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Need help with DD, do you think this could be autism or something else?

(37 Posts)
dontevenblink Tue 22-May-18 23:37:45

I've put this thread here for the traffic as I could really do with some advice. I'm sorry it is so long I just really needed to tell someone it all.

DD is 10. We have always had some difficulties with her, she can be very loving, but she has a lot of tantrums and can get violent, she really struggles socially and she gets down a lot. I think I have tried to put a lot of these things down to age etc. but as she has got older they have not improved, and have even got worse in some cases. I have thought for some time she may be on the high functioning side of autism, but to be honest wasn't sure if I was overthinking, or if it would help her to pursue it.

Things have come to a bit of a head this week though and an incident at school has made me really think she might need some extra help. I have a meeting with her teacher tomorrow morning. I really need some advice as to whether you think this is just anxiety or something else.

DD really struggles with social situations and finds it very tricky to keep friends. She likes one best friend but finds it difficult to speak in a group. She avoids eye contact and if an adult she doesn't know speaks to her she shuts down and finds it difficult to answer, she will reply, but very quietly and her face goes blank if you see what I mean. She likes to control play and struggles if someone doesn't follow the rules. If a friend is round and they don't want to play the game in the way she wants she gets upset. She is also a stickler for rules and sees everything very black and white. She does, however, have an amazing imagination, her creative writing and use of language is excellent and she is working well above her age group in that area, her reading level is also very high and she reads a lot, although often rereading the same book. She does have a tendency to over-exaggerate and almost invent situations, for example she'll tell me what happened in a situation but then add in a lot of her own ideas so it takes a while to get to the truth, but I think often she actually believes her story actually happened iyswim, and will be adamant she is right. She gets very anxious if she thinks she is wrong and will go to great lengths to prove she is right, eg she asked me what 3x125 was when she was baking, she had got the answer to 315 but when I tried to explain to her the breakdown of the sum she got her calculator out and was trying lots of different ways to prove she was right, and got very distressed when she couldn't.

She is very sensitive, if someone looks at her the wrong way it can upset her a lot, she falls out with friends because she said they looked at her smugly for example. She is really struggling at school as she says it is full of bullies, her examples seem to be people pushing past her in the playground, or wanting to play where she is or change her game for their own. She says she struggles with her friends as they want to play things she doesn't and they don't want to play her games, and I think here is that she has a game planned out in her head and if they don't follow this she gets upset. Her best friend is not in her class this year and she is struggling with the fact her bf has another close friend. The sensitivity means that the slightest thing can set her off crying though and she is often very down when she gets home from school. I think she holds it in all day but when she gets home it all erupts. She can have days when she is fine, but then the slightest thing, eg a look from her brother or me asking her to do something can set it off. When she does fall apart she screams as loud as she can, throws things and lashes out. She wrestled me to the ground last week because I took something off her and she was trying to forcibly get it back from me. She has taken to picking up items when her Dad is telling her off and hitting him with them, she hit him around the head with a large plastic toy the other day. She will eventually calm down and when I talk to her she says it was an accident and that she didn't mean to do it, it just happened, she couldn't control it. She tells me that she sits on her hands as she is tempted to open the door when we are driving, or throw her ipad in the pool when we are watching her siblings swimming. She doesn't do it, but says she feels a really strong urge to.

She is very sensitive to noise, she always put her hands over her ears when the hand dryers were on in toilets, but she hasn't grown out of it and still won't use them. She won't wear socks as she doesn't like the feel of them and she won't wear a lot of clothes as she says they are itchy or she doesn't like the feel of them on her skin. The same goes for shoes. With food, she won't eat a lot of foods, but she says it is the texture she doesn't like, eg. potatoes are too fluffy. She is also very sensitive to touch, if we take her arm for example she will shout 'ow', or claim we hit her. I thought it was just wanting attention, but I am starting to wonder if it is something more.
She has a lot of talent though, although very quiet in school, she will get up in front of the whole school and sing. She has a beautiful voice and perfect pitch, and won the school talent show for example. She loves her drama classes. School says she does very well in lessons.

What has really scared me is how negative and down she seems. She will always focus on a negative thing, be it an earring someone is wearing, or always something negative that has happened, and I have been trying to get her to think of one positive first. She told me last night that she hates real life and she wishes it was a fairy tale, and that everything is horrible and she couldn't think of any positives and that she just feels upset all the time. It was heartbreaking to hear, and I am really worried about her, especially worried that these feelings will only get worse.

Do you think this could be autism, or just anxiety and upset? I don't know if getting her assessed will help, or will it hinder her in the future? I am in NZ and I don't really know how the system works either. I am sorry this is so long, I just feel so upset and worried and I really just needed to get it all out. What can I do to help her??

Fanjango Tue 22-May-18 23:42:00

It sounds likely to me, though no professional I have done lots of research. My son is asd as aids mystep daughter....youngest daughter has her ados next week and she displays less than your dd. Get a refferal in for assessment., girls can mask so well they struggle and suffer in silence.

Fanjango Tue 22-May-18 23:42:58

Have you seen the Nasen guide to asd in girls? Worth a look x

greencybermummy Tue 22-May-18 23:43:18

Google 'Nasen' they have an excellent download called girls under the radar which may help you to find out specifics about girls and autism.

Fanjango Tue 22-May-18 23:47:47

Great minds Green. My son is asd and have ados for dd next week, they present so very differently

GreenTulips Tue 22-May-18 23:55:37

It can be scary to have your child assess and labelled - but sometimes they need that recognition to understand their behaviour and have the help they need to cope. Life skills.

