My 6 yr old does this deer in the headlights look and will not speak any time she feels like she is in trouble, is caught lying, or just doesn't feel like talking.
This morning it was just us playing outside and I said "So, what do you want for lunch today?..."Should we make soup or grilled cheese or both? answer, eyes pointed up and out as if starring at the sky, fingers in her mouth and sort of rocking her knee back and forth. It looks very wierd. I ask her to look at me and she will shift her eyes towards me but it is like she is starring through me. It kind of freaks me out sometimes.
I try reassuring her that I am not mad in any way. That I am just talking to her and I would like her to answer me and she will not be in trouble if I don't like her answer. I have been at this for 1 1/2 years and still no progress.
Is this dissociating?
Is she doing it to keep control of the situation?
Why would she feel the need to "go off to another place" when all I asked is "What should we have for lunch?"
The only thing I could figure is that she was not wanting to eat and knew that was not an option. She has major food issues. Maybe she was afraid I was going to make her eat??
I don't know :confused: :confused: :confused:
She also does this when people talk to her in public like at church or the store. It could even be someone she has known for a long time and has talked to very openly before.
She has done this when we see her friends from school at the park. One girl was in her class all year long and ran up to her at the park and DD refused to even look at her!
How will she ever have friends?
I have talked to her very openly about how hard it will be for her to have friends if she ignores them this way and that teachers will become very frustrated with her if they ask a simple question and she refuses to answer. I ask what she thinks about that and she starts the blank stare thing again!:hissy:
I am really at a loss on this one. Hug her? Ignore her back? Give consequences?
Is this part of attatchment disorder?
Oh and I wanted to add that pushing it and trying to "make" her talk just results in very loud crying. This has been my hubby's approach. (Telling her she can get out of bed when she is ready to answer the question-she will either stay there all night or we will have hours of sob fest and still no answer to the ?)
My eldest does this also. K has been with me for three years. K has PTSD MAJOR ANXIETY! It rules life right now. We have been in therapy for three years and have tried many meds. I too wonder if it is a processing thing sometimes, I think it is both, K cannot process fast enough, then freaks and freezes. Will stay frozen forever if you just sit and stare. It is immensely frustrating! K is seven and it does effect friendships and school. We are switching to a new therapist soon, so hopefully we will move forward, (I like our therapist now, but she has done all she can do.)
Thank you for your understanding. I feel bad sometimes that I get so frustrated and I feel bad that I cannot figure out what is going on in her head. It is sooo hard to find help sometimes. Someone who really listens and has knowledge to share with me as the parent that has to deal with this all through the week!!
No we cannot afford to pay ourselves. It is expensive, my DH is a teacher and I just quit my job to stay home because my kids were needing more than I could give them while working full time. I am going to push for more sessions though. It is in our subsidy agreement so they need to step up and provide what they promised us.
Hey foreverkids, I have noticed this behavior in some children who have ADHD. Then I have also had experience with this behavior with my eldest bio son. he is 37 now, but when he was in second grade, his teacher noticed that at times she would ask him a question and he would just be staring and freeze up. Then she would re-ask the question and he acted like he never heard her, or he would become upset. But she had seen this before on another child and brought it to my attention. She told me he looked like he had petty mal seizures and she told me that I should talk with his pediatrician. Sure enough after extensive tests, eeg and all, he was diagnosed with Petty mal seizures, put on medication, and he is very productive today at 37. Can't hurt to check it out.
My 2 year old does this as well. He just shuts down or he will repeat everything that I say. In my experience with him I think that it is a defense move. Now how do we get him to stop doing this?
On what horselover said, my K has been to the nurologist twice, they have not seen any irregularities. The doctor said it is a way of disassociating. But, yes do get it checked out just in case!!
