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any wise advice re dd2 and her behaviour??

(43 Posts)
steppemum Fri 30-Sep-16 15:22:20

dd2 is 8, just started year 4. She is youngest of 3. Bright, does well at school, articulate, sociable.
But there are one or two things in her behaviour which are really starting to worry my and we have had a few incidents in the last few weeks that have highlighted them.
She doesn't seem to have any awareness of danger. She keeps making bad choices which at times could be dangerous. She will happily go up to and chat with ANYBODY, at any time, with no sense of stranger awareness. She will be very sensible crossing roads etc and then run out across the road becuase she is cross/upset.

She is also at the moment having loads of melt downs. Usually over minor things, and when she is angry she will lash out at older sister and kick/hit even bite because she is cross. When she is having a melt down, she is like a toddler, with no stop button. She has no natural self restraint.

She finds chnage and transition difficult and always has, she has a minor medical condition that is worse when stressed and every year it is bad through August and gets worse until the first day of term, then it disappears. That was true again this year, despite her new teacher being one she has had before.

There have been a few changes lately and I am sure that has contributed to her being worse, dd1 has left the school to go to secondary. There have been a few changes to routine as we adjust to 2 in secondary. Dad has been away for work for a week, and has just left for a further 2 weeks. but. I don't know, it just feels like something doesn't add up with her.
Sometimes her empathy is good, but she does some stuff which shows a real lack of understanding of others. The main one is that she pinches stuff from her siblings rooms, and when caught doesn't really understand why they are so upset.

Needless to say there are always consequences to her behaviour, and we are consistent and fair, but to be honest, she doesn't care about the consequences for more than a few minutes, and sometimes just cannot see why the consequence is fair. eg, she took a toy from dd1, so I allowed dd1 to remove a toy from dd2's bedroom. dd2 couldn't understand why that was fair - but she might take my favourite toy! When I asked if dd1 had had any choice about the toy she lost, dd2 still didn't get it. When I said that dd1 was just as upset as she was, she couldn't see the link.
Perhaps it would be more true to say she coudl see the link, but couldn't see why I would apply it, because she would be upset.

Sorry, long and rambling, don't know what I'm asking really sad

steppemum Fri 30-Sep-16 21:06:30


BarbarianMum Fri 30-Sep-16 21:34:15

A lot of the undesirable behaviours you describe don't sound like intentionally bad behaviour, more as though there is a disconnect between what is expected of a child her age and what she's capable of. Is that true, do you think?

Would you say that you are getting more worried about her as she gets older, or less?

What do you think might be going on? (there is a point to these questions, honest).

What do you think might be going on.

BarbarianMum Fri 30-Sep-16 21:35:06

Sorry for the repetitions. Stupid phone!

steppemum Fri 30-Sep-16 21:49:18

yes, although superficially she is being 'naughty' I really feel it comes froma disconnect. I think that is a good word actually.

Yes I am more worried. Some of this was normal at 4, not unusual at 6 but now (to me) feels out of synch at 8.

It is at odds with the other side which is the birght, funny, articulate, sociable side. I think that because that side of her exists, I have been slow to notice the other side, the emotionally immature side if you like.

samsonthecat Fri 30-Sep-16 22:11:09

She sounds similar to my DD2 who is 9 and currently being assessed for autism. The constant meltdowns over minor things are wearing, I've been waiting since she was 2 for her to grow out of it. She also steals things from me and from her sister. She says she takes them because she wants them. She doesn't seem to be able to understand it's wrong and upsets us.
No advice really, just hoping someone else has.

BarbarianMum Fri 30-Sep-16 22:15:07

There's a game I've been playing with myself - it's called "is ds2 just a bit odd and immature for his age (as I was, many years ago) or is there something else going on? Ds2 is 8 and I've been playing it for 6 years though - so I can empathise with how you're feeling quite well.

I was a bit of an oddball as a child - quite highly strung and always seemingly much younger than my peers. Sometimes I think ds2 is just like me, and I grew out of it (well the immaturity anyway).
Then again, in some ways ds2 is a lot like his uncle, who was diagnosed with high functioning autism in his 40s. Obviously, if that's what is going on, he's not going to grow out of it. What we've decided is that, if the gap between him and his peers seems to be growing wider, we will ask for a referral to a developmental paed with a view to asking the experts.
So far, we are growing less worried about ds2 as he gets older, so right now we are watching and waiting.
With regard to your dd, if you are getting more worried not less, then I'd do something proactive about it. If you don't want to talk to your GP about your concerns, I'd suggest doing some reading up, maybe starting with how autism presents - (in girls specifically - v different from boys) and see if anything rings any bells. You could also try reposting in the Special Needs section here - the mums there are really helpful and may be able to reassure you that all is fine, or suggest avenues to explore.

steppemum Fri 30-Sep-16 22:16:15

I'm trying to unpick it in my own mind.

for example. She walks by herself to the library at the end of our road. This year she started walking to and from school. That was never a question or an issue, she is fine, her older siblings did this at same end and were fine etc.

