Medical Issues

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

 What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?  RAD is a condition in which individuals have difficulty forming loving lasting
relationships.  Let me just tell you…this is HARD.  Seemingly, on the outside, things look great.  However, at home, it is like living in a nightmare.  Sadly, this is a nightmare that you do not wake up from.  Sometimes, it can be manageable.  For instance, medication for moods and sleep can help, sometimes.  However, their body starts building resistance to medications, so trial and error become the norm.

Some General Traits

Often have a nearly complete lack of ability to be genuinely affectionate with others.

Typically fail to develop a conscience and do not seem to trust.

Do not allow people to be in control of them due to this trust issue.

They can be surface compliant for weeks if there is no loving relationship involved.

However, with strangers, they can be extremely charming and appear loving.

Uneducated adults misinterpret this as the child trusting or caring for them. If they cannot trust and love their own family that loves them, they will not trust and love a casual acquaintance.

They do not think and feel like a normal person.

Some famous people with RAD

Hitler

Saddam Hussein

Edgar Alien Poe

Jeffrey Dahmer

Ted Bundy

Helen Keller

Isolated type, Predominant feeling is Sad

1. no friends
2. no touch
3. verbally compliant actually defiant

Evasive type, Predominant feeling is Fear

1. clingy
2. fake
3. charming
4. chatter
5. chameleon

Defiant type, Predominant feeling is Rage

1. cruel
2. charming
3. self-absorbed
4. destructive

Bizarre type

1. act crazy
2. constant noise

Causes

Any of the following conditions occurring to a child under 36 months of age puts a child at high risk for developing RAD:

~Maternal ambivalence toward pregnancy
~In-utero trauma, drugs, alcohol exposure
~Abuse
~Neglect
~Sudden separation from the primary caregiver
~Undiagnosed or painful illness such as colic or ear infections
~Inconsistent or inadequate daycare
~Chronic maternal depression
~Several moves and/or placements
~Unprepared mothers with poor parenting skills

Attachment Disorder Symptoms in Children

Superficially engaging & charming
Lack of eye contact on parents terms
Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers
Not affectionate on parents’ terms
Destructive to self, others, and material things (accident prone)
Cruelty to animals
Lying about the obvious (crazy lying)
Stealing
No impulse controls
Learning Lags
Lack of cause and effect thinking

More Issues

Lack of conscience
Abnormal eating patterns
Poor peer relationships
Preoccupation with fire
Preoccupation with blood & gore
Persistent nonsense questions & chatter
Inappropriately demanding & clingy
Abnormal speech patterns
Triangulation of adults
False allegations of abuse
Presumptive entitlement issues
Parents appear hostile and angry

Attachment Disorder Symptoms in Infants

~Does not use crying appropriately to get someone to address needs
~Often does not settle when needs are met by Mom
~Overreacts or often startles to touch, sound, and/or light
~Listlessness with no medical reason
~Limited holding onto or reaching for a caregiver
~Lack of appropriate stranger anxiety between 6 and 9 months of age
~Shows minimal interest in interacting with people
~Does not smile back or respond with activity to smites or baby talk
~Often does not follow human movement with their eyes
~Avoids eye contact
~Self abusive behavior
~Is resistant to cuddling

Great Quotes

When your brain works right, so can you. When your brain doesn’t work right, neither can you.” Daniel Amen, M.D.

“Experience changes the brain,” Bruce Perry, M.D,

Attachment is at the heart of all human endeavors.” Bruce Perry, M.D.

“Traditional therapy is useless for severely traumatized people, but especially children because it does not reach the parts of the brain that were most impacted by trauma.”  Bessel van der Kolk. M.D.

Complex (reactionary mind/brain stem) Survival mode

Fight – Defensive, tantrums argues, negative
Flight – Runs away, hypervigilant, stress-filled, anxious
Freeze- Shuts down emotions, shuts down learning, disassociates

Talking:

This is the first area that a child must gain self-control to begin the healing process.

Lies
Dumb questions
Unclear Speech
Jabbering
Swearing
Not answering
Why?
Arguing
I don’t know
Not accepting responsibility
Interrupting
Whining

Consequences vs. Punishment

Punishment turns thoughts to the outside of the child.

Consequences turn their thoughts inside.

