When Logan Hatch struggled with his reading skills in first grade, his parents Angelique and Daniel Hatch took him to a place they trusted – the M Health Fairview Adoption Medicine Clinic.
Logan, like several of his siblings, is adopted. For years, the Hatch family has relied on the clinic’s team – including Adoption Medicine Physician Judy Eckerle, MD, and Neonatologist Dana Johnson, MD, for expert care. The clinic was founded in 1986 and remains a global leader in adoption medicine.
They didn’t know it at the time, but the help Logan received through the clinic would not only enable him to become a successful student, but also an Olympic-level wrestler.
After initial testing at the Adoption Medicine Clinic, Logan was referred to Pediatric Neuropsychologist Christopher Boys, PhD, LP, who focuses on assessment and treatment of learning disorders and other neurodevelopmental issues. Boys diagnosed Logan with dyslexia.
Boys worked with Logan and the Hatch family to develop a long-term reading strategy. Together, they also crafted an individual education plan that would help Logan throughout elementary, middle, and high school – and beyond.
“As a parent, it was so cool to watch Logan and Dr. Boys work together,” Angelique said. “Dr. Boys understands Logan on such a level. I could see the light bulb go off with Logan when Dr. Boys would explain things to him.”
But Boys didn’t stop there. He went deeper, working with Logan to help him understand his own thinking process.
“Neuropsychologists think about brain function and development, and through assessments over the years, we evaluate a patient’s strengths and weaknesses, language development, overall IQ, and more,” Boys said.
Once the evaluation is complete, Boys and others work with the patient – in this case Logan – to help understand how different things, like working memory or processing speed, play out in each person’s brain. No two minds are alike, and this customized approach equips each person with the tools needed to overcome any unique challenges.
“When we went through all of the testing, Dr. Boys was able to explain every little thing to me, and I thought it was crazy because I didn’t realize what I was doing until he described it,” Logan said. “Dr. Boys was able to explain to me how my brain works.”
Logan began wrestling in fourth grade, and in middle school and high school began racking up an impressive list of state tournament awards. He has trained in Serbia, Belarus, Austria, Croatia, Sweden, and Spain. In 2016, he was invited to compete in Spain for Team USA, where he won a gold medal as a Cadet wrestler. In 2019, he was honored as with All-American status at the Fargo Nationals, the largest Greco-Roman tournament in the United States.
Now age 19, Logan goes to school part-time at University of Colorado – Colorado Springs and trains full-time at the Team USA Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He attributes some of his success to the help he received through the Adoption Medicine Clinic and his work with Chris Boys, PhD, LP.
“Understanding how I think and knowing how I organize my thoughts is one of the biggest things that has helped me, whether I’m in practice or at school,” Logan said.
“Dr. Boys helped Logan figure out his strengths, instead of focusing on his disability,” Angelique said. “We are so grateful for the expertise and connection that those two have; that’s not something you get everywhere.”
Adoption Medicine Physician Judy Eckerle, MD, agrees. The M Health Fairview Adoption Medicine Clinic she directs is one of the last remaining adoption medicine clinics in the world, and its multi-disciplinary approach includes social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists and other experts able to address a family or child’s specific needs. In 2018, the clinic received a $1.7 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services, which allowed the program to expand its care to more families.
“We care so deeply about the families we see. Almost all of the people who work at our clinic have a connection to adoption, foster care, or early childhood trauma,” Eckerle said. “We take a collaborative team approach to make sure we cover all aspects of the child’s needs and optimize care from every angle we possibly can.”