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If you have a fc with attachment disorder, what are their symptoms?

(11 Posts)
Kitsandkids Sat 23-Jan-16 12:27:25

I've been told that my fc might have an attachment disorder. I've always thought he might have ASD but apparently the 'symptoms' I've seen are more likely to be attachment issues. But he doesn't have many of the symptoms I've read when I've looked up attachment on the Internet. So I'm curious to see what other fc with attachment disorders do that show they have attachment issues. Thanks

3PurpleCrocs Sat 23-Jan-16 19:35:21

Hi Kits, I'd say 50% of the children I've cared for have had attachment disorders - all of them with different symptoms! I think all of them could have been diagnosed as having ASD if they'd not been LaC as the symptoms are so closely linked.

Some of the "classic" signs they presented with were non stop talking (much more than your average child, I'm talking constant talking or humming or squealing to fill any silences); lying and stealing - often stupid lies to your face; over eating; hoarding; very limited concentration; very little empathy - often cruel to our pets; making the same mistakes time after time as they don't really understand what they're doing wrong; difficulty making and keeping friends; very controlling; desperate need for attention; sleep difficulties.

One of the biggest things I can think of off the top of my head is pushing away their primary carer (ie Me!) in public when they can get attention from a less familiar face. They will fall and seek comfort from friends of mine instead of coming to me.

What "symptoms" is your FC displaying? I've learnt loads more from living with these children than from any courses or on the internet, as each child differs in the way they present.

Kitsandkids Sat 23-Jan-16 20:45:02

Hi, thanks for replying. He does do some of the things you've mentioned, which is interesting as none of these are mentioned in anything I've read.

He makes noises a lot of the time. Not so much constant talking but humming, squealing, singing but 'de de de' kind of songs rather than actual words, and clicking in the back of his throat. When playing a computer game he will keep up a constant monologue of what he's doing with lots of really loud 'Wow!'s. If he's on the computer and his brother is in the room doing homework he can't keep quiet even if you warn him he has to be quiet or he'll have to leave the room. He can be silent though, such as when watching TV.

He flaps his hands when he's excited or if there's a 'tense' bit in a film or show he's watching.

He fights sleep, though once he's asleep he will sleep through until 7.30-8ish. At the moment I'm sitting on the stairs while he's meant to be going to sleep, because if I do he'll be quiet and eventually go to sleep but if I don't he'd be straight out of bed or making noises etc. As it is, I can hear him fidgeting in the bed.

He likes to be around other children but doesn't always know how to interact with them. When I helped once in a group outing I noticed lots more shrieking than normal, as if he thought that would get their attention.

When at soft play or parks he will often gravitate towards much younger children. He's 8 but is often more happy to play with a 4 year old than other 8 year olds.

He gets easily emotional about things and will cry quite easily. If another child says something to him that he doesn't like he has been known to run away in tears.

He used to be quite fearful of things like climbing frames and either wouldn't attempt them or would get a couple of rungs up and then stop and scream for help. He is a lot better now but will sometimes claim he's 'stuck' on climbing equipment. If he fell over outside he used to just lie on the floor crying until someone went to him, but will usually get up now.

He doesn't always interpret people's words and actions correctly and will think they're being mean when they're honestly not.

He lies quite regularly and makes excuses to get him out of trouble. So if I catch him out of bed he might say 'I was worried my brother was going to hit me so I got up' even though his brother is fast asleep and I've caught him picking up a toy.

His attachment to me, I would say, is good. He was a little wary to begin with and if out and about would just go to anyone (in our wider family group if we were out with my SILs for example) if he'd hurt himself. Now though he always comes to me. He's happy to see me after school and at school events. He's staying with me long term and began calling me mum about 4 months ago. When we're out places sitting down he'll want to sit on my lap, or be cuddled right up to me and will often rub his head all over my arm.

He does have empathy, and is generally kind to animals although I have had to remind him a few times when out not to scare birds.

He is easily distracted when doing school work (which he finds hard) but he can focus on a task for a long time if it's something he enjoys.

Cassimin Sun 24-Jan-16 22:40:22

Our little one does many of the things you mentioned. Everyone comments on the clicking from the back of the throat , it's so loud.
We have had a diagnosis of ADHD and we are waiting to see if the dr. is going to diagnose ASD. We have got used to all the quirks but they are struggling in school.
I think if they have a diagnosis it is better for them as school have to recognise it as a disability.
I read an excellent book that explained attachment called
Inside I'm hurting.

Kitsandkids Sun 24-Jan-16 23:32:56

Thanks Cassimin. Has attachment disorder ever been mentioned as a possibility for your little one?

YorkshireMansWife Mon 25-Jan-16 11:23:32

He sounds just like the young man we have. We have a diagnosis of ADHD/ASD and dis-organised attachment has been mentioned a few times but not diagnosed.

Kitsandkids Mon 25-Jan-16 13:00:21

I've never heard of disorganised attachment. I will Google!

Cassimin Mon 25-Jan-16 13:43:32

They came to us aged 4 and I was told by first dr that they suspected ADHD but too young to diagnose.
There were lots of problems at first but 2 years down the line although many things had settled down there were still behaviours that were the same. This is when ADHD was diagnosed by a completely different dr. I found it hard to believe because if they are interested they can sit still also watching TV or computer etc. I was told this is normal for ADHD as screens are constantly changing and rewards are given. This keeps them interested.
Asd is also suspected but very low on the spectrum. We have also discussed PDA.
Attachment was mentioned at first but after things settling down and becoming more stable the underlying problems were still there.

3PurpleCrocs Mon 25-Jan-16 16:39:35

Unfortunately people understand very little about attachment disorder - it doesn't automatically disappear once things "settle down", and certainly not after 2 years. In particular "disorganised" attachment is one of the most difficult to deal with and the symptoms will reappear time and again (I'm not directing this at any of the FCs on here, more at the "them" who help us with our charges).

People (ie SWs) still confuse attachment with bonding, hence the comments along the lines of "Cassie is ideal for adoption and has great attachment to her FC". Cassie may have a wonderful bond with her FC and still have huge attachment issues. It affects everything from behaviour to social skills to motor skills to speech and language.

I think there are a few posts about attachment disorder on the mental health boards here. Speaking to people who're dealing with it daily should help you more than your SWs.

Cassimin Mon 25-Jan-16 20:55:06

By settled I meant all the things that may be masking other problems.
Having boundaries in place, eating, sleeping, having access to drs, education, communication problems etc.Many children come into care with some or all of these problems and any neurological or emotional problems cannot be addressed until you have tried to sort these out.
In my experience it's only then that you can work with professionals to try and work out what the underlying problems are.
Attachment difficulties do not mean how a child can attach to another person and it is possible to have a combination of attachment styles.
It really is a minefield.
All we can really do is make sure that all our childrens needs are met and help them as much as possible.
Attachment/ADHD/ASD can all have the same symptoms and overlap into each other.
Since having the ADHD diagnosis I have been on many neurological courses run by drs and parents who have been living with it.
I have learnt that other conditions eg dysgraphia, dyscalcular come along with ADHD and these can come across to teachers as the child just being uncooperative or difficult.
I didn't realise fostering would require me to learn so much, but I have done so by living it and by necessity to ensure my little one has the best possible start to their life.

fasparent Wed 27-Jan-16 11:03:50

Attachment disorders can surface at any age, can be triggered any time.
Need too know child's history, in particular Trauma, and number of previous placements, by placements not just foster care placement's but placements with family, friends, rest bite, etc.
Know of children who have had up to 50 placements by the age o f7 when all are totaled up. Are pretty well mixed up and can be very confusing for all including professionals more so the child.

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