Welcome skeemi!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by smallworld, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Skeemi, I've pasted your post into its own thread so it's sure to be seen and our members can welcome you and offer their advice:

    "Hello Everyone, I have been reading all of the posts and find myself in good company. Although my situation is not as severe as others that I have read, I can absolutely empathize with how each of you have felt at one point or another.

    I have a 4 yr old daughter who was diagnosted with PTSD and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) last October 2007 and have been in therapy since then. It has been, to say the least, an intense emotional rollercoaster ride. Funny though, my daughter has always been well behaved, she just did not show any interest in me, nor did we have any bond since she was born. It wasn't until I sought treatment that the real "excitement" began.

    It was not easy for me to get pregnant and after a cycle of invitro she was conceived. My pregnacy was a dream until the seventh month when I was diagnosed with Cholestasis of the Pregnancy which was the heightening of bilirubin levels in the system that make you itch like crazy 24 hours a day. Because of this I was put on medications and then told that I would have to be watched closely because many of these babies are stillborn. NOT WHAT I WANTED TO HEAR. Thankfully, she was born a bit premature, but fine. After she was born, she was not gaining weight consistantly, but losing ounces daily. She was at the dr every other day to get weighed and finally they had decided that she was failing to thrive even though her appetite was more than healthy. They found at 3 weeks that she had a kidney problem and started a series of tests to see how severe it was. One test in particular was one where they would catheterize her to inject solution which was done strapped down and no sedation. Not pleasant. This is where I think my journey began.

    I think that I held her 24 hours a day since the day she came home and probably almost invaded her space more that I should have because I was so happy to have had her. But she was a little strange. I had read a lot about how babies stare into your eyes during feedings and how they react to your voice and she did none of that. She would just stare blankly. The older she got the more she pushed me away. At every mommy and me class we went to, she was the only child who would find another lap to sit in, she never wanted to be with me. When she began to walk and we would go to the supermarket, she would go over to another woman and grab her hand and say, bye mommy!!! This was extremely heartbreaking. I loved her so much that I began to dislike her for rejecting me and then felt riddled with guilt because of even thinking it. I was jealous of everyone and everything she gave attention to. She began to act out a little bit but just with me. She was great with everyone else. She would fight with me for everything and every time I touched her she would scream in pain like I was killing her. This was not normal. I couldn't hug her or kiss her, at times even look at her because it would set her off. I never heard the words I love you come from her mouth in those days.

    I began searching for an answer to why she was like that. Therapists said that it was just her personality and to accept her the way she is. That was not good enough for me until I found an article online about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and then and found myself a wonderful attachment therapist.

    Since then we have made little progress but now she is at least a bit affectionate and I get an I love you everyday. Whether she means it or not remains to be seen but in my mind I want to believe her.

    We have had many many horrific moments with her and some really good ones too. But our work has just begun and I would love to hear from someone who has a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) child so that I can hear what techniques work or don't work for them.

    Thanks for listening."
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Please read the whole thing as I think you could be getting some VERY bad advice. This is totally up to you, but I don't believe she necessarily has Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and seeing an attachment therapist right now in my opinion is not the first thing to try. An attachment therapist isn't going to know, or be able to tell, if anything ELSE is going on that may be causing her detachment, and in my opinion it's best not to rush into that until you left no stone unturned. You held this child nonstop--that does NOT give kids attachment disorder.
    I'm totally surprised that they have not suggested high-functioning autistic spectrum disorder. People with mood disorders in the family have a higher rate of children on the autism spectrum and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) makes no sense in the case of your daughter. But Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) does. These kids don't make eye contact (a classic symptom), don't like to be held (often), and treat people more as objects. This is not the case with all Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids, but in so many. I read once that many Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids are misdiagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I would most definitely go for an evaluation at a neuropsychologist. I don't know who diagnosed her, but I personally would think the diagnosis was "iffy" and I'd want second and third opinions from more credentialed professionals. She had a hard birth, and that can also contribute to autistic spectrum disorder. Is she in any early interventions? Does she have sensitivities to sound, food, textures, light, anything? Yikes. I"d have her evaluated by a neuropsychologist, like, YESTERDAY. I am absolutely astonished that nobody told you to look into this. To me it seems like the obvious first thing to look into and, no, pediatricians can't tell by just watching her--it is hard to diagnose, which is why I suggested a neuropsychologist. Attachment therapy would traumatize a child who is on the Spectrum. Please make sure you are positive of the devil you are dealing with.
    Good luck :) Welcome!
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Skeemi, nice to meet you.
    Frankly, I've never heard a story quite like yours b4.
    You and your little one have been through so much.
    MM has given you much food for thought.
    Are you having good progress with-her therapist? What has changed since you've been going?
    Is she on any medications?
    Sorry I'm not very helpful. Just wanted to add my hello.
  4. skeemi

