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4 year old girl won't say hello or goodbye

(20 Posts)
upsandowns Sun 12-Apr-15 21:01:37


I am becoming increasingly worried that my DD struggles with social situations and that she may need extra help and even be on the autistic spectrum? ( I know zero about autism so please accept my apologies if i am peddling unscientific stereotypical autism hogwash here).

I should point out that she doesn't avoid eye contact, she speaks well, she wants cuddles and she is very engaged. She seems to be bang on milestone wise in all her physical and intellectual areas. She is super good and wants to do the right thing and it breaks my heart when she struggles!

But, emotionally she does struggle. She struggles to speak to people she doesn't know well and even to people that she does (she still, after 2 years of living next door to them, will not speak to her grandad unless its in a whisper, he is deaf and shouts a bit and she can't handle this).

She will not despite all tactics ( ignoring, encouraging, telling off) say hello or goodbye to anyone. She has told me she loves me but it's once in a blue moon when she is very happy.

She doesn't like change and by that I mean going away but also moving from a task in the house to outside or leaving one room for another! It normally results in a tantrum or at the least pleading on my part.

She often goes into what I call 'baby mode' where she sticks her tongue out a bit, walks strangely and talks in a baby way (does my head in, although I try very hard not to react)

She used to swim beautifully but now freaks out if she gets water on her face ( or in fact her tights or any part of her when she isn't in the bath).

If she hurts herself in any way then it's a major incident and she normally wails for about an hour at full volume for a scratched knee ( again cajoling, telling off and chocolate have almost zero effect).

What I want to know is am I being hyper fussy? Is this all normal stuff for a bright slightly anxious 4 year old girl? Or does this ring alarm bells? If the latter what on earth do I do?

Thank you x

Sometimes she just locks down and I can't get through to her. She will not discuss feelings and struggles to talk about anything emotional.

LilQueenie Sun 12-Apr-15 21:07:26

sounds similar to me as a child. Could it be anxiety at all?

upsandowns Sun 12-Apr-15 21:21:56

Yes I guess it could? I think that I'm going to give her masses of slack and love and time and see whether that helps.

Ineedmorepatience Sun 12-Apr-15 21:49:04

I have a Dd with autism and dont worry you havent said anything offensive!

I actually think that you obviously do have some knowledge about autism so dont put yourself down.

Often parents who suspect that their child has difficulties in some areas of their development are spot on and you have certainly got a great understanding of your Dd.

Has she just started school or is she at nursery? If so has anyone else raised a concern about her?

I wonder if you might get some really good advice from the special needs children board. There are loads of really experienced parents over there who might be able to give you more advice.

I am not suggesting that your Dd has special needs but if you are worried it is a great place smile

Good luck flowers

upsandowns Sun 12-Apr-15 21:53:25

Thank you x

everyusernameisinuse Sun 12-Apr-15 23:12:26

Definitely ask about getting her assessed - she might have nothing at all - but if she does it's better to know sooner

All children with autism are different. DS would often forget to say hello or goodbye because it's like he's a bit zoned out and doesn't seem to 'see' someone when he meets them - but if they're a person if interest to him he will say hello with no prompting.

Maybe your DD is just a little shy rather than austic?

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Sun 12-Apr-15 23:16:25

She sounds shy. Four year olds are often very silly, my four year old was way more sensible in some ways as a two year old than she is now.

Good luck

DIYandEatCake Mon 13-Apr-15 00:26:26

My 4 year old is very similar. She's never said hello or bye to anyone except me or, recently, her dad. She deigns to wave this little awkward wave if I ask her to say goodbye (like when her teachers at nursery say goodbye at home time), which is progress. She also won't often say thank you to anyone which is worse really. We're making slow progress - I've discovered the most successful thing so far is talking to her before going out and telling her that I expect her to say 'yes please' or 'no thank you' if offered something etc. it's worked a couple of times. I feel embarrassed and frustrated about it as she is a lovely little girl but can come across quite stand-offish and rude.
She is also the same about minor 'injuries' (sometimes completely imagined ones) the extremely loud fake crying goes on for ages. And the baby behaviour - she has a 16mo brother who she copies a lot too, talking like him and doing silly stuff she wouldn't have dreamed of before. After being dry at night for nearly a year she's also gone back to nighttime nappies after months of bedwetting (no medical cause found). I feel awful that she seems to be suffering a lot of anxiety/insecurity and no amount of one-to-one attention or cuddles seem to make a difference.
I'll be following the replies here with interest as I've also wondered if there is something 'wrong' with her. She's been extremely highly strung since newborn, and struggles socially (she didn't speak to another child til she was 3, used to scream if someone tried to play with her, she's made huge progress but doesn't ever initiate conversation/play, just responds to or copies other children).

blueemerald Mon 13-Apr-15 00:34:03

Even if she isn't on the spectrum your daughter might find some of the strategies designed for children with ASD helpful.

