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To feel I should point out to a mum that her daughter is clearly on the autistic spectrum?

(152 Posts)
StaM Mon 29-Oct-12 21:44:58

I run a Brownies group.

An eight year old girl joined us in March. From the very class, i knew she was 'different' from the other girls. She displayed many of the traits my daughter has (who has a diagnosis of ASD - high functioning).

After a few weeks, I talked to the other Leader and she agreed the girl was different but said nothing more of it.

Over the months, volunteers have changed and I'm the only original Leader remaining since the girl started. I've been biting my tongue to say something to the mum, as i obviously didn't want to cause upset/offence. But I've noticed the little girl is seriously struggling socially, and it's not nice to watch.

She acts rather 'pompous; around the other girls. Very grown up, uses large words etc. She doesn't see that she is boring them, or that they are desperate for her to be quiet. The girl will not sit with the others, and opts to sit at the side/in the background. It's seriously like watching my own daughter, and my heart breaks each class for her. She seems really on edge when asked to do a group activity, or anything which involves mixing with the other girls.

I honestly think she could be doing with some assistance/help in social skills like my daughter is receiving. I have an urge every week to take her mum aside at hometime and ask her about her daughter's difficulties, but I don't think her mum would appreciate it.

I've tried talking to the new leader about it, but she's quite old fashioned and doesn't 'believe' in autism ( didn't say this as such though as she knew it would offend me). She basically said 'nothing is on the girl's medical/form, so there's nothing we can do'.

I understand the school would have picked up on this, but as far as i can see, the little girl isn't getting any more relaxed. So I'm not sure whether or not she's already getting help. She definitely needs social skills help. I try and get her to join in, or go and chat with her when she's sitting aside, but she's not interested.

Sorry for the rambling. Just looking for advice. Should I let it be, or should I say something to her mum?

PinkFairyDust Mon 29-Oct-12 21:50:57

Tricky one....but I would say something to the mum and word it very gently

I wouldn't tell her she has the same traits as your daughter who has autism, will get up back up no doubt if she thinks there is nothing wrong with her.

Equally mum might ow something is not quite right but doesn't know what.

Speak to her because your doing the best you can for that child.

Worst she can do is take her out of brownies sad

Good luck

picturesinthefirelight Mon 29-Oct-12 21:51:48

I run dramaclasses for children and have similar concerns in the Past.

Unless you are medically qualified you should in no uncertain terms Not tell mum her daughter is on the spectrum.

What you can do us express concerns about the child socially and adj if she has similar difficulties at school, has mum any concerns and suggest that maybe she seeks further advice.

GrimAndHumourless Mon 29-Oct-12 21:52:17

the child may be shy, or be lacking in social skills, or have dyspraxia, or be being bullied at school

you are an expert in your DD's condition, but your experience should not lead you to try to diagnose another person

Does the Brownie organisation have procedures laid down for you to follow?

HeinousHecate Mon 29-Oct-12 21:53:09

I don't think you can diagnose her, I think all you can do is tell the mum what you've observed. eg, she appears to be struggling with x, y, z. This happened, that happened, when such and such happens, this is what she does, etc.

And maybe ask her if there's anything you can do that you're not doing atm.

basically try to create a situation where the mum can open up to you, if she wants to. you can then discuss it further, perhaps mentioning your own experiences.

I don't think telling her her daughter's clearly on the autistic spectrum would be the best way to open it, tbh

olibeansmummy Mon 29-Oct-12 21:54:23

Tbh I think YMightNBU to say you have some concerns about her social interaction, but YWBVU to try and diagnose autism in her. Plus you don't really know what support she may be getting at school already.

SamSmalaidh Mon 29-Oct-12 21:54:27

Are you proposing to do something during Brownies that will make the girl's life easier?

If you are going to say to the Mum "I have noticed your DD struggles with X, what do you think about doing Y at Brownies?" then fair enough. If you are going to say "I think your DD is autistic, you should do something about it/I do xyz with my DD" then don't.

Spatsky Mon 29-Oct-12 21:55:14

I would not advise saying anything as you are ot qualified to do so and if there is something as bcious as you think it's highly likely that school have already picked it up with the parents.

I know you mean we'll but a friend had something like this with a neighbour who told my friend she thought her son seemed. The spectrum (language delay) and she was really upset and he isn't autistic (this was years ago) so a lot of upset for no benefit whatsoever.

Like picture said, addressing social difficulties Ian general and sensitive manner would be more apropriate

Aboutlastnight Mon 29-Oct-12 21:55:51

Ate you an educational psychologist?

coffeeandcream Mon 29-Oct-12 21:57:33

I agree with what pictures and grim said, you are in no way qualified to diagnose a medical condition, even if you have a lot of personal experience of the condition.