And I know what you mean about finding somone who understands. One therapist said that I should not pose anything as direct questions as a solution. :confused: How in the world do you get through life without questions?! K is supposed to start therapy soon with someone who specializes in PTSD in traumatized kids (if we can ever get the paperwork worked out, I totally understand what you mean about not being able to self pay, I also had to cut hours to give my children what attention they need.) Good luck, and knowing that there are others in my shoes helps somehow, I hope it helps you too!
Edited to fix a mistake!
Thank you all for your ideas. I feel like this is something I need an answer to before I can ever figure out how to handle it.
Right now I am overwhelmed with information. It seems that my kids fit every dx known to man!!:eek:
FAS, ADHD, PTSD, SPD, attatchment disorder, anxiety, OCD, and eating disorder...and siezures, well that is something that has not been ruled out for sure.
So, I guess I will call the therapist and have her come talk with B about this to see if she can get any response from her. When I ask why she does this she just shrugs her shoulders so I think I need some outside help with this one!
My 2 year old does this as well. He just shuts down or he will repeat everything that I say. In my experience with him I think that it is a defense move. Now how do we get him to stop doing this?
My son did this at 2 at well. The repeating was his way of letting us know that he "heard" us, but he couldn't do anymore than that... he couldn't answer, comprehend, or even process any more than the fact that someone was speaking to him. He still does this when we give him new information (now 6). We have to go over it more than once because we know the first time it is hitting his wall of fear, the next one might get through a bit, but usually the third time works now. This isn't regarding hard information, I mean anything we had to say to him...
It was very frustrating, but time helped and knowing that this is just how his brain works helps too. The staring/ spacing out has significantly decreased after attachment parenting and cessation of visitation.
For us, it took a lot of going backward to find his triggers, it could be anything, and once you trip one then you are on a collision course for the rest of the day. We had to learn the triggers, then learn how to avoid them and/or prepare him for them. It takes a ton of time and effort, but it can be minimized. For us, the trauma will never go away, we just learned how to help him deal with it better.
Some of the more common triggers here: raising your voice, tone of voice, a slamming door, any sudden noise, sirens, TV, toys with flashing lights, darkness, food.
Good Luck!
When Bubba gets caught at something--usually a lie--his first response is ALWAYS to open his hands facing out, extend both index fingers, and put them into his mouth. He then starts the blank stare. For him, it's a pure defensive posture. It feels like he reverts to his non-verbal self. We get this reaction regardless of our response to him.
He's officially diagnosed with ADHD and depression. He also tics. He also fits the profile for PTSD and RAD although his p-doc simply won't write that down anywhere except on a single hand-written note to the cw. And that note is nowhere in his case file. Sigh.
I'm guessing from the number of responses here that this is pretty common in our kids. If they don't know what to do, then they "go baby" for awhile in the hopes that nothing bad will happen. What I do whenever Bubba gets stuck there is to repeat what I've said and then voice a response for him. It would be something like, "Okay, so we know that this is not true. Right? That's right! So, how did the boat go down the toilet? Yes, that's right, you put it in there to see it go around." Of course, I'm speaking softly and nodding my head. The head nodding usually gets him to nod as well. Once we're in agreement, he usually gets unstuck and can tell me whatever else he needs to.
Some kids with seizures just 'space out' until the progress to grand mal seizures so your therapist will likely recommend a neuro consult just to be safe.
My daughter has PTSD and dissociates. When it happens she goes 'blank' then starts freaking out and lashing out. This has improved tremendously with therapy. PTSD is not something you recover from but it can be managed with a good therapist. The goal is to convert memories that take over the person to 'regular' memories but no one can guarantee success. The mind is a strange thing.