Dramatic Displays:

Children need to be kept in close until they no longer need an audience to manipulate.

Flipping the bird
Overdramatic
Pity Parties
Fit Throwing
Aggression
Eye Rolling

Excretions:

It is essential that the child be 100% responsible for the clean-up of their own excretions after the age of five.

Urine
Feces
Flatulence
Vomit
Nasal Discharge
Spitting

Food Issues:

On one hand, you can’t make them eat it. On the other hand, you can’t make them stop eating either.  Sadly, they have to learn to control themselves. Honestly, a parent’s obligation as the nurturer is to provide nutritious meals three times a day.

Hiding food
Eating too much
Not eating
Picky eating
Eating rudely
Eating weird things

Friends and Family:

Relationships must begin between the mother and child.  Second, generalize to the father.  Third, to the family.  Fourth, to the community.  Lastly, to the world.

Peer relationships
Siblings rights
Abusing other kids
Setting up
Tattling
Pets

Prescribing the Problem:

When it’s not harmful to the child, pick your battles.  For instance, one avenue of intervention is prescribing the problem.

Chewing clothes
Chewing hands
Thumb sucking
Biting nails, lips, toes
Cracking knuckles
Picking boogers
Picking scabs
Masturbating
Crying wolf
Refusing medication
Nutrition
Allergies

Bedtime Issues:

Children need to sleep 10 to 12 hours a night with no light on. On the other hand, adults need to sleep 8 hours a night with no light on.

Setting alarm off
Not going to bed
Noise at night
Getting them up in the am and dressed

Restitution /Respite/Responsibility

~Restitution for stolen or intentionally stolen items should be double the replacement value of the item.

~It is the child’s responsibility to fill in the hole they dig with their inappropriate behaviors. The way they fill it in is by paying back with their time, their talent, or their energy.

~Stealing
~Running away
~Knives/weapons
~Destroying property
~Sabotaging fun
~Hygiene

From Others Toward Parents:

~Sometimes we have to say No

~No I won’t put my child in harm’s way by giving them freedoms they can’t handle.

~Parenting too tough, Nazis

~Not strict enough

~Munchhausen, Histrionic, Borderline, etc.

~Bad parent

~Don’t like/love child

~Scape-goating child

~Try harder

~Just love him more

Support Ideas

Realize this is a very painful situation. If you are on the Mom’s side, you are on the child’s side. Sadly, if you take the child’s side against the Mom, they both lose.

Equally important, listen with open ears and hearts. For instance, you should not judge, or be critical. Again, condemning, criticizing, or blaming Does Not Help to Lift the burden, don’t load it down.

Make short, loving phone calls (occasionally) to listen and encourage, not to advise, not to gather information, or “check on them”- Tell her she can chat whenever she needs an ear.

Finally, do Not give unasked-for advice.

Take all information as confidential.

It Is very helpful to educate yourself about Attachment Disorder.

**** Do not say just say ‘Let me know if I can help.’  Do something to help.****

Practical Ideas

1. Take her to lunch or dinner.
2. Rent a funny movie and share it.
3. Send her flowers, chocolate, or cards with love and a smile on it.
4. Bring her some dinner or baked goods,
5. Hugs are always heading. Moms need 12 a day minimum.
6. Pray for them.

More Ideas

Run errands to help lessen the load,
Take the kids somewhere for the afternoon. Be sure she knows it’s because she deserves a break and not because she can’t handle it.
Consider giving her a gift certificate for a massage, manicure, or hair salon.
Give her Mozart’s music or some other calming or uplifting tunes.
Give her a good book.
Buy her bubble bath and watch the kids for an hour or so white she soaks to music.
Remind her of her special traits and talents.
Tell the child often, in front of her, how lucky they are to have a mom like this.
Absolutely, never show up without calling to check for an appropriate time to visit.
Never tell her to “Just love the child more”. If you already have, beg forgiveness for not understanding.

Families by Design

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Part 3 Welcome Home

Part 3 Welcome Home

 

Part 3 Welcome Home.  My flesh screams and I’m hanging onto the armrests of my airplane seat.  I refuse to move.  This is my anniversary.  This is our planned TRIP.  We are not moving.  I do not want to stay.  Honestly, I would live in France, if I had to, but guess what?  I don’t have to.  We are traveling, that’s it.  No more, no less.  I sit there, stunned. Unable to move or comprehend what all I’m about to see/smell/witness in this country I have never planned to go to.

