he got excited about it. I *never* criticized anything he said specifically, as, w's for r's, etc. I read a lot to him, got him books on CD from library, played kid songs for him to sing along to (a jillion repetitions, eek). In 4 months, pretty much everyone could understand him.

Now was that a cognitive delay? I don't know, I'm not trained to know, maybe it's not. Mentioned as an example of the kind of thing that might seem a big deal, but isn't.

I would expect every foster child to be delayed... in one form or another. Did you ask the professional if she'd expect the child to catch up?
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:18 PM
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Barksum Barksum is offline
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I have one Ds who has mild? moderate? cognitive delays. He was very delayed, developmentally, as an infant. He kind of caught up with developmental milestones by around age 2 or 2.5. He didn't speak until about age 4, though, so he had a significant speech delay. At age 3.5 he had maybe 35 words, including sign, which doesn't count for verbal vocabulary. He did move forward well after about age 4, but he didn't suddenly began to speak in sentences or anything. He progressed at about the same way that a toddler aquiring vocabulary would. A few words a month, incrementally.

He has learning lags, and learning disabilities. I believe these are related to his prenatal exposure to multiple drugs and alcohol. He was born addicted.

At age 9 there are still some areas where he's not at the same level as his chronological peers. He has what they call 'dysmaturity', which just means that he doesn't function at a 9 yo level in all areas. His 'inside age' doesn't match up with his 'outside age'. It's hard to describe because he is NOT mentally retarded, but he functions around maybe a 6 yo level in some areas, while in others he's much higher, perhaps even higher than his chronological age. So it's misleading to say 'he's 9, but is really 6', even though in some areas he's 6. Sort of. LOL

A person can overcome some cognitive delays, but like Alys says, it depends on why there are cognitive delays. Delays due to lack of training are probably more easily overcome. ("Easily" being a relative term.) Cognitive issues from TBI (traumatic brain injury, like CP, for instance, or anoxia at birth), or from drugs/alcohol can take more work, but may be diminished with time and lots of work. It truly depends on the kinds of problems and their cause. HOWEVER new research now shows that the brain CAN heal and change. So it's work, but often the brain can recover. The exact extent of brain recovery, though, depends on many variables.

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant." Robert Louis Stevenson

"Let's look at this thing from a... um, from a standpoint of status. What do we got on the spacecraft that's good?”
Gene Kranz in Apollo 13
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:50 AM
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ladyjubilee ladyjubilee is offline
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Originally Posted by Dneesy
Went to IEP meeting for 4yr pre adoptive daughter. Although we had already been told she was delayed. Special Ed teacher says she is functioning at 20mos-24mos. Severe Cognitive Delays...

What does this mean for her future? Will she ever catch up enough to be in general education classes? Anyone have their child overcome these issues?

I'll be honest, I think the more relevant question is can you accept her if she doesn't "catch up"? If it turns out the cognitive delays is really cognitive impairment, and she never develops further can you deal?
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:23 AM
ajjhmf ajjhmf is offline
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I think it depends on why the child is delayed. Is it neglect, trauma, brain difference, drug exposure, fasd or what not?

I have 2 special needs boys. Both with delays in multiple areas including cognitive, emotional, social and developmental areas. Both caused by very different things so the prognosis is different.

My youngest, bio, was born with fluid in his ears so he did not hear until he was 9mo. This messed with his sensory system, speech development and over all development. His prognosis is great though. He's caught up in all but a couple of areas and will likely enter kindergarten as a typical kid in the fall of 2012. There is no reason to believe that he won't completely overcome his delays. Our only long term concern is the link between delayed speech and LD, but we're just keeping an eye on that.

My oldest, adopted, delay's were caused by all of the above, trauma, neglect, exposure and so on. He's "caught up" by testing standards before, but always falls behind again. So, we did a neuropsych eval a couple years ago and we were told that J would continue to develop and grow but at a slower rate than his peers. We were told we should prepare ourselves for a longer transition to adulthood. He may eventually catch up in some areas, but it will take some time. He's been diagnosed as PDD-NOS and also has prenatal drug/alcohol exposures.

He was 4 at placement and I did truly believe at the time that he would catch up with a little time and a lot of love. But since then I've learned so much more about brain development and how its affected by trauma, neglect and so on. I did have to grieve for the loss of my dream of him being "normal" someday, but then I got down to learning how to parent him the way he needed.

So, the long winded answer to your question is yes and no. It's not something that can be predicted until you know the child so much better.
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