Autism Question - Behavior Concern

@clownfish (3277)
United States
February 6, 2007 1:59pm CST
Hi! I don't really know how to ask this question, so I'll do the best I can. My little daughter has been diagnosed PDD-NOS. I haven't seen a behavior she does for many months until today. Sometimes when I'm talking to her or giving her directions, she'll just space out. She'll look at me, but she'll have a totally blank look on her face and doesn't respond physically or verbally. After a few seconds of trying to get her attention, she "came back" like nothing happened. A concern about seizure activity was raised. She was tested in October and does not have seizures. Have any of you ever heard of this? Do you have any idea what causes it or what is going on when this happens? I would love to hear any and all input regarding this. Thanks bunches! It's so nice to know there's a well educated autism community here that I can turn to for help! :-)
10 people like this
14 responses
@MrNiceGuy (4147)
• United States
6 Feb 07
It sounds like it could potentially be seizures that aren't the shaking kind. That is exactly what they are like, but if she was tested and does have them... That would be strange for a PDD-NOS, as it is usually with more severely affected individuals or those with autism and other disorders combined. It could just be her tuning you out because of her social/communication problems and she doens't want to hear you.
5 people like this
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
6 Feb 07
Hi! That could be, too! She had a lot of trouble this morning following my directions to get ready for school. I had to tell her several times to get her coat, put her shoes on, etc. I know she doesn't do it on purpose. I wish I was better at recognizing it when it's happening instead of after the fact. Thanks for your ideas. :-)
4 people like this
@villageanne (8554)
• United States
6 Feb 07
I have never heard of PDD-NOS but I did know a teenager who spaced out like you just decripted. She was diagnosed with a form of seisures though. Good luck in find out what the problem is. You must be terrified. I know I would be if it were my child.
4 people like this
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
6 Feb 07
Thanks for your kinds words, Anne! PDD-NOS stands for Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. It's still on the autistic spectrum but is not as serious or severe. The reason she has a developmental disorder is because she stopped talking when she was about 16 months old. She said a few words, then quit. She replaced talking with "mmmm mmmmmm" sounds. That's when our family doctor alerted us to the possibility of autism. She has a very good outlook ahead of her and doctors who have evaluated her don't see any major problems ahead, it's just that this behavior is worrisome and scary. :-)
4 people like this
• United States
7 Feb 07
My son attended an IEP preschool for a severe speech disorder and he didn't understand directions when he first attended. I used to get so frustrated. The teacher suggested breaking the directions down. Something like put your coat on could be broken down into a bunch of steps. It sounds silly or so much harder for us. Or telling her to get in her car seat would be. Get in the car, sweetie. Now hop up onto your seat so mommy can fasten you in. Or asking them to pick something up. Would be. Walk over by the chair. Look at your feet. See the book. Pick it up. Now bring it to mommy so we can put it away. They just freeze because it is to hard for them to handle. It is like overload and it is easier to go away. At least in my case it was. My child wasn't ever diagnosed with anything specific but I've often wondered if he had more. He was born 10 weeks early and has always had a speech disorder. He was always behind on his motor skills, following directions. I worked and worked with him and finally got him in the IEP program and it did wonders for him and for me. I'm definitely not saying that following directions is her problem but if you notice that it happens a lot more when you are talking to her or asking her to do something, you could try breaking them down into a lot of steps. It really helped us so much!
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (102595)
• United States
7 Feb 07
This is a very good post, and says what probably needed to be said. Autism spectrum disorders are communication disorders, and what seems obvious, and easy to us can be overwhelming. I do not have an autistic child. I have worked in special ed programs for several years, including at the preschool level. This matches the processes we use with a lot of communication impaired kids. Your daughter is pretty young, she may be easily overwhelmed. I think you have found a lot of good support. Like I said, though, this is a very good post about how to break instructions down.
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
7 Feb 07
Hi! I think you have made a very good point. Most days we don't have trouble getting ready to go to preschool. Perhaps I should have a more definite routine for her to follow, such as getting dressed, then eat lunch, get backpack, get show and tell, put on shoes, put on coat, etc. Maybe if there is a set order she will have less trouble. It's probably my fault, I probably overwhelmed her talking about all the things she needed to do to finish getting ready to go. Thanks for making me think about something that so elemental yet so important for autistic kids! Excellent post! :-)
2 people like this
• Philippines
7 Feb 07
as i have known, kids with autism are hard to catch attention, they have world of their own, but proper care and attention is needed to teach them to interact with others. your child needs special care dear, and she needs it from you, accept her for what she is and give all your love and attention, i know everything will be alright with your daughter,goodluck and happy parenting... salute to all mothers.
