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2 y/o strange behaviours?

My 2 y/o dd is displaying many out of the norm behaviours that all together do not look good. I cannot say whether it could be PDD-NOS or not, bc they are not exactly consistent in nature. Here are her behavorial issues:

Terrified of strangers: covers eyes until they leave or cry's if they attempt contact, even family if she hasn't seen then in a week or so she will be "shy" for about 10 min. or so. She is especially terrified of men with deep voices!

Delayed speech: began talking but around 2 y/o and very difficult to understand what she is saying, even for a mom! She will use a lot of nouns, but two word sentences that I can understand are few and far between. She will talk like she is having a conversation with me, but I'm clueless.

Food: in the last 2 weeks she has almost all but refused to eat. She will eat 3 specific foods and that is it.

Trantrums: she is throwing frequent tantrums form sunrise to sundown! Trying to dress her, put her to bed, wash her hair, etc and she fights it all.

Touching: does not like her hair touched and will squirm, but not cry.

Strange stuff: freaks out if her sleeves are pushed up or rolled and must immediately fix them, same with her shirt getting pulled up by anything. Also gets very upset when her hands are dirty and her cuffs get wet or food on them. She frequently uses her hair to wipe everything in it too! Recently began throughing a fit when I put her favorite movies on and I can go movie to movie and she still isn't happy until I put one specific movie on. Then out of nowhere she is afraid of a character in her favorite movie the next day! She has balance issues and frequently runs into walls (we're having eyes checked).

Noise: Freaks out if there is a loud noise, even cheering and will burrow her head in my shoulder and try to hide. This goes for trucks or loud cars.

Eyes: constantly squinting, rubbing, and covering her eyes (usually to hide from something she is afraid of).

BM's: TERRIFIED of me seeing her have a BM. Slammed a door in my face the other day to keep me out and if I enter the room she will stop pushing and retain it. She was constipated for 2 weeks due to this. She is also terrified of feces and any atteempt to take her to the potty chair for a BM she loses it.

Overall she has great social skills with me and other women typically. She will begin to play with other kids if in a social setting, but takes her 10 minutes to interact with them and it's limited. She does play and follows her cousin that's 10 y/o around like a god. She loves to cuddle and read or watch movies together. She is progressing in vocabulary, but my mom says all she uses are nouns. I was a slow talker and believed to be mute or possibly deaf until they ran test on me. My mom stated I began conversating around 3.5 y/o.

She does have a unique hisory that may attribute to the above fears and behaviours. She was diagnosed with eosinophilic colitis, due to MFPIES. She cannot tolerate gluten or soy and one point no dairy or corn products (none). She's very delayed in foods and we've intro'd less then 50 foods to date. She is on medication that "backs her up" and has had some hemroid issues and anal fissures recently, due to bowel problems. 3 surgical procedures to date and 3 hospitalizations that resulted in two occasoins of several hours of restraints for an IV (straight). She is terrified of any person in scrubs, but I imagine it's bc most inflict pain on her when they're around! She has never been in child care, as nobody wants the risk with her condition, of liability, so her interaction with others has been limited. We stay home a lot and play together, go for walks and she loves nature, and occasionally venture to family centers for a couple of hours. I do not have any social interaction myself, as I've devoted all time to her special needs. On a positive she is sleeping now, no mucous in stools, and is progressing.

Should I be concerned about PDD or is this related to her "sheltered" life thus far and requires more direct introduction to social settings. We've had restrictions, due to possible virus infections in the past, but I'm willing to risk a hospitalization to keep her form develping a behavioral issue long term.

Any help, thanks.

3 Responses
Avatar universal
I'm wondering if you are dealing with sensory integration issues and social anxiety issues and not PDD-NOS.  You might wish to google "sensory integration disorder" and "childhood anxiety disorders" to see if the symptoms are more in line with your daughter's behaviours.  Sensory issues (as noise, touch, lights, taste, smell, etc), tantrums, fears, inflexibility, bathroom problems, food issues, and hesitancy in social interaction usually are behaviours found in children suffering from anxiety - especially  social anxiety.  Does she also have sleeping issues?

