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Need Some Encouragement?

February 2, 2012

With Hope in school, and in a lull before my next work project, I picked up the next two books on my reading list. After the first one I needed some encouragement. It is really important. Really sobering. Maybe you noticed I’ve been preaching to my heart a lot this week.

I was not expecting the second book, Post and Forbes’ Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control to be encouraging. In fact I was feeling pessimistic about whether in kids with FASD, severe behaviors respond to attachment work.

An interesting chapter explaining which areas of the brain control which behaviors began just as I expected: “…development closes by eighteen months… development closes by thirty-six months.”

My discouraged heart whispered, “Great. She’s already seven. Those windows of opportunity closed before we even knew her prenatal exposure was significant.”

Then I read this: Orbito-frontal cortex…the executive control center for all our social and emotional functioning… the key area in both infant attachment and emotional regulation… does not complete its development until well into the twenty-fifth year of life… [T]his area of the brain is one of the few areas of the brain that remains open to influence throughout the lifespan.” (p. 16)

God created the human brain and he wired one of the most significant parts of it (significant measured by the power of emotional dysregulation to disrupt and to harm) to stay amenable to development for twenty five years –and possibly beyond.

I’m not leaping from this fact to “attachment therapy equals healing!” Healing is something only God can do. But doesn’t it make sense that our exposed kids would continue to wrestle with attachment issues on an infantile level long beyond their neuro-typical peers? And with the very slow rate at which they mature emotionally, isn’t it good to know we have a couple of decades to work on it?  I think so!

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