What I Envision Versus Reality

The door of the plane opens…we grab our luggage that is packed for France….and we get off the plane.  My first thought is the drabness of the airport.  The busyness of it.  I felt like I needed to wash my hands because so many people were touching me.  They were all speaking in different languages.  I found myself watching their mouths move, trying to read lips or get a nugget of information, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t understand any person or sign.  There was also not a single person who spoke English.  I felt trapped in this foreign country.  There was nowhere, no one to guide me, no vehicle, no home, no food, nothing.

Overstimulated Moment

I picture us grabbing our stuff and trying to find our way out of that blasted, loud, big, busy airport.  There was a moment when I needed air.  Sadly, I was overstimulated by the news and anxious because this was completely out of our control.  Air, I needed to breathe fresh air and take a moment to regroup.  I was thrown into something that was not of my doing.  There were two choices, I could either curl up in a ball and sob or I could find a way through the fear and uncertainty.

Ray of Sunshine

As I processed this news, I felt a ray of sunshine hit my face.  I felt a cool breeze as we walked outside.  In one moment, I opened my eyes and from as far as the east is from the west, there were tulips.  I love tulips.  Honestly, I love the beauty of them, the array of colors, the smells.  Tulips come up every single year without fail.  Far off, in the distance, I saw windmills.  The most gorgeous background, I have ever seen in my life.

Absorbing my Surroundings

As we walk around, absorbing our surroundings, we think about Paris and what we will miss.  The art, the food, the atmosphere……all of our plans, all the cool things we would see….we had to mourn that because we knew, we were “stuck” in Holland.  Don’t get me wrong, Holland is phenomenally gorgeous, it is just where I wanted to be.  I don’t mind a visit, but why must we live there.  We had to mourn not seeing our family, our home, American food, the freedoms we had in America.  There was just a lot to process.

Once our mourning time was done and we settled in to this new life….this new place with all these new sites, new foods, noises, smells.  We began to acclimate to our surroundings and we began to learn about the cultures and the foods.

Holland and Its Beauty

Holland has its own beauty, but it was not what we had originally planned for.  We had to learn to adapt and compensate for the things that we wanted to see in Paris and what we wanted from home.  It wasn’t bad…just different.  It was a change and I’m not one to like change.

I had to learn that I could not “fix” my children…only God could and will do that.  I had to learn to let go of control of what was and begin to love what is.  By mourning, so deeply, the loss of what was going to be a 10-day vacation to Paris, I was losing out on what was surrounding me.

Seeing Things from a Different Perspective

New colors, new foods, new scenery…..I began to love my new home and by loving it, I began to change.  Ironically, I began seeking God more and seeking help for my depression.  Also, I learned that FASD, RAD, Single-Sided Deafness, Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome does not define my children.  Finally, I learned how to love again…I learned how to love my God, my husband, and my children for who they were and not what I “envisioned” them to be.

Be open to change.  Be open to new things.  Stop trying to fix things.  Stop trying to control what you are not meant to control.

Live life and love without abandon.

 

 

Life or Something Like It, Medical Issues

Part 2 Uhm NO

Yesterday, I wrote the FIRST PART to my story…..today, Part 2 Uhm NO continues.

Part 2 Uhm NO

 

Part 2 Uhm NO

Uhm, WHAT??????!!!!!!!!!!!!  Holland?   Uhm, no.  No thank you.   I know nothing and I do not have an itinerary.  Sadly, I do not have a place to stay, I don’t know where to eat, I know nothing.  NOTHING.  I can picture myself asking the stewardess if this is a layover.  How long it will be before we arrive in PARIS, FRANCE.  Then, she says that this is our destination.

Our ticket is one way…..they will be adding our children/pets, onto the plane, over the course of the trip.  This is where we will live out our days until the Lord sees fit to move us somewhere else.  I had planned on staying in France for 10 days, not my life.  I certainly did not plan on LIVING in Holland and what the heck do you mean, you will bring our kids during the flight?????????

When we started creating our family….we had definite plans.