For example 'now and next cards' help with changing place or task.

BackforGood Mon 13-Apr-15 01:08:37

Yes, as you've asked for our opinions, it does ring alarm bells for me.

Does she attend Nursery or school or playgroup at all?
Can you make an appointment to have a chat with them and see if they have any concerns?

As others have said, I would ask GP for a referral to a Peadiatrician and see what they feel.

upsandowns Mon 13-Apr-15 13:32:47

Thanks I will let you know how we get on

upsandowns Mon 13-Apr-15 13:51:37

I've just had a great chat with DDs nursery -they are wonderful and they are going to get me a meeting with the woman there that acts as a link between the school and the nursery. They were very comforting without being dismissive. Thank you all for giving me the confidence to do this. X

BackforGood Mon 13-Apr-15 17:22:48

Great. It's the first step. smile

Nancyclancy Tue 14-Apr-15 19:03:50

My dd is very similar, she's just coming up to her 4th birthday. Both myself & her pre school wondered if she was possibly on the autistic spectrum. It's so difficult because no two children are the same.

My dd is definitely shy and suffers from anxiety and I certainly find some strategies used to help children with autism fab! I explain to my dd what we are doing each day, who we are going to see etc and if I'm positive with her she's 100 times better. Days when I'm feeling negative and I'm not quite on the ball, she reverts back.

What I've really noticed is she's so much like me. I'm naturally anxious, over think things. So it's really hard to know if it's autism/personality/genes or a combination.

Nancyclancy Tue 14-Apr-15 19:07:10

There is no harm in having your dd checked/kept an eye on. That's what we are doing. Her pre school have been fab and once we know she's got into primary school, they are going to help out to make the transition over to school easier.
Possibly even a one to one until she's settled.

JaniceJoplin Tue 14-Apr-15 19:10:55

My Dd was a bit like that until about 6 months ago, but she's coming out of it alright. I just think social nuances take a while to learn for some. Not everyone knows exactly what to say when. She told me yesterday she asked the dinner lady if she had had a nice Easter which showed me just how she'd changed. She's 4.6 now.

LilQueenie Tue 14-Apr-15 21:01:58

mention selective mutism to them. With the right help you can grow out of it. It sounds very much like that. Hope you get answers soon.

rhetorician Tue 14-Apr-15 22:08:43

Hello - my dd is now 6, but this sounds quite similar to her. She barely spoke at all at nursery as a wee thing and even now doesn't really say hello or goodbye. She will talk to adults and kids about things that interest her and really has improved, but her social skills I'd say are well behind many of her peers. But I hear her playing with her sister and she does have the skills (or enough of them, anyway!) but just can't use them in situations which make her anxious (social ones, primarily). The transitions thing is true of her too - she finds it really difficult to stop doing one thing and do another. We are in the process of getting her assessed, but couldn't really second guess the outcome - there's "something", but not quite sure what. Talk to people and find out as much as you can

upsandowns Thu 09-Jul-15 10:00:14

Thank you all so much, things are so much better.

I have done a lot of reading about autism and all sorts and I have really changed my approach with her and the response has been great. She is much happier and more confident. I don't think we will be going down the GP route as she would find that incredibly stressful.

I think the biggest thing is that I have started to appreciate that things that I think are not important are often of huge importance to her and just acknowledging that rather than dismissing it makes her feel much better. Our relationship is now based on love and trust again which is wonderful. she still has tricky times but these are less often and fade more quickly. I feel so much better about it all and much happier with my parenting.

I will have a look at SM as I haven't found anything that fits well yet, she does have behaviours that match with aspergers etc but these disappear when she is happy and confident.

I can't thank you enough for enabling me to sort this out


rhetorician Thu 09-Jul-15 22:50:22

upsanddowns that's a lovely update - so glad to hear things have improved so much! well done you!

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