On the other hand, you sound genuinely concerned for the child and maybe a gentle discussion with the mum saying you've noticed she seems to have some difficulties could help. The school are the best people surely to get her the help she needs.

kige Mon 29-Oct-12 21:57:45

It could be that the mother knows but did not put it n the form.

From your perspective, all you can really do is to tell the mother about the problems her dd has at brownies factually. You can't mention asd imo. And yes I do think the school must have an idea of this.

MrsCantSayAnything Mon 29-Oct-12 21:58:46

Not your job. Yabu.

Figgygal Mon 29-Oct-12 21:59:04

Sorry unless you are a doctor u should absolutely say nothing!!

Spatsky Mon 29-Oct-12 21:59:21

It may be that she is in the process of getting a diagnosis it doesn't have one yet, I understand it can take ages, and therefore there is nothing concrete to actually put n the form yet.

OpheliaPayneAgain Mon 29-Oct-12 21:59:32

Well, unless you are professionally qualified to diagnose, I think your opinion may not be well received.

MadBusLadyHauntsTheMetro Mon 29-Oct-12 21:59:58

I don't have any experience with SN. But, well, this sounds a bit strange TBH. You want to tell her mum she's "clearly on the autistic spectrum" because she's "pompous", has a large vocabulary and doesn't like teamwork? I thought you were going to say she's screaming at odd moments or hitting the other children or something.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Mon 29-Oct-12 22:00:34

This must be very difficult for you. I can only offer my own experience. My DS2 s 'old school' cub leader did us a huge favour by using the word Asperger's. Whilst we all knew DS2 was a bit quirky, neither we nor the school pinned it down. Though this was 7 years or so ago. School called in Behaviour Support and they didn't spot it either.

I was so grateful to his cub leader for saying it as she saw it but I would tread very very carefully.

FizzyLaces Mon 29-Oct-12 22:01:15

OMG NO. You can't do this. I wouldn't even diagnose my sister's (if I had one!) child and I have worked around autism for years.

nokidshere Mon 29-Oct-12 22:02:45

I agree with heinoushectate

As a brownie leader it would be fine to say that the child is struggling with x y and z - buts thats all.

StaM Mon 29-Oct-12 22:03:19

Sorry, yes you're right. I should definitely not say she's on the spectrum. It's just because she's so similar to my daughter down to her stimming, and her tone of voice, and her vocabulary/interactions etc. I honestly do believe she has HFA too.

I'm only an assistant guider but the Leader in charge said there's nothing we can do as there's nothing on the girl's form. If I go to the mum without this leader's blessing - which she doesn't want to give - I'll be in a bit of bother.

There's just so many things she's struggling with that I can't pick one to bring up to her mum. i.e. just mention that she doesn't like to join in.

picturesinthefirelight Mon 29-Oct-12 22:03:33

The advise I gave was based on what I was told on an autism training course with one of the countries leading experts on working with children with autism. The course was specifically for leaders and teachers of extra curricular activities.

I highly recommend her by the way, her name is Gina Davies

GrimAndHumourless Mon 29-Oct-12 22:05:38

need to log in to see what guidance to leaders the GG offers

I am imagining a flowchart kind of thing for leaders to follow, something like:

have a concern/observed x y z.....> call Area Leader Team for guidance

sausagesandwich34 Mon 29-Oct-12 22:06:13

I am a brownie leader

your county will have a special needs advisor, you either need to look them up in the county directory or speak to your district commissioner to put you in touch -take advice from them about whether or not to approach the mother and the best way to do it

alternatively they will be able to support you in intergrating the girl into the meetings -I have a little girl with quite severe aspergers in my pack and it's a challenge but she gets a lot out of it so I will continue working with her

she has made massive improvements and will actually join in with some things now rather than just watching

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 29-Oct-12 22:06:22

i would not under any circumstances mention autisum or any medical issue that requires a formal dx.

i say that for a few reasons, it could go down very very badly mum could be hurt and even get cross,you are not a dr so should not dx anything and as a parent with children with asd you do see it every where even when it is either not there or is something compleatly different.

try "ive noticed your dd struggling with social suituations,its very obvious that she really wants to join in but finds it hard to comunicate that to the other children, does she have problems like this elsewhere? have you concidered talking to dd's school and finding out how they help her interact and do you have any tips you could share with us to make sure she feels confident here"

something like that shouldnt put her back up,will make you sound caring as opposed to telling her something is 'wrong' and if mum has noticed it could really help because you will be confirming that its noticable.

it could be that mum knows but nobody is listening or she has no idea either way.

GrimAndHumourless Mon 29-Oct-12 22:07:40

ah, x post

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