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Old 10-16-2012, 09:39 PM   #1
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Lets talk attachment disorder

Anyone deal with it in a 3 year old? DS has a lot of the symptoms, and many of the causes. His teacher at school is having similar issues (I love you, so I am going to do every bad thing I can think of when you try to love on me, just to make sure you really will). As a 2 year old, he would go up and snuggle with perfect strangers like they were his parents. Now, he is very aggressive, and hurts our other children. Today, while I was getting DD1 ready for karate, he took sidewalk chalk and colored all over the 19 month old's face (she was at the table in her booster seat), and even though she was screaming hysterically, kept going til I could get there to rescue her. He's been in therapy for a year, but his therapist is worthless, and we are working on changing, but it is hard to find someone good who takes Medicaid. I've gotten several referrals for wonderful people, but no one takes his insurance.

If you did, or were diagnosed later, what did it look like for your 3 year old?

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Old 10-17-2012, 10:07 AM   #2
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I'm interested to read replies, this is my greatest fear. I think being proactive and getting him into therapy already (and ensuring a good fit with his therapist) is the best thing you can do. So often I think parents are in denial or just don't want to deal with it.
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:53 PM   #3
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Re: Lets talk attachment disorder

You definitely need a therapist experienced in attachment therapy. A regular one isn't going to cut it. Sometimes, they offer consultations, and might be able to give you some pointers/ideas/direction without having to pay for the ongoing therapy.
There's reading out there...google "therapeutic parenting blog", there's some good ones out there.
Some people love The Connected Child book, some people hate it. I think it's good for explaining WHY your child behaves the way they do and why you should respond in a certain manner. Other good books are Nurtured by Love by Shiniko Suzuki, The Out of Sync Child, The Out of Sync Child Has Fun, and maybe Parenting the Hurt Child? I can't remember if that one was recommended or not. OH! - Wounded Children, Healing Homes! Read that one. Transforming the Difficult Child is said to be good, too. And learn about Relationship Development Intervention - primarily used in kids with autism, I think, but I've known people to use it for attachment and it helps.
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:54 PM   #4
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Re: Lets talk attachment disorder

No experience, just wanted to send I know some of the rough start your little guy had from reading on here and have been thinking of your family. Hopefully some of the reading suggestions from pp will shed some light for you. And praying you can find an awesome therapist for your son.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:15 PM   #5
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Re: Lets talk attachment disorder

We have been dealing with this for years with my oldest. He is 7 now but was 3 when he came to us. He had a lot of similar behaviors. He would call our next door neighbor Mom even though he didn't know her at all. He was super clingy with people he never meet before and then super stand offish towards us. He was violent and aggressive and if I asked him not to do something he would throw wood toys at me or even hit and bite. It took a long time but he is finally in a good place with his attachment. He is super affectionate with us (his adoptive family) very responsive to our affection and is appropriate with strangers. His tantrums have subsided and really has come such a long way. We do have set backs and sometimes he will get stressed about something and he revert back a little but we are making progress. We went to therapy for the first year but it really didn't help, honestly I felt like it was making it worse so we stopped. I think that we will need to revisit the therapy as he gets older but right now I am really happy with the progress we have made. So I don't really have a whole lot of advice just hugs and it takes time. I think I remember reading that your son went back to his bio dad for a brief period and I am sure that impacted his attachment. I think for us from 3-4 was the hardest and it slowly got better from there. Just make sure you give yourself a break when you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed and know its not going to be like this forever. Its gets better.

Our main issue that we still have is around food. Our son has so much stress and anxiety when it comes to food and it is the one area that really hasn't improved much over time. He overeats and hoards food. He is always worried about how much everyone else has. If his three year old sister's plate looks like it has more on it will send him into a complete melt down that will set him back for days. After 3, almost four years with us and having regular meals and snacks everyday I was thinking that he would get more comfortable but it is the one things he still really struggles with.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macmemo
We have been dealing with this for years with my oldest. He is 7 now but was 3 when he came to us. He had a lot of similar behaviors. He would call our next door neighbor Mom even though he didn't know her at all. He was super clingy with people he never meet before and then super stand offish towards us. He was violent and aggressive and if I asked him not to do something he would throw wood toys at me or even hit and bite. It took a long time but he is finally in a good place with his attachment. He is super affectionate with us (his adoptive family) very responsive to our affection and is appropriate with strangers. His tantrums have subsided and really has come such a long way. We do have set backs and sometimes he will get stressed about something and he revert back a little but we are making progress. We went to therapy for the first year but it really didn't help, honestly I felt like it was making it worse so we stopped. I think that we will need to revisit the therapy as he gets older but right now I am really happy with the progress we have made. So I don't really have a whole lot of advice just hugs and it takes time. I think I remember reading that your son went back to his bio dad for a brief period and I am sure that impacted his attachment. I think for us from 3-4 was the hardest and it slowly got better from there. Just make sure you give yourself a break when you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed and know its not going to be like this forever. Its gets better.

