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Therefore, post-institutionalized children are particularly vulnerable to sensory integration problems. Amidst the excitement that accompanies the arrival of a new child, such problems may not be apparent immediately after adoption. Growth delays and medical concerns may be paramount. However, identification of sensory integration problems in new arrivals allows interventions that smooth the transition to the new adoptive home and may prevent future problems. The following list contains some questions the adoptive parents should be aware of to discuss with their pediatrician:

  • Does the baby like to be held? Does she mold her body into yours comfortably (tactile)?
  • Is the baby comfortable being moved (or moving herself from one position to another? Does she seem upset when laid back for a diaper change or to be dressed? (proprioception)
  • Does the baby avoid interactions with others? (adaptive motor)
  • Does she initiate play? Does she touch and explore toys? Does she avoid certain types of toys (fluffy, slippery, noisy)? (adaptive motor, tactile)
  • Does she mouth toys or avoid mouthing toys? (tactile)
  • Does she use only her fingertips to manipulate a toy? (tactile)
  • Does she tolerate walking on different textures (carpet, grass, wood floor)? (tactile)
  • Does she use both hands together and work across her midline? (adaptive motor)
  • Does she tolerate textured foods? Does she chew? (tactile)
  • Does she 'tune out' if more than one stimulus is presented? (regulatory)
  • Does she sleep through the night? Does she have trouble soothing herself at night or after being upset? (regulatory)


From THE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION MEDICINE by Laurie C. Miller. © 2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Used by Permission.


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