If this is the case, childhood anxiety is very treatable and the prognosis for early intervention is excellent.  Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
She has had sleep issues since birth, but when we moved into our own place and she started eating solids about 4 months ago she was able to sleep through the night. However, with that said at least once a week she will wake up screaming uncontrollable for hours. Typically, she is sweating and her hair and sheet is drenched. I'll try to leave her alone, as ped suggested, and she continues like someone is killing her for hours. If I go in and console her I must rock her back and forth for at least an hour before she'll calm down. I think they're night terrors and she just cannot wake from them, as she looks right through me when I hold her. Sometimes she wakes from naps like that too. I think it may be anxiety related too, as her history shows limited social interaction. I fogot to mention the worst one, I try to do sIng a song or dance or if music comes on and she gets so angry. Will first through a tantrum and if I do not stop she will hit me. It's strange, bc just 6 mo. ago we would dance and I would sing her to sleep all the time. She does it with my parents too. I should note that she did go to a school class of toddlers for 2 hrs one day and the teacher said she was a perfect angle, but got angry when they wanted to wash her hands and appeared afraid. They also said she wouldn't interact with any of the other children and self played. I thought all of this is normal, but my mom is freaking out and wants her seen by a child psychiatrist, bc she thinks it's autism with all the recent press. Is she a handul, yes. However, I find that now that we have her medical condition under more control I am able to set limits and rules, which seem to help. Before I knew she was in physical pain all the time and felt guilty. I responded to every whim, no matter what. I know the behaviours are my fault, but given her pain I would do it all over. It's now just breaking the cycle. The MAJOR problem is that my parents do not honor my wishes to be consistent with her and she does what she wants with them.She's not there often, but I need her to learn good nehaviours. Example, my mom won't even help with the potty chair rules and she's gonna be 2.5 next month and still is terrified of the potty chair. It's been in her room for 8 months now for her to grow used to. They also do not brush her teeth. They don't think it's necessary, bc they are child teeth and she will get a new set as an adult that are more important. Plus, mom feels she can always get a cap or filling if she has a cavity and it won't affect the adult teeth. Warped! That was okay before when we brushed a couple times a week, but now I'm trying to utilize the knowledge the dentisit gave me. Her teeth are very healthy and looked good, but I want them to stay that way. How do I address this and should I get her evaluated or just keep watching to see if it changes? I feel like my mom is trying to control how I raise her and anytime I try to assert myself she gets angry and stops talking to me. In fact, this happened last night when she was trying to make a life decision for me and I refused to let her put judgement on me! Thanks for the help.
Avatar universal
First let me say that many children suffer from anxiety and when the caregivers understand the disorder, things get much better much faster.  I would suggest that you purchase (in a bookstore or on the internet or borrow from the local library) an excellent book "Keys to Parenting Your Anxious Child" by Katharina Manassis.  I belong to a support group for parents and teachers of children suffering from anxiety so I have seen/heard all too often descriptions similar to yours.  This book will help you to understand her issues and give you some options on how to deal with them and with others.

Night terrors are common for some of our children.  For those suffering from serious terrors, the children can often be calmed in a  warm shower.  We have never had to do this with our child - simply comforting her upon waking seemed to do the trick.  Many children do not wake up from these terrors and it appears this is what is happening with your daughter.  As for the song/dance problem - for some reason this really upsets your daughter and she is trying to put some control back into her life by getting the perceived "scary" behaviour to stop.  She cannot control her feelings so she is trying to control her environment (this is just a basic survival instinct)  It could be the motion or the sound; someday she might be able to tell you, but for now, that behaviour on your part is very scary for her.  Her actions in school are so typical - quiet and well-behaved with flashes of aggressiveness and frustration at not being able to mix with the other children.  Was she able to speak to the teacher or children?  Some of our anxiety-ridden children are so fearful they cannot speak, eat or use the washroom while in a perceived unsafe environment i.e. a school.  In case you are wondering, children get anxiety the same way they get blue eyes - inheritance.

Our child was formally diagnosed by a child psychiatrist with severe social anxiety.  The psychiatrist is used only for diagnosis and medication (if the child requires).  A child pediatrician or child psychologist or child neurologist might be a better choice if you would like a formal diagnosis but the treatment is mostly patience and understanding by all of the caregivers as well as a lot of socialization.  I really do urge you to read the above book (or one similar to it) because once you understand the problems your daughter has, then you will be able to help her "cope" with them.  Many of the parents in our support group have found it very difficult to set rules for their child who is suffering from anxiety; but this must be done.  As for feeling guilty, we've all been there but we do the best we can, and no, the behaviours are not your fault nor are they your daughter's.  It is the disorder which "causes" these behaviours and with understanding, these can be changed.  Keep in mind that perceived unsafe environments are causing your daughter great distress and she will need help in learning how to control her fears and manage her anxieties in these situations.    Children do not outgrow anxiety; they learn how to "manage" their anxiety.

As for your parents - as long as they truly love your daughter, they will not be able to do much, if any,  harm - not brushing one's teeth once in a while will not cause a cavity.  Your mother is scared and worried and, if she is like most grandmothers, loves your daughter more than life itself.  At least your mother is trying to "find" an answer (albeit a wrong one) instead of pretending that "everything is fine" as often happens in cases like yours.  Your daughter is very young and has been through a great deal for such a little girl - she is lucky to have so many people who love her.  

Hope this helps.

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