I'd be suprised if school aren't aware of the things you describe and should be able to offer some advise. But - if she's coping in school and doing well academically she may not get any support via school.

coffeelaydee Tue 22-May-18 23:58:53

Literally everything you said about your daughter is what I'm experiencing with mine(also 10).

She is also sensitive to touch, even if I brush her hair (super carefully)!

She's being assessed for PDA.

Wishing you luck

AornisHades Wed 23-May-18 00:01:57

There's a lot there that is how my dd who is diagnosed behaved at 10.
I listen quietly to the litany of what went wrong whem she comes home. I absorb it. Then she goes to her room to decompress. That works for us.
When she melts down she gets told to go to her room and calm down. It's horrible to hear but it's the only way. Intervention only makes it worse. It's not a punishment. It's her safe space.

dontevenblink Wed 23-May-18 00:05:31

Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it. I'll have a look at the Nasen guide. There has been a study recently in Australia which I was having a read of.

She is coping academically at school and is working above targets, in fact she says the work is too easy. Where she needs the support is the social side I think and I'm not sure she is getting it. It is a big school, about 600, and I do worry she gets lost within it. I'm also not sure how supportive school will be, my friend is going through a similar thing with her ds, in a different part of NZ, and the school have not been supportive at all and she has struggled to find outside support. Is this something I should go to the Drs about do you think? And do I take dd with me or go on my own first?

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 23-May-18 00:06:37

There's a lot there that sounds like ASD.

Hopefully she can access an assessment and then some support.

Once a person understands more about what makes them tick it can really help.

dontevenblink Wed 23-May-18 00:12:16

coffeelaydee thanks. We also have a lot of shouts when I brush her hair, no matter how gently. She used to refuse to brush it at all, and now she wants to all the time and insists on taking her hairbrush with her when we go out. Good luck with your dd's assessment.

Aornis I also always listen quietly to her, but we have the trouble that she often refuses to go to her room when she melts down and will get violent if I try to take her there (as I'm worried she will hurt her younger siblings). When she does go to her room she manages to calm down well and comes out to apologise and seems absolutely fine again.

dontevenblink Wed 23-May-18 00:22:17

Thanks so much to the links for that Nasen guide, I have just read through it and so much rings true about dd. I hadn't even linked the fact she has trouble sleeping to possibly being part of a bigger problem. I'm going to email that document to her teacher and ask him to have a read through it before I meet him tomorrow and see what he thinks to how it relates to how she is at school.

AornisHades Wed 23-May-18 00:30:18

Yes we get the calm when she emerges but rarely an apology! smile We''ve maybe got the warning signs of needing her space earlier because I have ASD too.

AornisHades Wed 23-May-18 00:31:24

Yes to trouble sleeping too. Mind too hard to turn off.

dontevenblink Wed 23-May-18 00:34:04

You see, I wonder if I may well have ASD too, I have a lot of issues myself around eye contact, shutting down in groups, and I always felt like I was different in school and found it hard to fit in at school and it caused a lot of issues for me in my later teenage years. I've never asked for an assessment though, but I really don't want dd to suffer in silence if there is something I can do to help her, it breaks my heart seeing her so upset.

dontevenblink Wed 23-May-18 00:35:17

Yes exactly Aornis with the sleeping, she says she can't turn off, then she gets so tired the next day.

MsGameandWatching Wed 23-May-18 00:38:40

It sounds likely. I have an 11 year old dd who was diagnosed aged 5. She's very high functioning but I already had a child with autism so I knew what to ask for and was able to negotiate the diagnostic process more easily. Your description of your dd sounds very like my girl.

MsGameandWatching Wed 23-May-18 00:40:32

Go to your GP alone first. I had to as my dd would not tolerate being spoken about in front of her. A lot of what you say could sound negative to her as well and you need to be free to voice all your concerns.

movinggoalposts Wed 23-May-18 01:41:23

Some of this sounds very familiar and we are going through the diagnosis process at the moment.

dontevenblink Wed 23-May-18 02:23:29

How does the diagnosis process work movinggoalposts? I'm worried about it being hard on dd. DH has been into the doctors during his lunchbreak today and has just rung to say he's made an appointment for us both to see the dr about dd (without dd, thanks MsGame for advice) next week so we'll see how we go from there.

These are the times I wish I was back in the UK with family support, thank you all for making me feel less alone and putting my thoughts in order.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 23-May-18 07:11:34

Do you mind saying where you are? Sorry if I missed this.

Autism assessment and support varies quite a bit depending where you are.

My ds1 hasn't found it too bad. It's been 4 appts with a camhs mental health nurse then there's a one hour assessment with a psychologist.
The awkwardness of it has balanced against a feeling he's getting some support

OneWildNightWithJBJ Wed 23-May-18 07:24:21

I just wanted to add that you're not alone. Reading your post was quite surreal as I could have written that about my DS, also 10, apart from the clothes, as he likes to be covered up and will never wear T-shirts, however hot it is. We're currently on a referral list. School have been having chats with him for the anxiety and do small group work. I think my son has sensory issues, possible OCD, anxiety and either high-functioning autism or PDA. I hope you get the support you need, as It's hard.

PoppySeedRoll Wed 23-May-18 07:32:28

Yes, I would agree it is. I have two children with autism. DD’s didn’t really erupt until puberty though. She was just very clever and “quirky” to everyone before.

QueenOfMyDomain Wed 23-May-18 07:59:21

She sounds exactly like my son who is being assessed for Autism.
Good luck with it, the process is very very long (3 years almost for us) in the uk at least.

dontevenblink Wed 23-May-18 09:00:43

superloud I'm in New Zealand, so I'm not sure at all what the system here is going to be like. I know the area I'm in has long waiting lists in general so it is a possibility it could be a long wait.

Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone, it's comforting in a way to know there are others out there like her and that help might be available.

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