    skeemi New Member

    Thanks for the warm welcome and for the advice. I have already called to make an appointment to have her tested for something else but she does not have any of the traits of autism. She is completely fine with everyone else except me. I have since had another child who is 2 now and 4 yr old is mostly loving to her.

    She does, however, have a lot of the traits of a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) child, toward me. Outside of the home she always displays good behavior and is mostly respectful of others. Again, she is still a "baby" and also displays normal behaviors that all other children her age do.

    My husband had brought up the fact that he thinks that the medications from doing the invitro may have had some affect on her. Even the therapist had suggested that the medications that I was taking for the Cholestasis may have had some affect on her as well. I think that it was the series of tests for her kidneys over the first two years of her life that did us in.

    She goes to school and does very well both academically and socially. She is attentive and participates in class activities. She follows direction very well, with her teachers, of course.

    As far as her progress, before therapy she would tantrum at least 10 times a day. The tantrums have become significantly less lately although there are times when she kind of relapses and will tantrum excessively over the course of a couple of days and then she calms down. And don't get me wrong, when she rages, it is quite the production. She never showed me any affection and now she lets me hug her and kiss her and she says I love you often. I have to be happy with that for now.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I had a long post almost finished, when I kicked out the power lead for the computer!

    Oh, well...

    Skeemi, you wrote (in the post that smallworld pasted here), "I think that I held her 24 hours a day since the day she came home and probably almost invaded her space more that I should have because I was so happy to have had her."

    I did the same thing with difficult child 3 - because I could, and because I needed to for myself, since I was dealing with my own PTSD from a number of issues including a traumatic delivery. And I do not think difficult child 3 has any problems as a result of this. As long as you were not forcing your child to be held when she didn't want to, I doubt that you caused her harm by holding her. It is a natural thing to do.

    However, a number of things in your description were ringing bells with me, making me think of various forms of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) especially Asperger's or high-functioning autism, even before I read MWM's post. The aloofness; the almost rejection of you and preferrring others (including total strangers). easy child 2/difficult child 2 would run from me and run to strangers, usually male, mostly with facial hair. There were even times when a bearded man would look at me suspiciously, asking why this golden-haired child was running away from this harassing woman.

    There are always reasons for what our kids do, but sometimes they are not the reasons we expect. When difficult child 1 was scared of animals (to the point of sheer hysterical terror at a kitten on the other side of the road looking as if it was about to cross to our side) then people said that he must have had a nasty experience which frightened him. But he hadn't. We never did find out why he was afraid. There were other things which also frightened him - again, no reason was ever found. He was too young to tell us.

    In my earlier (and lost) post I was describing a lot of similar things we observed in all three of our younger kids. But I won't go into that detail now, unless you ask me to, because I could go on and on. Let's just say that the apparent rejection you describe, the blank stare, the lack of reaction to your voice, the running to total strangers etc - it is all familiar. With difficult child 3, he wouldn't come when called but would wander off because he was so self-sufficient as well as totally oblivious to family connections and bonding. I felt that my kids only needed me for feeding, and that was all. Even easy child (allegedly a easy child) would allow me to cuddle her only when being breastfed. As soon as SHE decided she was finished, she would push away from me to get down on the floor - there were a lot of things happening in the world and she begrudged the time it took her to get nourishment. I had no purpose for her except to provide milk. And that is my easy child!

