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dd12. Aspergers? Depression? or something else

(35 Posts)
BLACKTUESDAY1 Fri 01-Apr-16 09:19:15

DD aged 12 has been having a really hard time since starting secondary school. She is in year 8 now. She hates school and this is getting worse. She is very artistic and spends all her time at home drawing on her Ipad or if this is taken away for any reason she will just use pen and paper. She is obsessed with drawing characters from two games: Five night's at Freddies and Undertale (not sure if anyone has heard of these). she has NO interest in going out (she has never been out on her own or with friends). She has a small group of friends at school but says they irritate her and she feels she is 'weird' and doesn't fit in. She has no interest in her appearance, doesn't even brush her own hair and cares nothing about what she wears. She is becoming increasingly isolated and I know she is not happy. She is literally dreading going back to school after the easter holidays and her grades are really slipping. She has been begging me to homeschool her which wouldn't really be an option and would make her more isolated. She gets so upset and stressed when I take her Ipad away and would just happily sit in PJs and draw on it literally ALL day. I am at a complete loss as to what to do. She has a 10 year old sister who is not at all like this. I have seen the GP who has referred her to CAHMS but no appointment yet.

BLACKTUESDAY1 Fri 01-Apr-16 09:26:06

Just to add I found some things she had written in her bedroom saying she hated her life and school and wished she lived with the characters in her game. I know she is depressed. She insists there is no bullying at school (apart from her saying her friends wont leave her alone) and she comes from a loving secure home.

Thornrose Fri 01-Apr-16 09:26:45

Certainly what you have described sounds a bit like Aspergers. If s very hard to say though as it also sounds like stereotypically teenage behaviour.

How was she growing up? Did she have any sensory issues or problems with transitions or changes to routine.

I think girls can "mask" very well and it can all start to unravel at high school!

What's your gut instinct? I always knew instinctively with dd but her signs were very apparent from a young age.

PhilPhilConnors Fri 01-Apr-16 09:28:49

Homeschooling probably won't make her more isolated than being with people she feels very different with.

Have you read anything about asperger's in girls?
This is a good starting point, you could also find Tania Marshall's blog, there is a post specifically about girls with AS and the first signs.

If you think it fits, ask your GP if CAMHS is the right place for ASD assessment - in some places it is, in others you need a referral to a developmental paed.

I can relate to the things you've said about your dd, although I faked friendships with others who I suspect also faked friendships. I was diagnosed a couple of weeks ago. It's worth pursuing if you think ASD fits, as your dd will have a chance to understand herself and is more likely to be able to find people she feels more comfortable with.

PhilPhilConnors Fri 01-Apr-16 09:32:05

This is the Tania Marshall blog about girls

BLACKTUESDAY1 Fri 01-Apr-16 09:36:46

I do think it may well be Asperger's after everything I have read and i did mention this to GP who said it could be or could be severe depression. She has always been a sensitive girl and has never liked loud music/noises but she used to enjoy being with friends/sleepovers at primary school and used to like dressing up. So different to how she is now. It is the absolute obsession with drawing these characters which makes me think more aspergers. She tells me she cannot take in what the teachers says at school and prefers to be given worksheets to do. She has decided to become a vegetarian over the last few months following a science lesson where they dissected lungs. She had a massive reaction to this and was very disturbed by it...not sure that is relevant in any way??

PhilPhilConnors Fri 01-Apr-16 09:42:33

I think it's very common for children with AS to mask and fit in, then reach their tipping point - secondary is a common one, social rules are more difficult to keep up with than in primary school.

She may well be depressed, but at this age I would say there is usually an underlying cause, bullying, AS, other things.

BLACKTUESDAY1 Fri 01-Apr-16 09:44:48

many signs of aspergers are there but not all of them. My main concern is school. I don't know what they could do to make it better for her. I work 3 days a week and can't afford not to at the moment so wouldnt be here to home educate her although I know how absolutely relieved she would be not having to go back to schoolsad

simbobs Fri 01-Apr-16 09:51:12

I can't off you much advice but my DD was very similar to this at 14. She is now 17 and on ADs which seem to be starting to take effect, meaning that the underlying issue was depression. Some of the rest is personality. Some people just prefer their own company. Camhs were not very useful for anything other that accessing meds. If your gut tells you there is something wrong you should pursue all avenues open to you.

BLACKTUESDAY1 Fri 01-Apr-16 09:57:06

I really don't know what else to do other than see the GP. He obv thought CAMHS was the best place to refer her to. Myself and dh are so clueless as to how to help her or even how to parent her. Do we allow her to stay on ipad or draw all day or do we force her out and about knowing she doesn't want to go? She doesn't enjoy going anywhere any more

PhilPhilConnors Fri 01-Apr-16 10:03:34

For now I would leave her be on the iPad.
Is it holiday time for you at the moment? If yes, whether she has AS or not, it's obvious she needs her own space to wind down.

We found with GPs and CAMHS that we really needed to spell out what we thought was going on, with evidence, lists of behaviours etc, otherwise all they did was look at what was going on on the surface, I suppose treating the symptoms rather than adding up the puzzle and working out what was really going on.

