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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Attachment disorder?

I can see how watching a 20 second video of Amanda would lead folks to make that assumption. She does not self-stim all day, she explores the house, sits in our laps, plays with us, plays with Meghan, and is a relatively happy little girl.

Yesterday after I read comments and thought about my plea for advice, I thought, asking for advice from a very limited view of who Amanda is. It is like the blind men with the elephant being asked to describe it from different points of view. Truly unfair of me, I think my wanting answers to help her ASAP is what drove that. I called autism groups a few weeks ago, and a neuropsycologist and they all agreed, we should wait a year before diagnosing anything, it will take her a while to adjust to her new home and family, a new language, and a completely different life. The neuropsychologist agreed to see us, but she fell ill on the day of the appointment, and since Amanda was also ill, we thought it best to wait until she was more like herself again.

I did not want to hear that we should wait, I wanted answers NOW, but truly, is that fair to ask of anyone? Not really, who Amanda is now, and who she will be in a year is something no one can predict. The positive changes we see in her daily encourage us, I will try to get some pictures, she has so many different smiles, silly faces, and is a playful little girl, but she does not like her picture taken, so it is hard to capture.

I have had wildly different answers to my question, and as I expected, they left me feeling rather inadequate (my issue) and just as confused as before. We made up our minds to treat both Kara and Amanda like infants and allow them to develop though all the stages as an infant does. We have seen that Kara has done this, albeit, very rapidly, in months instead of years, and we felt we could do the same thing with Amanda. Treat her at the developmental age she is currently, which I would say is 6-8 months at this point.

She getting cuddled, coddled, and fed like an infant. She is fighting a cold, and this made her self-stim behaviors increase, but I expected that too, just as a toddler who gets ill wants his pacifier again, or a bottle, or to breastfeed more. They want what comforted them before, and for Amanda, it was self-stim behaviors. She is not used to people cuddling her when she is ill, I am certain she was left in her crib. I can tell by her constantly crawling to her crib and standing to be put in there. She only stays 5 minutes before she decides it is not a great idea, and we take her out and hold her.

I am also a very good reader of body language and know when she has had enough and needs space. I let her have what she wants, she will go off and play and return in 15-20 minutes to be held again. Today she came when she was called and asked to be held. She also signed more food, and said Da when I asked her a yes or no question, makes you wonder what other surprises she has for us. Hopefully more good ones than bad (no more bad medical news for our baby girl please)

She is making progress, we think it is remarkable, the self stim behaviors are trying on our nerves, I have been singing with her and she thinks it is the funniest thing ever, maybe it is the beginning of the end for the self stim (most of them). I thank every single person who gave us advice, each of you gave me pieces of a puzzle that will be easier to solve now. I apologize for not depicting the entire picture when I asked for your help.


carol said...

Amanda has changed so much in the short 3 months she has been home. Just think how much more she will change in the next 3 months. Sounds like you are doing everything right and Amanda is a very lucky girl to have such a caring and patient mama. I look back at Kara when you first brought her home. She is such a different little girl today. I cant imagine the picture we will see this time next year of both Kara and Amanda. I love the new pcitures Amanda and then Kara in th background. I hope they get to feeling better. That goes for you also.
carol n

GoldenAngelsWorks said...

She is changing every day. I love to see the interaction between the three girls. They are all blossoming into beautiful little ladies.

Alice said...

I didn't leave comments about the video because I didn't know what to say. Everything I have read and seen from other adopting families, says that it is impossible to make accurate diagnoses for at least 1 year. We have many adoptive families at our churc, and many of them have special needs kids or kids with serious behavior issues. They have all said that things seemed to stabilize some time during the third year of having the child home.

My three little girls

My three little girls
Finally got all three to smile at once