    Mind you, difficult child 1 and easy child 2/difficult child 2 both enjoyed being held and cuddled. difficult child 3 would also happily tolerate being held but HE would push away when he felt enough was enough.

    I thought difficult child 3 was my perfect baby, after having "paid my dues" with the first three. He fed well, he slept well, he rarely cried. He enjoyed being outdoors and loved going for walks, especially looking at trees. I didn't realise at the time, but that extremely early fascination for trees, especially being up very close to them with light flickering behind the trees - I suspect he was stimming, from his 2nd week.

    difficult child 3 was also my child genius, even more than easy child 2/difficult child 2. She didn't seem to really develop as a child genius until she was 2. difficult child 2, on the other hand, was playing piano and using a computer before 12 months of age. We thought it was cute, and funny, the way he would watch a certain TV game show when still a very small baby propped up on pillows on my bed. He would get fretful during the ad breaks, then his attention would be riveted on the TV while the show was on. It was bizarre because this particular game show had no fast-paced visuals, it was just three heads with their score and name under each one. It was amusing to see it, just as you would chuckle to see a photo of a baby sitting on a toilet, holding a newspaper to make it look like the baby was reading.
    But this happened night after night. Every time. Bizarre.

    difficult child 3 is incredibly bright. So is easy child 2/difficult child 2. So are the others, almost certainly. We've been told that siblings are generally within 10 IQ points of one another.

    difficult child 1 is the most withdrawn of my kids, but when he's fired up with friends, or even talking to strangers about something he's keen on, his face will light up and he gets very talkative, very enthusiastic. The others - life of the party. Good eye contact, all of them (although with easy child 2/difficult child 2 and difficult child 1, less eye contact especially when in their teens with people they feel nervous of such as bullying teachers). Doing well academically (especially easy child 2/difficult child 2 and difficult child 3 - easy child was a star pupil, goes without saying).

    All of them were popular at pre-school and school. Lots of friends. difficult child 3 was not so obviously socially inept in Kindergarten, because at that age ALL kids are a bit inept socially. Kids don't play socially until about age 6 or more. That is when the gulf widened for difficult child 3. The other kids - still had friends, still always with others.

    The understanding of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (which includes high-functioning autism and Asperger's as well as other conditions) is sometimes confusing. People get it wrong, often. THis includes alleged experts. difficult child 3's school counsellor actually said to me in a Learning Team meeting, "It's so good his language delay is now gone. And to see him mixing so well in the playground - aren't you glad that he's no longer autistic?"

    Your daughter may well have something entirely different to Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in any form. However, I do think she needs to be checked out for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), thoroughly, and for anything else other than just Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) (which doesn't sound right to me, with your description of the contact between you).

    The tantrums you describe - they could be anything, including Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Certainly we've had them. easy child 2/difficult child 2 is still capable of a tantrum at 21. difficult child 3 is too, but we use "Explosive Child" techniques to keep him managed as best we can.

    You are concerned about medication you took during pregnancy, as well as all the procedures the poor kid had to go through. I don't blame you being concerned. I've wondered for a long time about the medications I was on during my last three pregnancies, to try to prevent miscarriage. I was on double the dosage with difficult child 3, for most of the pregnancy. Could it be a factor? I've been told no, but I'm still sceptical.

    I remember when easy child was about 2 years old and had an attack of what was thought at the time to be pyelitis. She had to have an IVP, which worried me a lot. As it turned out, she sailed through it and was found to have normal kidneys (and not the defective one I had inherited). But that was just one test.

