P.C. came to us with a variety of conditions, one of which is known as Pain Agnosia. This essentially meant that he had an unbelievable amount of pain tolerance. For instance, he would be running along and fall *splat* on the concrete driveway. Then pop right up and keep running, skinned knees and all, calling “I ‘m okay,” over his shoulder. Initially, we simply thought he was one tough little man. Later we learned he had issues processing sensory input. This was only one symptom, but it was telling.
We learned that it is not uncommon for children who are adopted or fostered to have elevated levels of Cortisol. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, because the body naturally produces it to deal with emergencies.
Fast forward a year and Beautiful and I are in over heads. What worked fantastically for our 4 other children did not work for P.C. Consequently, we started looking for resources. That is when we found Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross of the TCU Institute of Child Development (http://www.child.tcu.edu/research.asp).
We were skeptical, at first, because it was so different from what we knew and what we knew worked. Even so there were elements of it that rang true to our bones, most notably the connection building. We needed to swallow our pride and do what we was best for him.
Fast Forward a few more years and we have a new problem with P.C. He is now extremely pain averse. By that I mean the boy will go to extreme lengths to avoid anything that even looks like it might be painful. I am convinced this is the case because of the different approach to parenting. You see, as we built connections with our little P.C., his stress levels dropped and his cortisol levels with it. The result is that now he feels pain and it is a new, and very unpleasant experience.
Some would look at that pain aversion that he is now exhibiting and see a boy that is digressing. I am grateful for the great counsel of others, and by that, I know better. What appears to be digression is actually healing. Our son, no longer exists in a state of emergency 24×7. Now he is free to enjoy life with all its pleasures, and yes, even its pains.