Big Daddy wanted 1 child and I wanted 4.  We compromised on 3.  Our oldest was high strung, motivated, and determined.  She is also super sensitive to bright lights, noises, and does not care for lots of people.  Our second was a pistol.  She was creative, loved animals, told you like it was regardless of if it was appropriate or not.  She has a bit of a lazy streak and wanted things done for her more times than not.  Our third, our only biological son, was an easy baby until he wasn’t.

Noah’s Journey

He was the first to crawl, he babbled, talked, loved eating and then he had his 12 mths shots….life changed.  Maybe that was when we were “packing” to go to Italy.  It was like shades pulled down over his eyes and he stopped talking, he threw lots of fights, he had sensory issues…..it was tough.  Our life was now full of speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.  It was hard.  The Lord guided us and helped us and allowed me to have a great deal of soaked in knowledge….and today, you would never know anything was ever wrong.

So…Victoria, we started planning the trip.  Alyssa, we started saving for the trip.  Then, with Noah, we got on that plane and we headed to Paris, France to see all the things we could see on a 10-day trip.

Then….there was God.

As we were flying, God saw fit to allow 2 more kids to join our crew.  These kids were older, than came from severe trauma physically, mentally, and emotionally…amongst other trauma and He thought it’d be a good idea to have Big Daddy and me to raise them.  It was almost like He threw me into the lion’s den as he did with Daniel.  I was totally unprepared.  Realistically, I thought I could love the FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder), RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder, Behavioral Issues, Dyslexia, Developmental Delays, Food gorging/hoarding/stealing out of them.  Sadly, I wanted to fix them.  Plain and simple.

While I was “trying” to “fix them”…..God showed up again.

This time, it was a brief detour, on our flight, to Ethiopia.  The trip there was ROUGH.  It was full of turbulence and engine problems.  We thought and we were told we would not make it BUT GOD had other plans.  We made it…..instead of a 24 hr flight, it would take us 15 mths to get from where we were (on a plane headed on vacation to Paris) to Ethiopia because He wanted us to add to our dysfunctional crew.  He was another older child and he had malnutrition brain, some behavioral issues, and we came to find out that he was deaf in one ear…not a little bit hearing impaired but deaf.  Again, I could fix this.  I could continue raising all these kids will “fixing” their issues and problems.  I was content, tired, and overwhelmed but content.

But then……..there was God again.

Several years and tears from our first child to our sixth child…..I was sitting on that plane, wishing to be at our destination so I could have some respite and time to breathe.  God decided to be my breath and to breathe for me…He did this in the form of our seventh child….our Zebra.

I thought the stress of trying to fix my FASD, RAD, ADHD, PTSD, Dyslexia, Learning Disabilities, Deafness, Autistic tendencies, Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome, blah blah blah was going to bring me to my knees…..oh, heck no….this little dude came into my life and turned it upside down.  He has taught me so much and he has given me such joy but he also went from a normal little boy to a medically fragile kid in about 4 hrs.  Please hear me say…..I would not change a thing with this little guy.  He brings us such joy and happiness….even in the midst of uncertainty with his health.

Part 3:  Welcome Home.
Life or Something Like It, Medical Issues

Welcome to Holland

 

Welcome to Holland is a poem that I have always loved.  It is a different way to look at things when life does not go as planned.  There are 4 of my 7 children who have special needs.  We have dealt with Dyslexia, learning disabilities, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Sensorineural Hearing Loss, Generalized Epilepsy, Functional Neurological Disorder, and Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome.

WELCOME TO HOLLAND

by
Emily Perl Kingsley.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

Planning a Trip to Italy

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

Discovering You are in Holland

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.

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Living in Reality Versus Fantasy

Living in Reality Versus FantasyLiving in Reality Versus Fantasy

Living in Reality Versus Fantasy is a hard thing to do with most people.  The other night, when I was cooking supper, G came in the kitchen with 2 pages worth of notes that she wanted to discuss.  When she does this….it is exhausting because it is difficult to explain things to her.  She does not process things the way a “normal legged” person would process them.  If you wonder what that statement means, you can go HERE and I have posted on our conversation.

With her FASD, she either A) do not understand what I’m saying B) doesn’t think it applies to her C) doesn’t realize the processes that have to occur C) gets her feelings REALLY hurt.  I don’t, personally, like any of those options.  We have been talking a lot about her future past high school.  She is almost 17 and she is *just* heading into 10th grade, so she is extremely behind.  She caught up, some, while at MILITARY SCHOOL, but still not enough to go into the 10th grade.  Now, this past semester, she has rocked it and I think in January we can advance.

