For the Classroom

Zoning Out and Staring Spells. Can You Diagnose Our Mock Patient?

  • Published8 May 2020
  • Reviewed8 May 2020
  • Author Lynnie Fein-Schaffer
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN

The guidance counselor of a 14-year-old female patient has noticed she’s been having difficulty in school, and her grades have been slipping. She often appears to be zoning out in class and is unable to recall anything from the lesson during these staring spells, although previously she had been an excellent student. She blinks her eyes very fast, almost as if her eyelids are fluttering, and rubs her fingers together. Her classmates have started to notice her strange behavior.

If you were this teen’s doctor, what tests would you order? Review the tests in the image below, then select a maximum of three you would order to make your diagnosis.


What disorder do you think this patient is experiencing?