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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am cross posting this from the Toddler board per someone's suggestion. I have never spent time on this board, so if this is misplaced, I apologize.<br><br><br>
I am worried about my dd's social interactions and mental health. She HATES being around other kids. And many adults scare her too. She has been scared of other people from a very young age, but lately her behavior has me worried.<br><br>
At playgroups and LLL meetings, she hides behind me or in my lap. When another child gets close to her, she screams or makes other threatening noises at them. If they don't go away she dissolves into terrified tears. When she feels really threatened, she says "she wants to hurt herself" and will clap really hard or pull her hair. This stuff really scares me.<br><br><br>
Should I continue to expose her to other kids, hoping she will get used to it while I protect her? Should we stay at home as much as possible to avoid others until she seems more ready?<br><br>
I am not sure how to help her get over her fears. She has improved immensely with adult interaction since she was a baby- she now has a few trusted adults that she loves to see and play with. She also has one friend that she doesn't mind having around, but she is a quiet, verbal, more predictable in behavior kid, just like my dd.<br><br>
I am not sure what has caused her to be this way. We have had interactions with other kids where she was hurt (hair pulled, head bonked), but she has really seemed this way since birth. Maybe it was the 4 day NICU stay?<br><br>
Could a 2.5 yr old need/benefit from therapy??? Am I overreacting?
 

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I don't really have much advice to offer, but your point about the NICU clicked with me. My 2.5 year old also had a several day NICU stay even though she was full term. I have always thought that being in the NICU has contributed to her personality a great deal, but other's in my life think that is crazy. I've often wondered if other parents noticed similar things in their NICU kids. My dd is also very scared around other people and does not like unknown kids or adults coming near her or talking to her. It sounds like her reactions are more mild than you are dealing with, but I have also wondered if her sleep problems are partly due to the NICU. Sorry I'm not much help. I just wanted to let you know that there are others of us that have a similar train of thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your thoughts. My dd was full term, but spent 4 days in the NICU. I couldn't even see her until about 12 hours after she was born. I have always thought that her strong attachment to me, trouble sleeping, wariness of doctors and others, and intense personality may have had something to do with her stay there.<br><br>
Hugs to you and your dd.
 

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It sounds like your daugther would benefit from being evaluated wiht the Regional center. Just call and ask for a full developmental evaluation- and they can probably help your little girl. It sounds to me like she may have some sensory integration issues, where she may be hyper senstive to sight sounds, touch, etc. I understand your thought about the NICU. It's difficult to bond with your baby who is in the hospital. My daughter was in the NICU for several weeks, and has been in and out of the hospital ever since (she's 3 now), she sound the opposite though. She's extremely social and isn't afraid of anyone/anything (which is bad in a lot of situations). She has sensory integration issues, but she's hypo sensitive to touch from her waist down, and hyper sensitive to sound. The smallest sound will hurt her ears. There is a lot an occupational therapist can do to help your daughter form relationships. Keep us posted, and (((hugs)))
 

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Another NICU baby with similiar issues. DS also has SID like features. Would recommend a good holistic chiropractor if you can find one in your area. Ours did wonders of good for our son and his social issues.
 

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I also think your regional center could help. I know from my experience with my DS that social anxiety and stranger anxiety can start VERY early, and it is difficult to overcome. I recently read a wonderful book, "Your Anxious Child: How Parents and Teachers Can Relieve Anxiety in Children" by John Dacey and Lisa Fiore, which offers solid, well-researched strategies for working on anxiety. Social stories (<a href="http://www.thegraycenter.org" target="_blank">www.thegraycenter.org</a>) can help reduce anxiety by providing scripts for the child to rehearse. Anxiety attacks are much easier to prevent than to stop once they start.<br><br>
Hugs to you and your DD.
 

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Interesting. My dd was a NICU baby, too, spending days 5-10 in there. She has the same anxiety. However, she also has language difficulties, too, which could contribute to her social anxiety. She's getting better in the last few months. She does not have sensory avoidance issues.<br><br>
What I've been doing with her is taking her to really fun places where there are kids. Playgrounds, children's museums, stuff like that. I try to go when it is not crowded at first. If she gets upset, we find a quiet area to observe. If she doesn't calm down, we leave, but most times she would get interested in what was going on enough to ignore the other kids. I follow her cues, and don't let her get too upset. I think after all these fun times where nothing bad happened, she built up a kind of tolerance. I had anxiety disorder, so I used similar techniques with her that I used on myself. Very gentle. Very slow. And a lot of work and patience.<br><br>
Also having a playgroup or something where she can expect the same kids and routine each time can help. We had a playgroup through EI, which was also good because all the kids in it needed a little help.<br><br>
However, I'm not sure if it's her age now or because she started preschool, but she's been so much better. I brought her to a playground a few weeks ago, and I was able to play with my baby while she climbed and played. She even waited in a line to go down the slide. Granted if anyone talks to her, she'll cry, run away, cower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks to everyone for sharing their experience and ideas. I have learned a lot.<br><br>
I have some questions about the Regional Center evaluations. How long does an evaluation last? What happens during an evaluation? I would have to prepare my dd so that she wouldn't be scared by the process. After the evaluation, what sort of serviecs are offered? Are we required to use the available services? Are their caseworkers fromthe state that get invloved depending on the diagnosis?<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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This will really depend on how you go about looking for a diagnosis. I don't think what you are describing sounds like normal behavior....especially, and I think this is the key, if it is continuing and not changing to something more normal.<br><br>
Do you have good health insurance? If you do, private therapy may or may not be your best option. Asking at an LLL meeting might turn up some interesting results: looking for an OT who is gentle discipline friendly. (OT=Occupational Therapist)<br><br>
ECI is for children 3 and under. (Early Childhood Intervention) You can ask you pediatrician for this information. If your child is over 3, the public schools are who provide services. Again, your pediatrician should have this information.<br><br>
Or you can google it.<br><br>
Good luck to you.
 
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