    You also express concern that her behaviour is worst towards you and she's fine with others - this is actually quite common for many of us, across a wide range of disorders. A child who has to struggle to hold things together will work harder for people whose reactions she is more unsure of; she will relax her guard with those she feels safest with. Therefore we often see the kid who has behaved well at school, but who comes home and tears the place apart in a towering rage.

    I have to constantly come to terms with the medications I took while pregnant. But I tell myself - if I hadn't taken the medications, I might not have the kids. It was Hobson's Choice.

    And as the kids have grown older and I see them develop into the wonderful, capable, brilliant human beings they are becoming, I am very glad of their existence. I still am surprised though, because these are MY kids and OF COURSE I think they are wonderful. But people who haven't known them long (or have only just met them) will come up to me and say wonderful things.
    Example: difficult child 3 was at a school study day (he does the vast bulk of his schooling at home, with me, because it is quieter and he can concentrate better - he has ADHD as well as autism). Other kids who go to the same school (ie study away from a mainstream location) are sometimes physically disabled, or in the case of THIS school, are professional dancers or athletes. A few weeks ago difficult child 3 had a Science study day. I was sitting with him and thinking he was not really responding to the lesson at all, apart from the occasional answer, when during a short break one of the professional dancer students spoke to me and said, "difficult child 3 is so smart - what is he like at home? Does he read a lot? Does he do a lot of extra study?" [at home he throws tantrums. No, he doesn't study.]
    We've had similar reactions form teachers who meet him for the first time at these study days. It seems bizarre to me.

    difficult child 3 used to be indifferent to me or to displays of affection. It was mother in law who broke through this by saying to him every time she saw him, "I love you, difficult child 3." So I guess it was only right that mother in law was the first one to whom he ever said, "I love you" in response.

    He's a teenager now. He will accept a hug, he also isn't as inhibited as other teenage boys about hugs, but generally is not demonstrative. If I ask for a hug I will get one, as a rule.

    If your daughter's problems are due to the medications or the treatment, does it help to be able to lay blame? Because what else could you have done?

    I can now also look back in the family, on both sides, and see similarities. So even if medications were involved, I know that there are probably other factors too.

    It could well be the same with you. Who knows what other factors in your daughter, could have all contributed to the sparkling whole that she is?

    I could wish for difficult child 3's autism to be magicked away, but if it were, what would my boy become? WHat would remain?

    difficult child 3 is who and what he is, because of what he has been and what he has been through. His fascination for certain topics is part of his make-up. It is also at least partly connected to his autism. His ability to problem-solve and to concentrate on a number of complex details of various topics - probably also connected to his autism. Even his amazing intellect is probably connected to his autism. So much of him, which I can claim is partly due to upbringing as well, is also connected to autism. His loyalty; his deep emotional responses; his preference for honesty and uprightness - it all connects. And it is all so much valued that I couldn't wish it gone. I l=have to love him and accept him as the complete whole that he is, including his autism.

    We have taught him, and the others, the same. whatever their diagnosis, it is an integral part of them and we love it too, even while we feel frustrated sometimes at the problems that come with it. There are good things and bad things, as with every individual who has strengths and weaknesses.

    So again, Skeemi, welcome. And remember, your daughter is only 4. Many of us have seen diagnosis's come and go a lot, when handed out so early in a child's upbringing.

    It's also possible (happens a lot) for a child to have more than one diagnosis.

    So keep an open mind, maybe consider a multidiscplinary evaluation to confirm/challenge a diagnosis.

    And with those tantrums - read "Explosive Child" and see if you recognise her.

    Good to have you on board!

  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Have to agree, Meg. Also, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids do get better with help and this child is at least getting help. I would want a neuropsychologist evaluation here. There are bells going off in my head that scream "Aspergers." LOL! I could be wrong, but I would want that checked and re-checked. My son made some eye contact too and was friendly to strangers, but hated being held (still does) because of the sensory things. At any rate, I wouldn't come close to ruling it out. I'd look into it more.