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Diagnosing aspergers in teens

(9 Posts)
17leftfeet Fri 14-Mar-14 10:09:48

Dd is 13 and has shown some autistic traits since around the age of 2 but is very bright labeled gifted which I hate so her quirks were always put down to this

Since she started high school last year she seems to be showing more signs and is becoming more and more socially withdrawn

She has lots of people she talks to at school and will say she had lots of friends but they aren't real friends and she has no contact with them outside of school much preferring to stay home, won't accept party invites and can't see the point of just 'hanging out'

She is pedantic, strong willed, very literal, everything has to be planned, hates surprises and has a very small wardrobe of.'acceptable clothes'

School so not see the problems I do because she's a fantastic actress and academically very able

Is there any point pursuing a diagnosis -she copes well at school but not outside of school

And how do I address it with her? She knows she's a bit different but I don't want her to think I think there is something wrong with her

Jinty64 Fri 14-Mar-14 22:00:46

Ds2 (16) is exactly the same. I first wondered about ASD when he was two but no one else was buying it. When he was three we discovered he had very poor eyesight and it was thought that a lot of his problems stemmed from this. He has friends in school but does not socialise outside. Although he did go to the cinema with one friend recently. That friend has an AS diagnosis. Ds is quite aware that he is a bit different. Most of his friends are on the spectrum. They have gravitated towards one and other. Ds does not want any sort of referral at the moment and it will now have to be his own decision if he wants to look into it further.

anthropology Sat 15-Mar-14 09:08:46

My DD has ASD traits only identified around this age when she struggled with depression. IMO Camhs is helpful if the teen needs help (in our case getting school support) and there are many levels on the spectrum and we never got a proper diagnosis. Treatment seemed to focus on vulnerablities rather than strengths, and your DD evidently has many strengths. At this age everyone is changing and developing at different rates with raised teenage emotions , so keep an eye on her coping with changes around her. As everyone matures, socially, IME she will find more people like her , in sixth form and uni. Have you read Tony Attwoods books ? My DD found socialisation with adults and small children easier than peers for a while, if that helps.

17leftfeet Sat 15-Mar-14 09:53:15

She can't stand small children -they are very random and cry and laugh for no reason

She talks to older teens online and is collaborating on some fan fiction with one of them which freaks me out because it goes against everything Internet safety wise but she's actually working on something with someone -argh!

I do worry because there are eating disorders and depression within the family and I don't want her to hit that low IYKWIM but I also don't think I can pretend everything is ok

17leftfeet Sat 15-Mar-14 10:02:50

Is there a particular book by attwood you would recommend?
I've looked at his website but a lot if his books seem to be for professionals rather than parents

stinkingbishop Sat 15-Mar-14 10:18:46

DS (20) was diagnosed at 13 by a (private) educational psychologist found by the school. I think getting an official diagnosis does help, because it enables individual plans to be put in place. DS is super bright too but struggled with organisation, both practically and also cognitively (so ordering essays, rather than them just being a stream of consciousness of everything he knew about a subject, whether it furthered the argument or not). It also meant he could use a laptop, extra time in exams, and has helped with Uni eg he has a mentor to keep him on top of things, nudge him socially, make sure he's not dropping out (his first attempt at Uni was a disaster and he went very reclusive and developed depression).

My advice though would be to involve her in everything and give her the books to read too. I maybe over compensated with DS as he began to wear his Asperger's like a badge of pride - the whole Einstein, Bill Gates thing - but it helps them to know it's a difference, not a disability. Part of their brain has evolved more than ours in terms of basic intelligence, focus, memory etc, but in the process some other bits have been left behind.

Reading all about it will help you too. I tended to (still do, in fact) project my own feelings too much. DS was likewise surrounded by people at school but saw no need to see them out of it. I wound myself up thinking how lonely I would be. But he is perfectly happy in his own company. He doesn't have the same burning need as us for companionship.

Also reassure yourself that she won't always be like this. Asperger's kids have to learn what comes naturally to us, but they do learn. DS is still my little absent minded professor, but he did have 18 people at his birthday drinks at Uni this week (I have the FB evidence!), is organising a house for second year with some genuine friends there (lots more people like him at Uni). He will always be eccentric (he dresses entirely in purple for a start!) but he's carving out a comfy social niche for himself. And I think we're both of a view now that the benefits of Asperger's like his far outweigh the disadvantages, which can all be managed.

PM me if you want to chat. I've been there!

stinkingbishop Sat 15-Mar-14 10:28:06

PS - these are both jolly good reads. Tony Atwood's Complete Guide and then one he co-wrote with an Asperger's teen called Freaks and Geeks.

CAHMs also have access to some handy 'how to' pamphlets for teens.

anthropology Sun 16-Mar-14 19:58:28

stinkingbishop, has answered I think re books and given some really helpful info. I agree with the idea of difference rather than disadvantage and my DD definitely needs more quiet time. An ed psych assessment is maybe helpful as a start, as it will help both of you get an idea of strengths and vulnerabilities. in my DDs case we had one done via a dyslexia centre and it has been very helpful with exam support etc. It's also a document if you do need to ask camhs help,as aspergers and girls is still frequently missed by professionals.......stinkingbishop, so happy for your DS finding a niche at Uni.

stinkingbishop Mon 17-Mar-14 10:56:37

anthropology thanks smile.

Don't get me wrong, I still fret something chronic...he was meant to be signing his tenancy contract at the weekend and my thumb has been itching to text him reminders...but I think, on the whole, he's his own version of happy now, and that makes me happy too!

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