Her Natural Talents and Abilities

G has some natural talents.  She is very personable and can talk to anyone.  Lately, she has been honing her craft in hair, nails, and makeup.  Also, she is good with kids (for the most part) and is tenacious.  She had, at one point, decided to go to cosmetology school.  That would eliminate the need for taking the ACT and she could be successful, have a career, and be able to live on her own (with some guidance).  The last little bit, though, she has declared her intention of pursuing criminal justice.  The things she is interested in (Judge, Federal Marshall, Forensics, etc) is just not in her wheelhouse.

Living in Reality Vs. Fantasy

I did not and do not want to discourage her in any way, but I also do not want her to live in this fantasy world of hers.  She bases all her “knowledge” off of movies, tv shows, and books….not real life and certainly not what is required to accomplish these things.  So, as she named off her choices, I told her that she could go to any college, in KY, for free until she gets her bachelor’s degree….that that would not be a problem BUT in order to get into a 4 yr school (or above), she would have to take the ACT.  That did not register.  Now, for our local trade school or 2 yr school, she can take a compass test.  This type of test just lets the administrators know if she needs to be in more remedial classes or regular classes.  We know we have the option to have an aide (which she DOES NOT want) and the tutoring is free.  I explained to her all the things she could do or would be good at…none of those things mattered because she is so tunnel-visioned that all she can see is a field in Forensics.

Explanation of Reality

In an effort to help her understand, I pulled up an ACT prep site.  I read off the simple grammar questions (what is a colon, what is an apostrophe, what is a pronoun) and she did not know any of the answers.  She was so sad after I went through a few questions and she did not have the answers.  I explained what the ACT test was versus the Compass test and that one had to have a certain score and one was just a placement test.  This did not go over well….so she retreated to her room.  What I did not realize was was that she was in her room, crying.

The Dams Burst Open

I called her back in the dining room to see what the problem was.  She burst open with sadness and anger at her birth mom for drinking while she was pregnant.   Now, G was “reaping” the consequences of it.  I let her go on and I let her cry.  Finally, I answered her questions and then I took the opportunity to talk about crutches.  I told her that I would let her cry for about 5 minutes and grieve the choices her mom made.  In the end, though, she needed to go and wash her face.

Dealing with the Choices of a Birth mom

I explained that she was not going to use her biological mom’s poor choices to dictate her life.  That God gave her things that are easy for her (hair and good with kids).  She is genuinely talented and could be really good if she allowed herself.  Also, I gave her options in the medical field that she could absolutely do and be great at it.

She was not going to use her FASD as a “poor pitiful me” person, but she was going to count it as a strength.  Just because she can’t do something like being a Federal Marshall, doesn’t mean she can’t have a fulfilling and successful life.  I told her about some of my friends who owned their own business and how much they love their job and are so good at it.

Things that Can Help

I told her that there was no shame in having an aide or extra tutoring because that was going to help her go even further without the stresses that college can sometimes bring.  That by looking at her, you can’t even tell that anything is wrong with her, that she can be a success but she has to throw away the crutches, forgive her biological mom and then move on…..there is no reason to run the race of life looking backward.  We only get one shot at life….there are no dress rehearsals.  I asked her if she wanted me to set the timer for her 5-minute pity party and she said that she didn’t need it.  She asked for some help in researching and that is something that we can and will do.

For now, she is at peace.  The enemy will not dictate her life…God has her.  He has a mighty plan for her.  I just get the privilege to sit back and watch from the sidelines.

What is your crutch?
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One Leg Shorter Than the Other Leg

One Leg Shorter Than the Other LegOne Leg Shorter Than the Other Leg is an analogy that I used as I was cooking supper.  G was asking me if I knew of a tattoo cream that could fade unwanted tattoos.  I said yes, but I doubted if they worked.  Most people get them lasered off and that is WAY more painful (so I’ve heard) than actually getting the tattoo.  Then she proceeded to tell me ALL the tattoos she was planning.  I sat, listened, and cooked.  She talked some more.

