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Blank Staring..

6291 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Labyrinth
My son was diagnosed pdd-nos about a year ago. We never had that info put in his medical or school records though. His teachers know about his diagnosis but they as well as myself have been skeptical as to whether or not it was accurate.

Anyways.. He goes to ECSE two days per week and last week they had a traveling autism specialist stop in and observe their classroom. His teacher asked me if I would like him observed too.

So this week his teacher approached me and said that the specialist thought he was doing quite well. She said that he would be a child to "keep an eye on" but she thought he had good eye contact and was pretty social ect.. His teacher did say that the specialist did say that he blank stares frequently and that would be one thing to keep an eye on.

That is really the ONLY info I got out of the whole thing was that he blank stares. Now I am not sure if this specialist was made aware of his pdd-nos dx or not. She didn't write up anything formal for me to review it was just word of mouth to his teacher.

My question is Why out of everything would she have pointed out that he blank stares? It is something I notice but I have never really thought too much about it. He has a really hard time focusing on things unless they are hands on activities that he enjoys. I guess I have always attributed his blank staring to his inability to focus.
An example would be that I will ask him to get his clothes on and he will say yes then when I check on him he will be in there staring at the wall. He just kinda zones out so to speak.

Anyways I was just wondering if anyone could offer any insight to why it could be something concerning. I will be having an end of year meeting with his teacher soon and was going to bring it up then as well, and to see if there was anything else that she had said that his teacher didn't tell me since we just had a quick conversation when I dropped him off.
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My DD does blank stares as well and she has a PDD-NOS dx. My fear is that the stares are absence seizures. I'm going to have her checked out by a neurologist soon.
Here's my thoughts. If a kid were doing blank stares, I would assume they were busy thinking about something. Personally, I do it all the time - and have had people ask me what was wrong, etc. when all I was doing was thinking (probably visualizing). I specifically remember even a teacher asking me, in sixth grade - she was a little freaked out because it apparently took quite a bit of effort for her to get my attention. But of course once she interrupted me I lost focus completely and couldn't remember what I had just been thinking about. Just a possibility to consider - that it may not be a lack of focus at all but rather lots of focus. I also vaguely recall this sort of thing being discussed in Silverman's Upside Down Brilliance. So, it wouldn't concern me at all. (Indeed, it sometimes drives me nuts when one of my kids does this - I say he has selective hearing LOL - but really I'm just getting the busy signal.)
the blank staring could be a form of seizures. My son has PDD-NOS and did the blank stare, and after an EEG it was found that he has a form of epilepsy. A high percentage of children who are on the autism spectrum also have some form of epilepsy, so perhaps that is why she pointed it out to you.

I agree with previous posters, the first thing you might want to do is get an EEG to check for seizures. My 10 year old with ADHD blank stares. His teachers have mentioned it over the years and he does it at home a lot, especially if he is supposed to be doing something like homework, or getting ready for school, etc. He doesn't do it when he is engaged in something or playing with his friends, etc. He was tested and does not have seizures. Although it drives me nuts, I have attributed it to his ADHD and his doctor agrees. He just kind of spaces out when he is overwhelmed or expected to do something that is "hard".
Good luck!
Definitely have your child seen by a neurologist! I have epilepsy, and this is one of my most common and frequent types of seizures. My ASD daughter does the same and we are in the process of determining whether she's having seizures like me or is deeply focused internally as some of the other posters mentioned. It could be nothing to worry about, but I had these kinds of seizures for many years as a child, they went undiagnosed/unrecognized for the most part until I was 10. Family just said "Oh, she's just spacey." Then one day I had a grand mal seizure while crossing the street. It's better to find out and be prepared for that kind of thing.
He has seen a neurologist a few times in the past and unfortunately I have not been happy with the only available neuro that we have. But thanks for all of your info it is something I will discuss with his PCP and see if we could get in to see someone about it.

Thanks again!
My ds stares off into space. He used to definatly use it as a coping mechanism. Now he doesn't do it as often as he used to. We had him tested and didn't find any seizure activity. It's funny because they mentioned it at his iep meeting and said that they always think he isn't paying attention. Of course if he is ever questioned, he knows exactly what is going on.
My cousin did the blank staring and it turned out she had diabetes. I don't know if it was a type of seizure cause by her blood sugar or what. Good luck.

Originally Posted by lil_stinkyfeet View Post
He has seen a neurologist a few times in the past and unfortunately I have not been happy with the only available neuro that we have. But thanks for all of your info it is something I will discuss with his PCP and see if we could get in to see someone about it.

Thanks again!
See if your PCP would be willing to order an EEG just to be safe. Just say a specialist at your school is worried about blank stares, etc. Kids with autism have a very high rate of epilepsy, the usual onset is either early childhood or the teen years.

The good thing is absence seizures are almost always outgrown- when I was younger I had seizure like episodes which slowed down and then stopped in adulthood (I have a plethora of neuro and health issues, most of which I have had since childhood). I still have abnormal spikes on an EEG, though, and if I had been able to get the recommended 48 hour EEG I might come out on the other end with a DX of epilepsy.
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