Thornrose Fri 01-Apr-16 10:09:45

Can she give you anything more specific about what is really bothering her about school?

If she finds break times or form time difficult for example is there any pastoral support? Any clubs she could go to, maybe in the library to give her some peace and quiet.

My dd has spent most of her teenage years in her bedroom on a laptop. I've agonised over it but ultimately forcing her to do things never worked.

Could you get her out for really short periods of time each day? Even just going for a drive, that's what I used to do with dd. We'd put the music on in the car and drive along the coast road.

ScaredAndStressed Fri 01-Apr-16 10:16:50

I have a 13 year old dd and I could have written your post myself - pretty much word for word (including the computer game undertale!) My dd is currently obsessed with homestuck, a web comic and it is all she talks about, draws characters from etc. like your daughter drawing is pretty much everything, doesn't do homework etc as she is too busy with drawing things from homestuck.

It might be worth speaking to your GP, school, any HCP involved with your daughter with regard to your concerns? If they refuse it might be worth pushing until a referral is made (CAHMs initially reject my daughter and she was instead referred to psychology and to be fair the psychologist has been a lifesaver). CAHM's eventually took my daughter on a few weeks ago after an incident at school and they have suggested ASD (we are just starting the process to see if she needs actually testing).

BLACKTUESDAY1 Fri 01-Apr-16 10:16:52

She just tells me she hates everything about school. She doesn't want to be with her friends but also doesn't want to be on her own. She says she hates the lessons. She won't join any clubs. She did start art club last year but left because she didn't get to draw what she wanted (characters). I can't really get more out of her than that. She does come out but not willingly and doesn't enjoy it. It just feels so wrong seeing her sitting there all day especially in nice weather. She is off school at the moment and for another week but is already dreading going back. She has got to the stage now where she is visibly anxious even going to the supermarket, head down and won't speak to anyone in shops etc

Thornrose Fri 01-Apr-16 10:19:41

Oh it's awful. My dd is virtually agoraphobic and wears a hood to go anywhere.

Would you consider medication for her depression? I know it's a big decision but a lift in mood can really help.

BLACKTUESDAY1 Fri 01-Apr-16 10:26:40

Scaredand stressed, wow they do sound similar. Dd tells me no-one else is like her but I've told her there are she just hasn't met them yet. It is so hard not knowing the best way to deal with it, we haven't even had our first appointment yet. I haven't said anything to school yet as was waiting for a referral but think i might have to speak to them. How does your dd cope at school, stressed?

BLACKTUESDAY1 Fri 01-Apr-16 10:28:00

Thornrose i probably would consider medication if appropriate. I feel she is missing so much of life atmsad

mummytime Fri 01-Apr-16 10:29:21

I would go back to the GP with any signs of self-hatred, or threats to harm herself or any signs she is self-harming as these things can shorten the waiting process.

It does sound like depression, which could be "normal teenage" depression or linked to Aspergers. In my experience CAMHS will consider Asperger's.

I would suggest looking at the NAS and also information from Tony Attwood on Asperger's in girls.

Practically I would work with what she is comfortable with, talk to school to make sure she is still performing. And try to walk the balance between a little challenge and overwhelming stress.

BLACKTUESDAY1 Fri 01-Apr-16 10:39:18

Thank you to everyone for your advice. I have actually just ordered the Tony Attwood book from amazon hoping it may offer some advice as I feel a useless parent to her at the moment. She does say she hates herself but has also said she would never self harm and there have been no signs of this. Her appetite has decreased lately and she does complain of frequent headaches. Her school is very target focused and she doesn't cope well with the frequent tests. She wont hear of changing schools as she couldnt bear being a new girl. Would school consider a reduced week do you think? I am really at a loss to how they can make things ok for her

BLACKTUESDAY1 Fri 01-Apr-16 11:42:51

Just had a letter from CAMHS this morn. They have cancelled her referral to themselves based on the info received on the GP's proforma and have referred her to the Paediatric Dept at the hospital. So now just have ro wait for an appointment there. Does anyone know why this may have happened and what to expect?

mummytime Fri 01-Apr-16 12:19:32

It could be because in your area CAMHS don't diagnose ASD, or could be some other reason.
You could contact your GP and request a phone call to discuss why (my GPs do a series of phone calls after morning surgery).

BLACKTUESDAY1 Fri 01-Apr-16 12:23:52

I called the GP and was told it was just based on the info received. Would the GP know any more than that if i requested to speak to him personally do you think?

PhilPhilConnors Fri 01-Apr-16 13:47:15

In loads of areas CAMHS are not accepting referrals - ours will only accept them if the child is actually attempting suicide or self harming.

Being referred to paeds may be more helpful anyway at this point.

BLACKTUESDAY1 Fri 01-Apr-16 15:26:52

That may well be the reason. Hopefully the paediatric apt won't take too long

Meloncoley2 Fri 01-Apr-16 20:50:57

If you google your local health trust and ASD pathway, you may find out what the referral route is in your area. Also, it is worth asking to speak to the school Senco to increase support there, before she starts refusing to go.

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