Tattoos

I am not against tattoos…I have 3 and I’m planning a 4th.  My first tattoo is my life verse.  Isaiah 61:3.  My second is a daisy that my kids each drew a petal and they colored it in with their favorite color.  Bart’s initial is on the bottom.  My third tattoo is Ruth 1:16 in Hebrew because that was the verse that came to me during one of the most difficult times in my marriage.

I always say, by looking at this, it remembers me to stay married LOL.  My fourth will be the symbol for faith, hope, and love with a semicolon.  I put A LOT of time, though, and design into anything I’m going to put on my body.  Flippant is something I am not.  I was over 40 when I got my first one…..so I’m not against them.

Lack of Wisdom in Choices

What I am against is just randomly choosing odd things that have no meaning, no purpose, not even a good design or misspelled words….G wants barbed wire around her wrist.  Barbed Wire.  There are some other insanely ridiculous things she wants.  I have no doubt she will, one day, rather spend her money on a tattoo than food or shelter.  That is just how her brain works.  She also does not feel pain, at all….not even when she cut her toe-off.  She does not feel it.

Good and Bad Choices

I took the opportunity to try to talk to her about choices and her decision-making skills.  This was a hard conversation because I did not want to cause her to have bad memories, which yields bad behaviors.  I did not want her to think I have given up on her because I have not.  It is just tough.

FASD

I found this website The Lifelong Effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Good Parenting Is Not Enough that was written by Deborah Hage.  I scanned through this document, all the while nodding my head.  Then, I asked G to get some paper and a pencil.  She read the article and wrote down what her thoughts were.  Next, she listed what were similar characteristics that she had.  She did what I asked, though 1/2 through, she said she really did not understand what she was reading.  That did not surprise me, so I sat down with her and I broke it down for her.

Normal Legs versus Abnormal Legs

I drew her a stick figure of a person with normal legs…then I drew a stick picture of a person with one normal leg and one that was about 3 inches shorter than the other leg.  I explained to her that I had 2 legs and she had 2 legs.  We could both walk…one walks evenly and one walks sort of wonky.  This is where I drew her brain.  I showed her pictures of brains that were affected with FASD.  They are both brains. They both function.  One brain is regular size and one brain is smaller.  That is due to things that happened that were out of her control.

How am I Walking?

This is where the stick figures come into play.  When she starts thinking about something (walking wonky), ie a boy that shows interest in her (just an example)….all she sees is he loves me he loves me he loves me.  What I see (walking with 2 normal legs) is that he SAYS in love with her, but he is daily beating her, doing drugs, cheating, drinking, etc.  She doesn’t see the bad, she hyper focuses on “he loves me he loves me he loves me.”  That made sense to her.

We talked about her love of tattoos.  She hyper-focuses on the fact that she wants to be seen, be noticeable….so she wants all this art all over her person.  What she doesn’t see is the fact that something is misspelled or the tattoo artist is using dirty needles and she ends up getting sick.  This is how the brain of an FASD person works.

Chronological Age Versus Mental Age

We talked about the things on that list, I linked to above…..how she is physically 16, but she does not think like a 16 yr old and she doesn’t “feel” 16.  She realizes she is immature for her age.  Sadly, she does not have a phone or access to electronics (for a reason).  Also, she does not have her license (per her request).  There are days when she feels more like 13 in some areas.  When she is emotional, that age drops down to about 8.  Then, when she is escalated we are in the 3-4 yr old range in her reactions.  This is typical.

Kids from hard places are normally chronologically an age (16), but mentally they are 1/2 that (8), and when things are bad they are 1/2 the 1/2 (4) that age.  I drew that out and we talked about real experiences she had that supported that.  She wants to be “normal”.  She has a desire to do and reacting like a normal 16 yr old you.  Again, back to the stick figures.

Yes, she will ALWAYS have “one leg shorter than the other” and that will never change BUT she can adapt.  She can make concessions….she can put a “lift” in her shoe.  She can ask questions, privately if it is too embarrassing, and have me explain things in a way that she can understand and she can get have a normal response because, together, we come up with that normal response.

Brain Tracks

I believe a brain can be retracked.  I believe that the train in her brain goes in one direction, right now, but with the proper “lifts” in her shoes and her asking questions, that train track can be slightly alternated.  There will be things that we have to do a bit differently.  She needs to be monitored more when she does have a phone (and she will) and when she does have access to the internet (as all my electronic devices have parental controls).  There will be some school subjects where she will be required to read the material, research out what she finds interest in, but have no tests.  She will not get above pre-algebra in math.