3 people like this
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
7 Feb 07
Hi! Thanks for your reply! She has responded very well to developmental preschool and she loves to make things at home. Up until now I have had trouble getting her to read with me. Now her class starting putting up a paper banana on a tree display for every book each student reads, so that has been an incentive for her. I hope I can keep her interested in reading! :-)
2 people like this
@sylviekitty (2083)
• United States
7 Feb 07
My son does this, but has never been tested for seizure disorders. I had thought maybe they could be Petit Mal seizures, but at this point the doctor at the Autism clinic doesn't seem too concerned about his behavior. And almost every single test he's had at his clinic has come back negative or normal, so I have a pretty typical kid, so far as I know. (keeping my fingers crossed) I think we all space out from time to time, and so I try not to worry about it too much. I do hope it's not seizures, and I will keep an eye on it.
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
7 Feb 07
Hi! Thanks for the reply! Since she hasn't done it in about 9 or 10 months, I'm not thinking seizures. Unless - and here's a scary thought, it has happened and I haven't recognized it???? I don't think so. Her teacher said she was fine at school and she's been fine since she's been home. Perhaps making the transition to sleeping in her own bed is affecting her a bit. :-)
2 people like this
• Canada
6 Feb 07
My son does that too. I remember when he was about 3, the doctor saying it could be absence seizures, but like you, we were tested and there was no seizure activity at all. We believe that it is his way of steppign back a bit when he feels overwhelmed. The situtaion you described - your daughter getting into the car - seems minor but could easily have overwhelmed her. There is the transition from the library to outside, then the transition from the outside to the car, then the different noise of outside, and trying to process your request at the same time. That's a lot going on, and she may have just needed some space. That's what our guy is like- it's kind of a retreat. With infants, when you are playing, they make eye contact and giggle at you ... but the first sign that they are getting overstimilated is when they look away ... I think this is just our kids way of 'looking away' by looking inside.
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
7 Feb 07
Hi! I think that makes a lot of sense. She did sleep all night in her bed by herself for the first time in a long time last night. Maybe the transition is overwhelming her a bit. Since she probably needs the security of being with me, I'm not very strict about her staying in her own bed, at least not while she's in preschool. Thanks for your input! :-)
2 people like this
• India
7 Feb 07
PDD-NOS is a neurogical disorder, and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Sometimes this diagnosis is given to very young children with limited communication skills who also show characteristics of autism. As the child's communication skills increases, other symptoms of autism may become more apparent. No two individuals diagnosed with PDD-NOS are alike. however, have some common characteristics: 1. Deficits in social behaviour. 2. Uneven skill development (strengths in some areas and delay in others) 3. Difficulty with changes in environment 4. Poorly developed speech and language comprehension & skills 5. Uncommon response to taste, sight, sound, smell and touch 6. Unusual likes and dislikes. The causes of PDD-NOS are still unknown. Medical community believe that the disability's origin is genetic and/or biological and affects brain function. [there are no factors in a child's upbringing that are responsible for PDD-NOS. Parents do not cause PDD-NOS] Treatment includes: 1. An early and accurate diagnosis 2. Specialized and intensive intervention, which may include educational, behavioral, occupational and speech therapy. I would suggest you to check more about this disability and take an opinion from the CARD (Centre for Autism and Related Disabilities) in Florida.
2 people like this
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
7 Feb 07
Hi! Thanks for your response. Right now we are doing everything that is available for our daughter. :-)
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Feb 07
My sister has slight autism. She outgrew some of it but still doesnt talk, wears diapers, eats baby food mostly and will be 21 in September. She has other things wrong too and is mentally only 3 yrs old. I did a report on autism for school a few years ago and my sister had a lot of the signs. I hope your child turns out okay. If not, there a lot of great support out there. I love my sister despite the fact she will never be normal.
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
7 Feb 07
Hi! Thanks for sharing your story. My daughter is doing quite well. We aren't nearly as worried about her as we used to be. She is overcoming quite a few of her autistic traits. She rarely lines things up anymore and doesn't repeat things as much as she used to. I'm glad your sister has you to love her! It's great that she has such a loving, supportive family! :-)
1 person likes this
@albert2412 (1782)
• United States
7 Feb 07
I do not care what the tests came back, I still believe your daughter has seizures. I had the same kind of seizures when I was a child. If you really want to find help for your child I would suggest that you go to the web site for the Autism Research Institute. They have worlds of information about autism there. Also, you might very well consider joining the Yahoo group Autism Mercury. There are a lot of children who are no longer on the autism spectrum because of research done by people connected to these two web sites. There are a lot of parents and scientists who are doing great work on autism. My son is much improved by using the biomedical approach. We are chelating him and giving him supplements and he has greadually gotten better, but not yet well.
2 people like this
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
7 Feb 07
Hi! Thanks for the links. I'm looking forward to digging and reading more. :-)
2 people like this
@moirax23 (317)
• Malta
7 Feb 07
I know a child who is autistic, she is now 11 and started saying a few words last year. She also started to read. She used to have that blank expression on her face when talked to but not anymore! She is now a normal child who just talks differently.