My daughter does the same thing. She's been diagnosed with PTSD. She was diagnosed when she was 3.5. She 'spaces out' and the therapist believes she is disassociating. She said when my daughter does this to calmly talk to her to get her attention, to bring her back to us. Do not let her just 'be' because whatever she is thinking of isn't healthy for her. The therapist also said that something as simple as a smell, a sound can set them off. So you asking for lunch may have had NOTHING to do with it. Something was running through her mind at the same time you asked. We are, however, having her checked out by a nero. to make sure there aren't seizures or something else going on with her. It is very frustrating because you don't know what's going on in her head, what set her off so it's difficult to prevent. With PTSD you figure out what may provoke a reaction, however with this you may never know. I would continue to make sure she knows she's safe, where she is, that you are there and just be as calm as you can with her about it. After one of these episodes, our daughter attention seeks, acts out, is quick to cry and sometimes self injures herself. These are also the same reactions we see after contact with her first parents.
Good luck to you. I'd like to have soup and grilled cheese for lunch....:love:
One technique I use is "I wonder" statements, instead of questions. As in, "I wonder how that got there?" "I wonder how that made you feel?" Sounds silly, but it seems to work. Also, active listening, with a lot of repetition, instead of clarifying questions. As in, "You had a really good time in P.E." Pause and wait for response. Instead of, "What was fun about it?" When I remember, this works great.
That seems like an easy thing to try. She loves to feel like she is helping, so maybe "I wonder what B is wanting for lunch?" would make her feel like "Oh, I can answer that one for you!"
My DH thinks that she is using this to keep control like she does the eating thing. "You can't make me eat...You can't make me talk if I don't want to." and to get attention (because everyone stops what they are doing to try and get her to talk)
So, tonight we agreed that we will try very softly telling her "I see that you don't feel like talking right now, you can just sit over there until you feel better." That will take all the control away and not feed into the attention seeking if that truely is what is going on.
If this gets better, then we know my DH was right.:eyebrows:
I did schedule with the therapist too. I want her take on this.
I am thinking that siezures and PTSD can probably be ruled out because she does this at pretty predictable times. I don't ever catch her just starring like that randomly. It is always when someone is speaking directly to her. My gut says that she was not ready to eat lunch and so she decided to tune me out and not answer. She may have thought that she was in trouble because she always seems to think she is being "fused at". I am the most quiet, mild mannered person on the planet and she still thinks I am mad at her.
kx I am so glad to hear you say "after visitation cessation". most of the cases I have noticed a lot of behaviors seem to correct themselves when they no longer get visitation. I think it has to do a lot with memory recall. You can get memory recall just smelling an odor if something happened at the time you smelled the odor before.
ya know 1000, I think we have soooo many babies born drug addicted or exposed, that the judges should give these moms (and dads for that matter), time behind bars for "contributing to the deliquency of a minor, wanton endangerment, (give me some time and I'll think of more)". This is sooo done without the baby's permission. It seems that removing the children in most cases is not enough, IF the parents straighten out temporarily, the kids are usually seen back in foster care later. So...people may say, heck we will need a lot of jails. So.....we have a lot of foster kids.... who are suffering from everything from RAD to PTSD, Brain Damage (all this cost money obviously), personally I rather spend it on the parents jail-time then for the poor child's counseling. After all its' the parents who put the substance in the child. These poor kids don't deserve the physical, and emotional life long pain for some "pleasure" the parent decided for them.
If it helps, we have been able to get our FD 'back' when she 'disappears' and before the lashing out begins. First, we don't touch her as touch is a trigger for her. We tell her who we are and where she is. Sounds silly but I tell her "Honey, it's mommy. You're at home with me and Daddy and M and (dogs names)."
Then we orient her by asking her to touch something. Trailing her fingers along the wall works well. Once she's reoriented she's confused and sad but she's 'present' again if you know what I mean. When she's 'gone' she isn't seeing us or her home, (or her teacher and school), she's seeing images from the past and she is really there in her mind. Directing her back into the present has worked wonders for us (along with a LOT of therapy) but obviously may not work for all kids.
My 2 year old does this as well. He just shuts down or he will repeat everything that I say. In my experience with him I think that it is a defense move. Now how do we get him to stop doing this?
You probably know this by now. More than likely he has Autism Spectrum Disorder.