She will never take the ACT, but she will get a trade.  The subjects she excels in (reading, writing, history) she will go above and beyond and then some.  She has no desire to get her license but she can get her permit if she so chooses.  She can’t hold a “real” job but she can work for us.  We can leave her alone here for a couple of hours and pay her to watch her little brothers.  This is not something I have ever done for my older kids but this is something that I will do for her because she needs to learn the value of money.  That she needs to work hard, have a bank account, be responsible and make money decisions wisely.

Raising Special Needs Kids

FASD is no joke.  I have 2 kids with it.  One kid, it affects one way and the other kid it affects completely differently.  I do parent them differently because I have too but I will not say “well, you can’t do this because you have brain damage.”  Heck no.  I encourage all my children to try.  If they try 1000 and fail then to never try at all.  Once my kids were officially diagnosed with this, my brain track shifted.  I eased up on myself and I altered my expectations.  We have had very open conversations.

Before military school and diagnosis, she would have a response.  It was bad, she would escalate HUGELY.  I would escalate and it got ugly.  More times than not, I am able to control my responses.  In my head I am thinking “brain damage, she is not 16, she is 8 or 4.  How would I respond to Hunter (he is 3)?”  I simply look at her and say (sometimes through clenched teeth and REALLY close to her face) “Do you need a lift in your shoe?”

She immediately looks at me…usually stops in her tracks…and she listens.  Then, she will go to her room and do her exercises which always cools her jets off.  Finally, she will step outside, I will send her and an older child for a walk.  I will go and wash my face or go to my room.  Within about 15-20, she comes back, apologizes and we talk things out or she is at a place where she will listen to me.

I can’t say this will always be the case, but for now, that is all I have to say.

God is good…..even in the short-legged moments.

Related Posts

Thoughts on Psalm 59

Medical Issues

The Beast

The BeastThe Beast Defining Defeated

 

The Beast is what we are discussing today.  Webster’s Dictionary tells me that the word DEFEATED is an adjective (an adjective being a describing word).  The definition of DEFEATED means “having been beaten in a battle….demoralized and overcome by adversity.”
Okay….so as I’m looking at this definition, I wonder what the technical definition for ADVERSITY is.  ADVERSITY is a noun, and it means “difficulty/misfortune.”
Today, I have been defeated.
Sadly, I have been beaten in a battle; demoralized by RAD.  In addition, I am exhausted….mentally, physically, and emotionally. Ironically, there are two of my children who are exhausted, as well. I also know my family is tired.
It is not the same child that I usually write about….this is my other child…for those that don’t know, I have two…how freaking lucky, am I?  Amazingly enough, I have 2 kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder.  Lottery winner, right here.  **Cue sarcasm.**
There are two different types of RAD.
Similarly, there are two different types of RAD.  One is the disinhibited type and the inhibited type.  Of course, I’m blessed to have both types in two different children (go ahead…covet my joy….I know you want to).  Sadly, I’m not making light of this.  Subsequently, I’m giving it more credit than what it deserves.  Remember, I’m not saying that I do not love my children because I do.  If I didn’t love them, I would have given up about 8 years ago, and I would have said: “not my circus, not my monkeys.”
Alas, they are my circus and my monkeys.
RAD does not define my kids.  It is something that they can’t help.  They did not sit, in utero, and say “oh my…I know that I’m gonna rock my mama’s boat and I’m going to lie, steal, kill and destroy every relationship I have.”  My children did not ask to be born.  They were chosen by the Holy One because He had a plan and a purpose for them.
His plan was not to have them deal with RAD.  The RAD was caused by any of these things…traumatic pregnancy, traumatic birth, neglect, abuse, etc.  Other factors can be involved, but these are the cause of RAD in my children.
This has been an unnaturally hard time.
It is SO hard for me to receive compliments on my children and their behaviors because, in public, they are lovely (please read, that I am THANKFUL that they are beautiful for others) but when I quietly say “thank you” I know the hell that will come when we are behind closed doors.
  • Lies.
  • Manipulation.
  • Self-mutilation.
  • Rage.
  • Triangulation.
  • Frustration.
  • Disharmony.
  • Pain.
  • Drama.
  • Hurt.
  • Distrust.
Home does not equal peace.
I have allowed my feelings to be tremendously hurt.  As my wise friend said, “your feelings are yours, and it is up to you whether or not you allow someone to hurt them.”  I have allowed my feelings to be stomped on, today.
I have owned more than I should, and I have allowed that beast, that is free will, to reign in my life.  My heart is filled with chaos, frustration, irritation and the one thing I want to do is lash out.  My words have not been edifying, and my actions have been hurtful.  I am ashamed that I allowed free will to take the front seat in my life, today.
Christmas is supposed to be so full of joy and promise.
My Savior was born to save us all from our sins and to secure a place for us in heaven when He calls us home.  How beautiful is that?  I know that, in my heart.  I also know that come November 1 till January 1, my home is a battlefield.  It is hard on two of my kids…not from their explicit memories (from age 3 and up) but from their implicit memories (those from birth to 3).
There was extensive trauma, neglect, and abuse.  Ironically, they lash out at the one person who has been there through thick and thin.  It is so tiresome being the punching bag of all their rage.  I used to think that I could “love them out of their behaviors” and then I wised up.
Now, I know I can’t do anything.
Powerless in my efforts, but I have Jesus who lives in me that is my Strong Tower.  He is my strength when I am weak.  As a matter of fact, the enemy might surround me, but the enemy can never overtake me.  I should have remembered that, today.  Instead, I let Satan have more glory than he should have and I succumbed to being someone who I am not.
However, I can make excuses all day long…but where there are lies, God’s Truth will come through.

