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5 year old DD behaviour(10 Posts)
I’m at my wits end with my DD age 5. Feels like a negative spiral, with us getting frustrated and constantly having to tell her off - this doesn’t appear to bother her quite often laughs and smirks. Only gets upset when sent to bed early or tablet time taken away.
She doesn’t listen to instructions or things explained to her/answers to questions
E.g. will hear but will continue problem behaviour seconds later.
Talks constantly but doesn’t really ‘say’ much
Difficulty getting to sleep / bed - excessive talking
Fixated on unimportant parts/details
Untidy bedroom, moves from one thing to next without tidying up, gets bored easily and gives up easily. Not willing to try again after failing.
Loves to play imaginatively mums and dads or barbies etc
Appears sociable but can withdraw or appear to not know what to do in some situations.
Cries / tantrums or rages over sometimes insignificant things.
I’m not sure if I’m a terrible parent and expecting too much of her or there is something more going on. I raised some of my concerns in school and they initially said they agreed but have now said they think she’s improved. I think a lot of her behaviour could go unnoticed in a busy reception class and tbh one her things is she almost zones out and you wouldn’t automatically realise she wasn’t absorbing what was being said.
Lots of what you describe are similar to some traits of autism. It can be hard to spot in girls, especially academically able girls as they often mask their differences and fly under the radar in school.
The problem with instructions could be due to poor executive function. Even academically able people with this problem can find sequencing tasks very difficult. You may need to help her by breaking things down into smaller steps and giving her one instruction at a time. TBH , that probably applies to a lot of five year olds anyway.
Focusing on small details can be about poor central coherence and this will contribute to issues like not being able to tidy up.
If she doesn't know what to do in social situations, try explaining what appropriate actions would be to help her learn. She may not know instinctively and need to learn by logic and copying others.
The rages may be meltdowns which are the result of a build up of overwhelming experiences. These could be busy places, intense social interaction, overwhelming sensory input, changes in routine or just life being unpredictable. The insignificant thing you think it's about may just be the last straw.
Children can put a huge amount of effort into masking and fitting in at school, using strategies like copying others when instructions are too complex and zoning out when the world is too overwhelming. It's then not unusual for them to let out the stress they have been holding in all day when they get home, where they feel safe.
My DD 2, who has Aspergers, had the most amazing imagination and played for hours at this age in her imaginary worlds with her playmobil and Sylvanians. It was her safe place where she could control the whole world and understood everything that happened.
I would suggest reading round autism and aspergers, especially in girls and looking into strategies to support poor executive function and central coherence.
The sleep issues are also common in autism and, post diagnosis, you can get melatonin to help as the reason is often a deficiency in this.
I had looked at some of the traits and of ADD in girls but not autism as she plays so imaginatively (it being an escape rings true) and does seem sociable to some degree, I will look into autism in girls as it appears those assumptions are just that.
Thank you for taking the time to give such a detailed response.
I agree with some previous posters, some of the traits you list can and are present in ASD. Imaginative play "to escape reality" (and specially to escape people, as people are hard to control!) is present in children with ASD. With healthy imaginative play you would want to see the child involve others in her play and allow others to also add to her imaginative play (and her to adapt and follow their cues). In addition, remember that autism affects social communication and not social motivation so many children with ASD can be very socially motivated (they want to have friends) but tend to struggle with social communication, social rules, social cues, etc. Autism in girls can be harder to spot than in boys as they are naturally more socially motivated than boys and develop much better coping mechanisms and at a much earlier age than boys do in order to "mask" some of their struggles. I think she should be seen and assessed properly by a development pediatrician.... there seems to be enough valid concerns.
Thank you I feel sad and a bit relieved and really cross with myself as I don’t think I’m managing it very well. would it be reasonable to have the 1st appointment at the GP without her there?
To me this sounds very normal and much like my own 6yo
I don't think most 6yos will have a passion for tidying up/going to bed on time without messing around... most kids love imaginary play. They might talk a lot without having a point, but why should they have a point? They're 6 and probably just like talking to you.
No harm in getting assessed if you're worried, or if these things are much more extreme than I'm interpreting them. But to me she doesn't sound unusual
Also I definitely don't think any of this would make you a terrible parent at all. Looking after a 6yo is not easy!! We can't all be perfectly calm all the time!
would it be reasonable to have the 1st appointment at the GP without her there?
You're likely to have to speak very bluntly about your DD's difficulties to avoid being told it all sounds perfectly normal. You will need to go into detail about the severity and how much of her life the affect. It wouldn't be good for her to be listening to that.
I went alone on both occasions I was asked for referrals for my DDs. The GP was in agreement both times.
I think a lot of detail and examples would definitely be needed for the GP, as from the above description people have had very different interpretations of the same examples
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