Special Needs

Our family has been blessed to adopt children with some unique special needs.  Although I don't blog about them too often (mostly because they're relatively insignificant things in our lives), I want others considering special needs adoption to know that these needs are present in our family.  :o)

Jackson has significant, and I mean significant, ADHD.  After years of working with kids with ADHD, I can tell you that he is about as affected as they come.  It is managed well with medication, environmental adaption, and behavior modification.  He is very bright and does great in school and with friends.

Cora has albinism and has associated nystagmus (involuntary side-to-side movement of the eyes) and low vision.  She is legally blind (20/400) and wears glasses with a small correction for astigmatism and Transitions lenses (because she is very photophobic).  The vision of people with albinism usually can't be fully corrected with glasses.  Cora has a cane, which she hates, and uses an video enlarging screen at school that helps her with some of her schoolwork, but she prefers to hold things very close to her face than to use any assistive technology.  We expect that will change as she gets older, but for now she does pretty well this way.

Sofie had a ventricular-septal defect, which is a hole between the right and left ventricles of the heart.  Her defect closed spontaneously.

Lily is deaf, and uses bilateral cochlear implants.  She received her first implant in China, and she received her second one once she came to our family.  Because she was implanted so late in life (5 1/2 versus infancy), her speech and language is not as good as some of her CI-using peers, but considering how long she's been hearing, she does amazingly well.  She dances and plays the piano and does anything else she decides she wants to do!

Song Guo, our daughter-to-be, has Down syndrome.  Her heart is essentially normal, which is great, and her biggest area of need is with speech and language development.  Having worked as a speech pathologist with kids with DS for many years, this is something I feel pretty comfortable with.  We don't know much about her hearing status, but if she has hearing loss, Curtis will be on it!