 Lies We Believe (and Scriptures to Combat Them!)

1. I am not good enough.
(You are a royal daughter of the King. 1 Peter 2:9)
2. There seems to be no way. This is impossible.
(Jesus IS the WAY. John 14:6)
3. I might mess up my kids’ future.
(God knows His plans for you to prosper YOU and not for evil or harm! Believe that! Trust in God! Jeremiah 29:11)
4. I am a failure. God doesn’t love me.

(God loves you so much.  By loving you, He sent and His ONE and only Son, Jesus.  Jesus died for our sins, on the cross. There is no condemnation in Christ.  John 3:16)

Tomorrow is a new day.
A day of rest and I plan on resting…all day long.  For example, I plan on seeking His face, and I plan on remembering that He is still on the throne.  He loves me and has forgiven me.  Fantastically enough, He loves my children so much more than I do.  I will continue to make mistakes.
Sadly, RAD will continue to invade our home.  I cannot control that but I can control my reactions to the actions of my children.  For today, I must fight the good fight….for my children, for my children’s children, and for me and my sanity.
Related Posts:

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder

Life or Something Like It, Medical Issues

Let Us Pretend for a Moment

Let Us Pretend for a MomentLet Us Pretend for a Moment that you were a mom of an elementary school aged boy.  You get all excited because it is a local church’s Bible School and this boy wants to go.  Let’s say you forgot about VBS, so no one went on Monday, yet you remember on Tuesday and all goes well.  Let’s say again, that you took said the boy on Wednesday and when you went to pick said boy up, you quietly observe his interaction with his teacher, whom you do not know.

Again, pretending.

As you quietly observe, you see your son “flip” his teacher the bird.  Not once, not twice, but three times.

Possibly, because we are pretending here, you feel your blood pressure rising and you *try* to get to your son as quickly as possible….all the while, you are feeling like you are in the Matrix and you are moving in slow motion.  As you are moving, your eyes are on his “bird” finger and it, in slow motion, continues to move up and down at the teacher while the other children look on in horror.  HORROR.

As your slow-motion body gets to your child, you see that “look” on the teacher’s face.  That look that says “oh, my, goodness….this kid is driving me nuts and I have to put a happy face on because this child’s mother is standing before me and I have to seem like I am enjoying his presence when I really just want her to take this child home and never return.”  Seriously, anyone who has worked with kids knows that look because we have all given it.  Now, the tables are turned and it is *your* child (pretending…glorified mind).

Once home, you ask said child why they would continually stick out their middle finger when the teacher told them that that was not appropriate behavior and that he really must stop.

Child’s answer?  “I don’t know.”

What would you do?

What would I do, you ask?  I would call my mama and ask her for advice. Then, I would drink a large coke.