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How to help my DD make friends(8 Posts)
My eldest daughter has just started reception. She has had some teething issues settling in and we have already had a meeting with the school's Senco. The lady suggested that my daughter may have autism but she is not sure...in her words 'there's something there' but she's not sure what. They got her assessed by a behaviouralist last week but I haven't heard anything back from that yet. To help my daughter cope they have implemented a routine for her including now and next cards and timers etc which seem to be having a positive effect. If my daughter does have autism then it is not atypical if that makes sense, as she does communicate and will talk to others, make eye contact etc, but she is prone to meltdowns, notices small details others wouldn't and has a need for routine.
From what the teachers have said there is nothing academically that stands out to them, she is in target with her maths and is only behind on her English because she doesn't write yet, but the teacher said because of the lockdown and the fact a lot of the nurseries closed etc, a lot of children are having the same problem. She does see a speech and language specialist because of her pronunciation but her actual vocabulary is on par for her age.
My concern is that I suspect she may be having problems making friends. She doesn't really talk about school in detail and doesn't seem sad but when I've noticed her speaking to other children they seem scared of her. One little girl we bumped into walking home from school just shook her head when my daughter tried to say hello and another little girl looked frankly terrified of her in the queue for school (I'm not imagining it, she was standing right in front of us and grabbed on to her mom and hid behind her while staring at my daughter.) She has had a couple of altercations in the classroom according to the teacher, she lashed out at one little girl a couple of weeks ago and threw something at another little girl more recently. The teacher wasn't too concerned about this but I wonder if her outbursts are causing the girls especially to be scared of her?
I know how important it is to make friends at school (perhaps not so much at reception age but certainly by the time you get to Year 3/4, which I know is a long time off) and I wouldn't want to think of her ostracized. If it does transpire she has autism then I know social interactions will be harder for her (although she is a friendly girl so I don't think the stereotypical traits of autism e.g. not making eye contact/not speaking etc will affect her.)
Has anyone else had experience of this and have any advice?
Sorry, that was meant to start Hi all
It does sound like there are definitely ASD traits there OP. I would push for an assessment. It's not at all unusual for girls on the spectrum to make eye contact and have good language skills although this often delays their diagnosis. I would for the time being assume she does have ASD and look up resources that might be helpful for her (if she turns out to be NT this won't do her any harm). She may find it easier to socialise one on one, so perhaps you could try to arrange meet ups if you have any friends with kids of similar age?
Thank you for your reply. Yes I do think she's on the spectrum and to be honest have always had an inkling but was told by the senco at her nursery who assessed her that she was 'spoiled'
The school seem really hot on this which I am thankful for and I will definitely be chasing up for a diagnosis if I don't hear from them within the next week or so.
Unfortunately most of my friends don't have children, and the ones that do are babies. I do have one friend with step children who are around my daughter's age who she has met up with to play a few times, but I live in a lockdown area so I don't think it will be possible to arrange anything else for a while.
In your experience with the right support, can children on the spectrum make and maintain friendships? I have a relative whose daughter is autistic and a teenager now, my relative was telling me how as she's gotten older she communicates with people less and unfortunately doesn't really speak to anyone at all, family or friends. I have seen her a few times and she will not make eye contact or speak to me, or anyone but her mother.
I definitely think women on the autism spectrum can lead happy lives with friends and a job etc. Lots of women of our generation would have struggled through with no support and got by, the advantage with younger girls like your DD is they can be identified and supported from an early age and that can be an enourmous help. It might seem premature but I would seek out local social groups for children with ASD (there is only one in my local area but it welcomes children prior to diagnosis) and family support groups for advice.
Thank you so much for your advice, I had no clue there were even support groups out there but I am definitely going to check them out now. Thank you again
NAS (National Autism Society) is a good start point for info and advice.
I’m sure you know this already but school cannot diagnose autism. You will need a referral (from school or GP) to get you on the assessment pathway. This may be with CAMHS, developmental paediatrician or other service depending on your area. There is likely to be a long waiting list to get to assessment and eventually diagnosis.
It’s great that school are supportive meantime and happy to put things in place to help and you can also adopt ASD strategies prior to getting a diagnosis.
Re friendships, I can’t speak for girls but my 9yr old autistic son has a couple of good friends and is able to socialise well - on his terms yes, but he is happy with that. He is not massively sociable and outgoing and would often prefer to stay home with his Xbox, but he’s happy and school say he is well liked in the classroom. So it’s definitely possible. I would work with school on what needs to be in place to help her feel comfortable in the classroom as that will hopefully reduce the outbursts (which are likely a sign she is not coping) and mean other children are more likely to be happy to be around her. My son masks in school and is only aggressive at home with me and his twin brother so it’s slightly different but if you and school can work together to make the classroom a less scary and difficult place for your daughter, hopefully you will see her behaviour improve accordingly x
My daughter is now at secondary school but in her primary years had 2 girls in her class with confirmed autism. Children these days are far more aware of autism than we were and are kinder too. Perhaps not at reception age but in later years know that melt downs aren’t anyone’s fault.
I think in terms of your daughter making friends it might help if you yourself make friends with some of the other mums and engage their support. I know that at DDs primary the Mums did make sure that these girls did get invited to parties and talked to their own children about differences in behaviour and acceptance.