Updated 04/14/2011 06:15 PM
Child psychologist calls 10-year-old survivor's actions "extraordinary"
Just days after La'Shaun Armstrong became the sole survivor of a horrible tragedy, YNN's Megan Eaton talked with a child psychologist to discuss the effects this incident could have on the 10-year-old boy.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- When LaShanda Armstrong plunged her minivan -- with her four children inside -- into the Hudson River, her oldest son reacted.
"Think about the terror of being in the water, in the car, not able to get out not being able to breathe, or if there was a little bit of air in there knowing that you have to get out," said Dr. Rudy Nydegger, a child psychologist.
Rolling down the window, 10-year-old La'Shaun jumped out of the sinking vehicle, swam 25 yards to shore, and soaking wet, hailed down a passerby to get help. Dr. Nydegger calls his actions extraordinary.
He said, "The intelligence and the courage and the foresight to think that this young youngster could be able to pull all that together."
Nydegger said La'shaun was able to do something physically and mentally that would be difficult for anyone, at any age. Unfortunately, his two younger brothers and 11-month-old sister died along with his mother. Nydegger said in tragedies like this, there are usually no survivors.
"He has to deal with, I almost died. He has to deal with, what if I could have done more to help my siblings? These are all things he will have to sort through," Nydegger said.
Nydegger said it's important to get La'shaun into therapy right away. However, he may not be willing or able to process what happened just yet.
"There's not much you can do in terms of treatment initially other than some reassurances, some coping strategies. But establishing a good therapeutic base to work through is important here," Nydegger said.
According to Nydegger, the good news is, as long as La'Shaun receives proper long-term care, he should be able to lead a happy and productive life.