But last week, I walked up to meet her at the library and she was on the way home in a massive strop as she had argued with her friend.

Massive emotional strop in the street, screaming and shouting etc, dispproportionate. When I wasn't initially very sympathetic, she took off running straight across the road. Very quiet side road that we live on, she didn't need to cross it, she was running from me.

She lost all ability to follow danger codes because she was upset.

Last night we went to the theatre, group ticket from school, so small theatre full of our school families and teachers.
At the end she asked if she could go up the stairs on the other side from where we were sitting to the exit. No reason why not, meet you at the top.
When we got to the top she had gone off down to a side door, out of the door and round the outside of the building and back in through the main door to meet us. She didn't really get why that wasn't on. She knew the way, thought it was fun to go around the outside, was very confident in where she was going and just was a bit adventurous. Except at 9 pm in the dark in the middle of a busy town, with crowd of people milling around, no it wasn't safe, but she can't see why. Because she feels safe, she cannot accept that it might not be.

rhetorician Fri 30-Sep-16 22:29:19

this sounds very like my DD1 who is nearly 8. She cannot see why things are unfair except when she is on the receiving end: she struggles to really understand the consequences of her actions, despite having them explained (e.g. swinging pyjama trousers around will hurt if they hit someone). And when you try to explain these things to her, she gets upset and loses it, or shuts down. But when calm and not overstimulated she is very thoughtful about things - but she cannot deal with stuff if she is agitated in any way, and definitely lacks empathy in lots of ways. She has been assessed, and autism was ruled out because she makes eye contact, can see another person's point of view etc. But she's a girl, and I definitely think there are traits - she functions very well, but she can't "read" people or understand social codes without a lot of effort, and without a lot of explanation. My younger DD (who is stubborn and strong-willed and not always easy to handle) absolutely gets all of these things.

steppemum Fri 30-Sep-16 22:40:29

That is her exactly rhetorician!

My best friend's son has ASD and I have known her since he was assessed aged 2.
I also tutor a girl who is obviously very high functioning autistic. She doesn't have a diagnosis, but she ticks every box. I spend a lot of time supporting her mum.
Dd isn't like either of them at all, so I have dismissed ASD, but maybe she has some traits. She would never get assessed, school wouldn't even consider there is a problem.

I guess I need to think about strategies really.

rhetorician Fri 30-Sep-16 22:51:57

no, school wouldn't think there was any problem either, other than her tuning out and terrible focus. I do a lot of signalling in advance, but it's like she isn't able to put what she knows into practice (she does have a dyspraxia diagnosis). She's a very loving child, but also quite a dependent one in lots of ways, despite her refusal to listen to advice of any kind - I keep telling her that the way for her to have control over things in her life is for her to take control. She's quite cautious, so the danger thing isn't such a bit issue for us as it clearly is for you. Getting cross or shouting are absolute no-nos. Worse situations are the end of the day when she is tired, or any trip/party/event where she is super excited. It's hard to deal with this undefined sense that something isn't right because it's very difficult to identify the tools that are needed to deal with it, and more importantly, to make it easier for them. What does your DD say about these incidents when they have passed?

BabyGanoush Fri 30-Sep-16 22:53:39

Hmm, not sure the consequence you chose are productive.

Have you tried sitting her down and talking about why a certain behaviour is not acceptable? And teach her the need to make amends (give toy back and say a prooer "sorry").

With some sensitive children, punishments (or consequences) make things worse.

For my DS at that age it really helped if I calmed him down and talked, and praise good behaviour. For him "consequences/punishments" just led to melt downs. They made things worse and solved nothing.

It sounds very soft, but worked really well for us.

BabyGanoush Fri 30-Sep-16 22:55:29

And when I say "talk to her", the biggest part of that is you actively listening to her.

CauliflowerSqueeze Fri 30-Sep-16 23:06:44

It's hard to know. There seem to be some asd traits especially surrounding lack of awareness, which don't align with age related expectations. To be honest, if you think something doesn't quite add up then you're probably right - you know her best.

steppemum Fri 30-Sep-16 23:23:00

yes we have talked a lot. (and ye, actively listened)

She will return toy and say a genuine sorry, but it wouldn't stop her taking another one the next day, jut because she wanted it.

