Separation Anxiety

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2010
Separation Anxiety
1
Wed, 06-30-2010 - 11:10pm

My step-son is being testing in a couple weeks and we highly suspect he has AS. VERY strong traits and a Gilliam Scale screening showed a 80% or higher likelihood and his social area was off the chart by almost double. One issue we are having lately is that he will not let us out of his sight. We almost have to fight with him (6 yo) to go to the bathroom or change clothes in private. He won't take a bath unless you sit with him, he will either take a shower or quickly wash himself in the tub to get out. He constantly yells for us to see where we are. The other day he walked around the car to tell his step-sister bye and we walked to the front of the car the other way. When he came around the car and we weren't standing there he almost freaked and you could see the anxiety in his eyes. His anxiety is just off the chart and we have to really watch what we say around him because he is very intelligent and perceptive. He is suddenly having issues waking up in the middle of the night too and we have to sit in his room to make him go back to sleep or he REFUSES to stay in bed.

Anyone have suggestions on how to ease his anxiety about not being able to see us? We have tried reassuring him that we won't leave the house to even get the mail when he's napping but nothing helps. This has worsened recently after his mother and I had to spend two weeks away for work 2 months ago and then another couple weeks with a death in the family recently. I'm sure it's an exaggerated form of separation anxiety. Is there anything we can do other than spend time with him and let it naturally ease? When he's with his biological father for an extended period of time like that it seems to trigger this behavior and I suspect his father to have AS too, but was never diagnosed nor treated so he is VERY difficult to deal with and he denies that the boy has any issues and always tries to minimize it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Wed, 06-30-2010 - 11:46pm

My DS had a lot of anxieties and fears. Based on our experiences with my DS, I'd strongly suggest therapy for your SS. One thing that I learned was that anxieties and fears most times DON'T go away on their own...aren't outgrown. What my DS' therapist did with him was something called systematic desensitization. My DS was gradually exposed to what was causing the fear and anxiety (in his case, dogs was the biggest fear) until he was desensitized to it. It's steady baby steps until the child is no longer fearful. One caveat, though. It took about 18 months (with the therapist), and then we still had to keep working on it with my DS (without the therapist) so that he didn't regress.