Have you had this encounter with your child recently? When they look around the house, focusing their eyes on an unseen creature that is only visible to them? Well, you are not alone. According to reports from parents and pediatricians, this is a common problem that many undergo.
Children often go through these trance-like experiences. They even smile or giggle at the unseen guests in your house. Kids often look up and down, left and right, some breath deeply or even roll back their eyes. They do not change from their position at all. Some may respond to touches or sound while some do not respond.
This trance-like state is a big worry to any concerned parent. If you are one, then this article is for you. In this article, we study what happens and what it means for your baby. We will also inform you of what you can do to help your child.
Is Going Into a Trance Ordinary?
There are different thoughts on the normalcy of a baby going into a trance-like state. Some authorities say that it is a good sign, while others say that it is not.
Sign of Brain Development
Some authorities in pediatrics say that it’s a sign of brain development. During this time in their lives, they are making new connections. They are also beginning to learn and understand new things in their new environment. According to these authorities, there is no cause for alarm, provided the child is in its early developmental stages.
Petit Mal or Absence Seizure
Some authorities also say that this trance-like state in children may be a sign of danger. It becomes dangerous in the case of children who are below the age of five.
When these trances affect a child’s concentration in school or any other vital activities, this calls for immediate action.
Causes of Absences Seizure
An absence seizure is due to an abnormal brain function. It is unknown why this happens, and there are no warning signs when they are about to happen.
How to Know if It Is an Absence Seizure
Absence seizures are not easy to notice since the baby does not fall on the floor and shake. Instead, it’s like a 15-second pause. The baby may stop talking while in the middle of a conversation. They also stop doing what they had been doing and get back to work as if nothing had transpired. The baby may even smack their lips while making sounds.
Absence Seizure Diagnosis
Absence seizures do not pose any threat in most cases. By the time you take your baby to a pediatrician, it shall have happened for years.
For doctors to diagnose absence seizures, they use an electroencephalogram test. It records the electrical activity of the brain. This ability makes it able to spot any abnormal activity that may pave the way for an attack.
Blood tests, MRI scans, liver and kidney tests can also help in diagnosing absence seizures.
Treatment of Absence Seizures
There are medications available to children suffering from Absence seizures. However, it is good to note that you don’t give any drugs unless you have consulted with your pediatrician. Depending on the case of your child, there are medications that pediatricians recommend for children.
The drugs recommended may also have side effects on your child that may vary. Therefore consult with your pediatrician before you begin giving them medications. The drugs include Ethosuximide, Valproic acid, and Lamotrigine, among others.
Prevention is always better than cure. There are changes in your lifestyle that will help your child since this condition is also hereditary. These same changes can help your child avoid these episodes. They include having proper sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly.
It requires a lot of effort to help your child go through what seems like a phase in life. They endure much as they associate with their peers. It is, therefore, necessary to help them get through these challenges in life. As they face discrimination, it is essential to help them by encouraging them every step of the way.
In most cases where children go through this trance-like state, they have overcome it with time. So there is still hope for your child.
It is quite scary and puzzling when your baby seems to gaze at nothing. At some point, the baby smiles at the unseen. When the states are towards you, it’s as though the child is looking through you.
When you look into these occurrences from one perspective, they appear normal. During infancy, the child’s brain develops; hence several things tend to capture their attention. They seek to simulate and understand all that they see.
Although having a trance in children can be considered normal, it could also be a sign of sickness.
More About Absence Seizures
Absence seizures are a mild type of epilepsy. Abnormal electrical activity in the brain causes them. They can be hereditary though they often occur in healthy children too.
When the seizures occur, the child stops the activity they were engaged in. They stare and remain still; make chewing or smacking noises with their mouth. The child can even stop talking mid-way.
During this period, the child may not respond to one talking to them. The trance lasts for about 15 seconds before the child resumes regular activity. They then go on with what they did as if nothing happened.
Although absence seizures are not dangerous, their frequency can affect your child’s learning and concentration abilities. Unlike other attacks, one does not fall or have fits.
Children aged between 4 and 14 are more likely to have seizures. Girls are mostly affected than boys. Almost half of the children with absence seizures have family members who suffer from attacks as well.
What Parents Should Know About Absence Seizures
How can one differentiate between typical zoning out and this hidden form of epilepsy? It is difficult to distinguish them since absence seizures are hard to detect. Some children may have episodes for years without noticing.
During the spell, if the child does not respond to sound or noise, see your pediatrician. The doctor will evaluate the child and refer you to a pediatric neurologist.
There are some activities that the child cannot participate in freely. You should monitor them during swimming and bathing to avert any danger that could pose to them.
Diagnosis of Absence Seizures
The neurologist administers an in-EEG test to ascertain the child’s brain activity. The test is painless. If irregularities present, the doctor may recommend treatment. The use of an anti-seizure drug or treatment is crucial.
Change of Lifestyle Is Vital
For optimal health, lifestyle change is paramount. The change will help reduce the frequency of seizures. The child needs to have plenty of sleep.
The child should also exercise and have a healthy diet. These adjustments will serve to improve the brain’s health.
Proper management of stress and exhaustion is critical. These are the periods when the spells are more frequent hence the need to watch out.
Can the Seizures Be Outgrown?
Most children outgrow the seizures on their own. Your child can overcome this condition without having lasting problems.
Even so, 10 percent of children with absence seizures grow to develop other forms of attacks. It is thus crucial to carefully and patiently support your child during treatment.
Are There Other Conditions with Similar Symptoms?
Staring into space is one of the signs of autism. There are many other symptoms of autism, however. One should not overreact because of a single character.
It is, however, necessary to have a discussion with your physician for early diagnosis.
Many children who have ADHD also gaze into space while sitting quietly. Although this is the case, this is not sufficient to diagnose them properly.
The doctors conduct several tests for the right diagnosis. Whenever your child goes into a trance, you should keenly observe the baby’s behavior. The parent should take any strange or unprecedented occurrence into account.
Upon visiting your pediatrician, the parent or guardian should lay down all these occurrences. In so doing, the doctor will be in a better position to make the right recommendations. One will also correctly rule out unnecessary suspicions that could be stressful.
Other specific indicators to watch for include the child’s attention span. If the child keeps on daydreaming and appears unable to focus, one should note it. The parent will need the teacher’s help to ascertain this problem correctly.
At school, the teacher should try to record a detailed description of the child’s behavior. The frequency of the attacks and how long the episodes last. The child also tends to isolate themselves from others. As a parent, you should try to help the child cope with the situation.
You can achieve this by having the child participate in activities with you. You can also encourage other children to engage with the child. Such simple measures are necessary for helping the child not to lose social connections.