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2.5 year old anxiety -. Please help I'm desperate(12 Posts)
My daughter's social anxiety has ramped up even more over the last week. I don't know if it's related to the cold she's had or not. But I'm really REALLY struggling now and feel almost suicidal. I'm constantly stuck on the house because everywhere I try to take her, she screams and cries to the point she's almost sick. God forbid anyone tries to interact with her. I've just taken her to her nanny's house where her cousin (who she doesn't see often) was there. I ended up leaving after 10 minutes because I couldn't take her crying anymore. I'm absolutely exhausted with it. We're being assessed for possible ASD but I cannot find anyone at all who's experience is similar to ours. She's always been shy and sensitive to people but I really thought it was getting a little better but WHAM! Now this.
Please please please reply - I really don't know where to turn. I have no one and desperately need to break this. I can't stay stuck in the house anymore.
Is she is is being assessed for possible ASD then her behavior would not be unusual. It is not uncommon for new stereotypical behavior and sensitivities to appear and disappear as they get older. The stimulation of social outings or new places can be overwhelming and she would be crying because she is unable to cope with it and would be trying to escape from it - the lights, the sounds, the smells, the people, things that we would not even notice. If she has ASD then by 2.5YR it is likely that there will be many observable signs already. Autism is a social communication disorder, so for example, her not having pointed to request things and to share interests (like a plane in the sky) by 18M of age would likely be indicative of autism. You are doing the right thing having her assessed, a development pediatrician would be able to get to the root of these behaviors, to see if its autism or something else and hopefully put a plan in place.
For some reason my gut tells me it probably isn't autism but I don't know. She's fine with new places, smells, lights, sounds.. it's just people. She doesn't like attention from strangers. We're getting her assessed because she shows a few symptoms mildly - she has flapped her hands when excited and her language/communication isn't very developed. It's absolutely crippling me. I don't know what I've done or what's happening to make her feel like this. It's so hard.
I'm not really sure when she started pointing if I'm honest but she does share a lot with me. She will bring me things and look at me to say something (label an item for example)
Could you tell me what obvious signs I could be looking for @AladdinMum ?
All young children will flap their hands to some extend when excited, they will also walk in their tip-toes, spin in circles, open/close doors, switch lights on and off, stare at lights, run from room to room, jump in sofas/beds, etc - while many people link these behaviors with autism, by themselves, are rarely indicative of autism. Speech delays are common at this age, and while some children with autism might struggle with speech others will have excellent/advance speech, so again delayed speech is not indicative of autism. I would find it odd that she would be under assessment for just those behaviors. Autism is a social communication disorder (not a speech disorder, not a 'flapping your hands' disorder, not a sensory disorder, etc) so that is the primary area that an assessment will look at; her social communication. So things that they would ask or look for are: Did/does she point to share interests with you? (like a plane in the sky) and did by 18M old, does she look at you from a distance when she is cautious or unsure (social referencing) and did so by 18M, does she look at you when she does something that he is proud of? (praise seeking), does she show/give you interesting things that she finds, and used to from 12M old? (like an interesting rock or leaf from the ground), etc. If deficits in this area are found then they would look at other sensory or physical behaviors that could support a diagnosis. So it is all about her communication (using gestures if unable to speak) with you and her peers in order to meet her needs and to share her pain/enjoyment with you on a daily basis. (p.s. bringing things for you to label would not be classified as sharing, she is doing that to meet her needs, i.e. she wants the object labeled - sharing would require her to show you something for the sole purpose of showing it to you and not because she wants something to be done in return. Her giving you a toy because it needs to be turned on/batteries changed/wounded/etc would be a similar example).
Thanks for your reply. I honestly can't remember when she pointed but I don't feel she does a lot of pointing anyway. She moreso gestures with her eyes and looks to me to see if I'm looking too. She follows me a lot and keeps an eye on where I am when exploring somewhere. She does a lot of praise seeking, eye contact and clapping and coming to me to see if I saw what she did and to give praise to her.