Our main issue that we still have is around food. Our son has so much stress and anxiety when it comes to food and it is the one area that really hasn't improved much over time. He overeats and hoards food. He is always worried about how much everyone else has. If his three year old sister's plate looks like it has more on it will send him into a complete melt down that will set him back for days. After 3, almost four years with us and having regular meals and snacks everyday I was thinking that he would get more comfortable but it is the one things he still really struggles with.
I'll just say :-) Our ds came to us at 3 as well and did all those things.

At 12, ds' main issues are still food-related. He did gorge and hoard food, now he's just constantly eating! lol Though that's probably because he's almost a teenager. But he will still see what someone else has and "need" it too.

One of my saving graces during treatment was that it doesn't have to be forever. We were told if we could get him to attach by the time he was 10-12, he'd probably be okay.

When he was 3, I just thought if we could keep him out of jail, we'd have done well. Now the kiddo is determined to play junior hockey, talking about which colleges to go to, and I totally believe he can.

One positive - I can send the kid ANYWHERE! He's perfect for everyone else! lol Not a lot of fun when he gets home, but with 3 kids in hockey and 2 parents, sometimes they get shipped off with coaches and teammates. :-)

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Old 11-14-2012, 04:17 PM   #7
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Re: Lets talk attachment disorder

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Originally Posted by Ontariomama View Post
One of my saving graces during treatment was that it doesn't have to be forever. We were told if we could get him to attach by the time he was 10-12, he'd probably be okay.

When he was 3, I just thought if we could keep him out of jail, we'd have done well. Now the kiddo is determined to play junior hockey, talking about which colleges to go to, and I totally believe he can.
I thought the same thing when my son was 3. Now we have much higher dreams for him but at the time I just kept stressing over what the teenage years would look like if this is how he is at 3. Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and my son really has the biggest heart and is a truly caring person. It was just hard to see it under all of that pain. Healing takes time.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:40 PM   #8
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Re: Lets talk attachment disorder

I think a lot of foster children display those types of behaviors when they first come into foster care. Especially, acting out toward the primary caregiver. From my experience, all of the age appropriate bad behaviors seem to become extreme for a period of time because the kids are under stress. When that stress subsides, the behaviors settle back down to a normal level.

I worried that our son had attachment disorder when we first got him at almost 3 yrs old. He was inappropriately friendly with strangers and didn't seem particularly attached to us. He was hyperactive, talked insistently, and had other behavior problems too.

We were VERY consistent with discipline and took opportunities to hold him and cuddle him. We also had him practice sitting still and being quiet for periods of time.
It took at least 6 months before he seemed attached to us.

We adopted him at age 4. He is 6 now and is in the top of his class at school and behaves appropriately in social settings, even displaying a little shyness around strangers. He is a "social butterfly," with those he knows, which seems to be just a part of his personality, so he gets in trouble for talking at school sometimes. But, his teacher has said that he's the most "Christ like" child she has ever taught (he's at a christian school), and has said that he should be the poster child for adoption. He also has an appropriate attachment to us, which developed over the first year that we had him.

Another thing that I think helped is that after about 9 months, I stopped working to stay home with the boys, so bonding progressed faster and more naturally.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:32 PM   #9
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Re: Lets talk attachment disorder

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Originally Posted by Rachcate View Post
You definitely need a therapist experienced in attachment therapy. A regular one isn't going to cut it..
Yep.

I'm sorry that I don't have experience with a younger child with these issues, but maybe I can shed some light 'on down the road.'

I have a 14 year old daughter that was adopted from foster care. She came to live with us and her bio sister, who we already had placed with us, when she was 11. She was already very deeply rooted with some attachment issues. It always seemed that she was 'fond' of us, but didn't have any idea how to really trust/attach/integrate herself as a true part of a family. An obvious manifestation of hers was being overly friendly with strangers, or friends of the family she didn't know well--but in the relationships that were 'supposed' to be the most intimate she was very cold/unattached. We were blessed to find a therapist that specialized in adolescent attachment disorders, and she took Medicaid. This is so, so very important.

She had been seeing the same therapist for many years, and I knew in my gut that she needed 'more.'

She is now doing very, very well. She has come SO FAR with these issues; she's not the same girl she was a year or even six months ago.

I hope you can find the right therapist. Even if you have to drive to them...keep looking!

Blessings, mamma!!
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:31 PM   #10
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Re: Lets talk attachment disorder

Thanks mama! We did switch to a psychologist instead of just a therapist, and I think she has a better handle on things. We had a respite kiddo here this week who taught DS a couple of things she had learned in therapy (She was 5). She told him that he wasn't supposed to hug people he doesn't know well (he is all over strangers), and that she wouldn't hug him because she had only known him for 2 days. It was like a light bulb went off in his head! She kinda laid out some boundary rules, and since they came from a 5 year old, instead of mommy, he listened.

I did make a mistake with her that I regret. When she asked what she should call me, I told her "Whatever you want." So then, she wanted to call me mom. After only being here an hour. Next time, I won't say that. It was my first respite placement, and I'm learning.
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