1 person likes this
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
7 Feb 07
Hi! Thanks for sharing such a positive story! :-)
@rainbow (6763)
7 Feb 07
Hi Clownfish, how are you today? It's a big worry isn't it! I know what you mean as Bong does this, when I mentioned it to his special needs pead she didn't seem too concerned, I often have to yell before he realises I'm there waving my hand in front of his face, this can be really strange and I wonder what the effect of me having to do this to get through to him has. He often has bad headaches too, like migraines, which the community pead thinks may be stress induced so we have to go for a scan sometime, he said it may be part of the autism, and the zoning out may be connected but he wants a scan to make sure nothing else is wrong. He said he did not think there was anything serious to consider but I will feel better once a scan date comes through. I know this is not much help but at least you are not alone, I will watch the other responses and see if I can get a clearer view of it. I hope you can get some better ideas what it is and feel calmer about it really soon! hugs R***
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
7 Feb 07
Hi! Thanks, Rainbow! I feel better today because my daughter hasn't done that zoning out thing since yesterday. I really wasn't concerned about it until it resurfaced yesterday. I suppose she could have been overloaded. I know what you mean about having to get their attention. I was looking at her and waving my fingers and saying, "Earth to Linsey, Hello?" and she finally just laughed and moved on like nothing happened. I would like to know what happens with your son's CT scan/MRI, too. I wanted Linsey to have one, but I guess no one felt it was warranted. I'd love to know what they determine. ((hugs))
1 person likes this
@rainbow (6763)
9 Feb 07
Bless you I'm glad you feel a bit better, it can be a bit scary when something re-surfaces. I do think they tend to switch off sometimes. When we finally get an appointment I promise to let you know how Billy gets on, bless him, how did they rule out seizures without a scan? Not sure I understand that, Drs eh?
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
12 Feb 07
Thanks! :-) Well, I can't remember the name of the test, but they sedated her and hooked her up to monitors. Then they flashed a light in front of her. At one point, the light got faster and faster, fast enough to trigger a seizure. She had no reaction to it. I would rather that she had an MRI too, but what do I know? I'm just the consumer! LOL Do let me know about your son! :-)
• Philippines
7 Feb 07
how old is your daughter?my daughter is also diagnosed with very mild autism and im still in the stage of denial.. right now she's undergoing the occupational therapy and speech therapy for 5 months already,i see lot of improvements in her at her age (2years and 11 months old) she memorized the alphabet ,numbers (almost 1-20), shapes and colors..she can write letters like I , T , U , O , S , F , J , L , C. Before she diagnosed with autism, she doesn't have eye contact with the help of her therapist she can say what she wants with one or two words only..don't lose hope...everything has a reasons..good luck
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
7 Feb 07
Hi! My daughter is now 4. She and your daughter sound similar! The early intervention is really the key! Mine was 3 when she started going to developmental preschool. When we met the teacher and took my daughter to show her the classroom, she looked up and started following with her finger and saying, "A..B..C..D.." The teacher was very surprised that my daughter already knew that alphabet. A few weeks ago my daughter wrote a letter to her grandparents - she wrote it by herself, all I did was tell her how to spell the words she wanted to write. It's precious! Your daughter is exhibiting very high intelligence. That's a great thing - and a silver lining that comes with autism. My daughter wasn't great at making eye contact or being affectionate, either. She never really wanted to be held and she was less than a cuddly baby! LOL Now she is getting much better at making eye contact with us and she is far more affectionate than she used to be. Your daughter will be, too. I think that comes with feeling more confident about being able to communicate. Just my opinion, though! Your little one still has so much time to make progress! She'll do great! :-)
• Philippines
7 Feb 07
autism is otherwise a reality no one can ignore. some children with this syndrome often times want to get what they want. if they do not get it, he will hurt himself out of frustrations. he may not cry because of sensitivity to pain. as a parent, there should be a need of urgency to face with this matter. early diagnosis is very important so as to lessen the pain maybe incurred in the future. despite it's condition, if detected early and have been aided with medical help as i have said, it will reduce suffering to both parents and the kids.in one study a child who do not speak at the age of 3 can now speak at 13 because he has given some medical aids by professionals. don't fret over this. i know God gave you this special child because he knows you can take care of her more than others.
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
7 Feb 07
Hi! Thanks for your reply and the kind words! :-)
@judyt00 (3504)
• Canada
7 Feb 07
I think possible momtocryskal has it. I used to work in a day program with autistic and developmentally delayed adults, and often the few with autism would just zone out if it got too loud or they were asked complicated questions. It sounds like your daughter just got over stimulated. Try the one step program with her, it takes longer, but she will be better able to cope, and will eventually be able to take longer instructions. Good luck! It might help if you asked her to look at you before you gave her any instructions as well, so she is focusing on just one thing.
@clownfish (3277)
• United States
7 Feb 07
Hi! I think that could very well be the problem, just sensory overload. With autistics, though, they don't really like to make eye contact, so it's generally recommended that you don't command them to look at you. I do, though, if it is something very serious that I need to tell her and I need her to understand. She is getting much better about being closer to us and being more demonstrative. She wasn't exactly a cuddly baby! :-) Thanks for your response!