I didn't explain what I meant by her bringing things to label - she doesn't bring them to me for me to label them, she brings them to show me and tell me herself. For example, earlier she brought a book to me and looked at the book and then to me and said "book" and when I acknowledged her and said "yes well done" she sat down to look at her book with me and pointed at things in the book and told me what they were.
She struggles with communicating her needs though but she is very very laid back and doesn't seem to be pent up on wanting so much, probably doesn't help that I baby her and have always met her needs before she needs to ask.
I must say she only really started talking a lot at 2 years old and in the last 6 months has picked up a lot of words but she also repeats a lot of things from TV or that she's heard us say. It's almost like she's imagining the thing she saw on TV when she repeats it
That sounds great. Repeating things from TV at a later time/date, also referred to as echolalia, is very normal early speech development and it peaks at around 2.5Y. The praise seeking and social referencing is very positive, though I do find it a little odd at her lack of pointing specially if speech delayed. From 18M onwards toddlers literally become 'pointing machines' pointing in excess of 50+ a day (and more so if speech delayed to compensate) and only tends to slow down as their speech improves and the pointing is less required (though, even at 3YR old I would expect a toddler to point a few times a day). I do find it odd that she is trying to gesture through her eyes instead of using hand gestures like pointing as that is exactly what would be typical behavior for toddlers before they start pointing (so before 18M) implying maybe that she has not yet grasped the idea of pointing which would be concerning at 2.5Y old (i.e. she can copy the gesture by seeing others doing it but not quite grasped the 'communicative power' that comes with pointing, i.e. unlike clapping, pointing is not meant to be a learned gesture). Under clinical observation it would not have been clear that your example of the book would be classified as sharing as it looks like she is requesting for the book to be read to her? i.e. she is meeting her needs. Sharing would be if she saw an interesting book, came over to you and raise the book over her head to show you or even give you the book and then (very important) go back to what she was doing (i.e. she does not want the book to be read or anything else from you, she just wants you to see the book). Your description of her is very interesting, and I still think it's worth proceeding with her being assessed, even if only to rule things out. Autism is a very complex disorder with many myths around it, i.e. people tend to say that autistic toddlers have poor eye contact, are not cuddly, are not empathetic, etc, and while some can have those traits others have excellent eye contact, are very cuddly and lovable, show great empathy, and are very socially motivated yet still suffer and struggle with social communication (which is what autism is).
Yes I agree about the pointing - it's hard to say because she does point at things in books to show me but not things afar. It does make me wonder if this is related to her anxiety in that she doesn't want to gain attention from anyone else but those she's comfortable with so won't outright point afar but will close up as only I can see. So does every single child point a lot or can it be a personality type thing too to not point as much as someone else?
I understand what you mean by the example of the book but she didn't want me to read it, she was just showing me and then showed me a few things inside the book and then went and played with something else. She does bring things to me just to show - such as a toy car in which she says "Brum" and then will go and play with it. She quite often tells me things she sees and uses eye contact but doesn't really point to them. I also believe she hasn't understood the communicative power of pointing but her communication definitely is delayed.
Do you think there could be any other condition here other than autism? I'm trying to make sure I see the bigger picture.
Proximal pointing (so touching things with her index finger) does not count as 'pointing' from a developmental standpoint, only distal pointing counts with pointing to share interests being the important one. Does she follow your point? so if you look at her and point somewhere behind her (without saying anything) does she turn to look at what you have pointed? It is excellent that she is showing you things, that is very positive, though it is odd about the pointing, I really doubt it's personality. Normally the rule of thumb is that if a toddler is not distal pointing to share interests by 18/19M then it should be investigated straight away as pointing tends to be crucial for development. It's difficult to tell if it's autism as other conditions (for example eye sight issues, ie she cannot point to what she can't see in the distance) can also impair distal pointing hence why an assessment could be very useful to try to identify the root cause of some of her behaviours.
Ah so because of this pointing it's definitely autism?
She does follow points. I feel her eye sight it good. She sees birds in the sky and tells me.
No, certainly not a definitive but concerning enough to have an assessment. A development pediatrician should be able to get to the root of what (if anything) is causing her quite extreme social anxiety.
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