Friday, October 30, 2009


It is often said all kids with attachment issues have PTSD, but not all kids with PTSD have attachment disorders. We have a RADish. She is textbook. But we also have another daughter that came home through adoption who does not seem to struggle with attachment. What she does seem to show are signs of PTSD. Most of the time, she is happy, joyful, obedient. But then.... something triggers her little heart and wham! She spirals into lock-down mode. Interesting observations:

~she will not cry. she will yell and scream. but she won't cry.
~all instruction and discipline is completely ineffective and escalates the situation. *when not in this place, she responds "typically"
~accidents. floors. beds. awake & asleep
~does not sleep well or for long
~triggers are impossible to ID

Doing lots and lots of research over here. Maybe you are seeing some challenging behaviors but don't feel like it is RAD. Maybe you are dealing with PTSD. It is very hard to ID in kiddos especially if the loss was pre-verbal. Here are some websites that may be helpful. But as with anything, don't wait until you want to quit to get help. Just got Krill's book in the mail. It is the first book I found addressing this in kiddos. I'll let you know how it is when I get through it. :)


rachel said...

My daughter is diagnosed with PTSD. She was a puzzle to me, because while she struggled severely, she did not fit the RAD profile. It was a tremendous relief to me when her therapist said she has PTSD and not RAD. But now I don't know if it is any "better". It is super super tough!!!!!

Simply Moms said...

Rachel-have you been to Dr. Krill's website? I have found it helpful in approaching my little one. Any other resources you've liked?

rachel said...

I had never heard of Dr Krill but the website looks very informative. I plan to look into it further.
We have a wonderful and very experienced Christian therapist who has been a true life saver. Also, Karyn Purvis' website and book has probably been the single most helpful rescource I have found. But I am also looking into diet and supplements as well as neuro-reorganization. As well as lots and lots of prayer. One day at a time...

Simply Moms said...

I was just given his website from another adoptive mom. So far very helpful.

I would love to hear more about anything that is helping your little one.

Yes, love the Connected Child. Don't own it but could have 3x over from late fees at the library. lol.

kayder1996 said...

I'm curious about the sleeping issue. I have no experience with kids who have PTSD but plenty with kids who I know are not sleeping enough at night. For "normal" kids, lack of a sleep results off behavior from crankiness, to emotional driven reactions, to even symptoms that mimic ADHD or ADD. I know of one child who everyone assumed was ADHD until her parents took her to a neurolgogist who did some sleep studies on her and found she was not sleeping at night. If you assume that for her (and others who are not sleeping well) it is akin to spending night after night without a full night's sleep, sometimes for years on end, you can kind of understand how their bodies/minds are disregulated. So with PTSD and sleeplessness, do the experts have any way to improve their sleep? I personally think that's a huge piece of the behavior puzzle but understand that the sleep issues are probably both neurological and emotional. I've just found myself wondering "what if those kiddos could sleep and sleep well on a consistent basis?"

Simply Moms said...

K- I haven't read anything specifically (like tips from Krill or anything yet) But I think you are dead on. NO one does well w/o sleep. But these little hearts.... oh my! I don't know how they make it.

We've used major wind down routines (lotions, songs, etc) and sometimes when things are really bad, natural calming aides like Melatonin.

triplehmoms said...

My daughter's diagnosis is not PTSD or RAD. She's more like SPD and has trouble sleeping. She sleeps with a weighted blanket. She moves CONSTANTLY in the bed without it. The theory is that the child is moving because she needs input. She gets the input from the sheets, blankets, socks, etc. while moving. The weighted blanket provides her with the input that she needs and she can be still. This has helped her TREMENDOUSLY because while she was in the bed for 12 hours at night, she wasn't sleeping for 12 hours. At the breakfast table, she would simply put her head down on the table while eating.
I was recently at an adoption conference and some of the parents discussed things that helped their child sleep. Here are a few of them:
--sleeping in a tent, like a little play tent, even with one on top of the bed. One lady commented that her son, now 12 years old, said his ideal sleeping place would be in a coffin! Now that he is older, he can communicate to his mom what he needs and she said he will often sleep behind the sofa, between the back of it and the wall. She said he might sleep in a big box too.
--another lady said her kids sleep in sleeping bags on top of their beds. She said it serves as a "swaddling blanket" almost for them.
--another lady said that her kids sleep in "sleep sacks" like you would use with an infant. She said that sells a "big kids Halo Sleep Sack" for $19.99 and it's the only way she can get her kids to sleep.
Just some thoughts that might be helpful.
I'm new here and I'll introduce myself briefly. I have two adopted daughters from Guatemala, now ages 6 and 10 years. Both joined our family as infants. My oldest is a deep thinker but hasn't ever really had many issues with attachment. My youngest is a bit quirky with some sensory issues. We are in the process of adopting another little one from Guatemala and she is almost 5 years old. She has a lot of developmental issues and I know that we will have some attachment issues as well. I've done a ton of reading and I do feel like I am going into this with "eyes wide open." I don't, however, have any friends that have adopted "non infant" children and so this is somewhat uncharted water for my circle of adoptive parent friends. I've done some reading today on Cate and Sean's blog and my thought process is so similar--we need to take care of the heart first and foremost. I'm happy to have found this blog.