Q. My adopted daughter has DID. I have recently adopted 2 girls from extended family and they come from severe abuse and neglect. The youngest has DID. We watch it everyday and not all of her personalities are bad. I have learned to deal with most of them but some are dangerous. We are working on getting her alot of help. My question is, are there any other children with this? She just turned 12. Are there any other parents out there? Is there anything that has or has not worked for others? I feel as if we are swimming in to the abyss sometimes. Residential seems like our only alternative. We have two biological children in the home as well. All the information we can find is on young adults and adults. She doesn’t even realize what she has. Please…I need advice

A. It is relatively uncommon for a child to be diagnosed with DID but the research literature shows that there are a small number of children and adolescents who are diagnosed with the disorder. I am not aware of any specific programs geared towards children with DID or their parents but one organization that may be helpful is the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. A specific page of the website may be helpful to parents can be found here.

I would also suggest that you contact your local National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) office to inquire about whether there are support groups or other related services available for parents of children with DID. You might be able to find some support from groups who focus on issues related to traumatized children, children who dissociate or have post traumatic stress disorder.

Lastly there are two books that may be helpful to you entitled: Dissociative children: Bridging the inner and outer worlds published in 1996 by Lynda Shirar and Dissociation in children and adolescents: A developmental perspective by Frank Putnam published in 1997. I hope this helps.