We hit on the take a toy loose a toy only because it has finally driven home that ds and dd1 are upset about their lost stuff. After she has lost one of her toys, we were then able to talk about how her siblings felt and she did finally get it.

corythatwas Sat 01-Oct-16 18:40:49

She does sound a bit like other girls I have met with Asperger's syndrome.

steppemum Sat 01-Oct-16 23:01:53

Was talking to her in the car today, just us. It is her birthday in Nov and she has been planning it since last nov (!)

I asked her who she was going to invite from school. She named one girl who isn't really a friend. She couldn't name any others. Then she said she had fallen out with all her friends because they were being mean to her.

I know from past experience that this is probably a fall out with dd at the centre. She is superficially really sociable, but can't seem to make any long lasting friendships, and as I watch her with her friends, I see she is really bossy and wants the games to go her way and is unable to compromise.

BarbarianMum Sun 02-Oct-16 08:56:09

I would really suggest you do some research into how presents in girls before dismissing it as a possibility. Bright girls are very often diagnosed at 8/9/10 as they can mask the condition and present very subtly -but doing so puts a great strain on them.

BarbarianMum Sun 02-Oct-16 08:57:41

Oh God sorry. Critical word missing.
....into how autism presents in girls....

junebirthdaygirl Sun 02-Oct-16 09:25:08

I agree with Barbarian. Girls with asd present completely differently than boys. When they are younger they fit in well but bit by bit the social thing becomes a problem. They manage to present well in school but those tantrums at home are often a result of holding it all in in school. It's very common for diagnosis to only come in secondary where all that friendship stuff comes to the fore.
Reading social stories together may be productive. You can buy books online. Some children inherently know things others need to be taught. In school l have come across girls who presented more publicly as time went. Discussing it with parents l discovered a lot of stuff had been happening at home for quite a while but the girl managed to conform as best she could in school.

steppemum Sun 02-Oct-16 17:07:56

thanks for all your input.
Because I deal every week with a girl who is very strongly aspergers, actually quite extreme, I guess I have been saying - she isn't like that.

I do think it is quite subtle, and almost feel guilty as my best friend has a son who has ASD, and this is so mild by comparison, I feel like I'm making a fuss about nothing.

I guess the last few weeks have made me think that I need to be more proactive in helping her, and finding strategies that work for her, to scaffold her better.

friendships have been a nag for a while really, and it is hard to tell what exactly is going on at school with friends.

Kariana Mon 03-Oct-16 12:59:04

Don't forget no two ASD children are the same so her not being like the other girl you know doesn't mean she isn't on the spectrum, just in a different way with different characteristics.

Kleinzeit Mon 03-Oct-16 21:07:55

I agree that your DD does seem tio have some ASC traits and that no two children with ASCs are the same. My DS has Asperger's and I know quite a lot of other Aspie kids. One of them is DS's polar opposite - DS says so himself! DS fits the intense-academic-organised-sarcastic Sheldon stereotype, the other boy is gentle, kindly, artistic and forgetful. And both boys are very sociable and outgoing when it suits them. These conditions can come out in many different ways.

Social stories can be a good way to explain social things.Your DD might benefit from a social story called something like "I ask before I borrow toys". You don't necessarily have to write it down and read it together, I just used to plan it out and talk to my DS in a social-story way - so many descriptive sentences, so much perspective, a bit of directive and then a happy-ending!

One book I found useful for helping with social behavioiur is The Unwritten Rules of Friendship. It covers all sorts of social skills problems from shyness to temper. For example some of the exercises in the chapter on "The Born Leader" might help your DD start to learn ways to listen to other children more and be less domineering.

It may still be worth talking to the school about your DD. Even if she behaves well in class the teacher may have noticed some of her social struggles. flowers

steppemum Wed 05-Oct-16 09:36:25

Thanks all.
I have ordered that book kleinzeit and will work through it with her. I'll also have a chat to my friend who is really good at ASD strategies, and see if she can help me with a few practical things.

I've been googling, and there are some intees about girls and aspergers, one of the comments about play really hit home. She plays for hours in her room with loads and loads of toys (sylvanians, playmobile, barbie etc) I have always thought of it as imaginative play, and she is very creative with it. But the comment on the website was about how the play is more about setting the game up and organising it, than actually playing with the parts, and that is exactly her, she creates this whole world, but the whole game is like building the world, she rarely then has the people in it actually play. And lots of lining them up too.

steppemum Fri 07-Oct-16 09:38:49

Ok, not sure if anyone is still around.
Had a long talk to my friend yesterday, and as I am discribing dd I realise how many boxes she ticks.
So I did 2 on-line tests, first one was over 32 points would suggest Aspergers, and she scored .
Second one was the CAST test for kids, which seemed more appropriate and she scored 15. The scale is 15-31 may have possible ASD related difficulties. Over 31 was strong suggestion they had ASD.

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