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(20 Posts)
jomaynard Tue 21-Aug-12 13:36:39

My youngest DD aged 9 has been having issues at school. I have two older children, both of whom are dyslexic (one diagnosed one not).
My youngest has been my easiest child, very bright, picks up language like a sponge, started to teach herself to read before school, good at Maths, learnt Spanish from Dora the explorer. She was/is a very easy child to discipline, I'd just have to say "No" firmly and she would stop, sometimes just speaking severely is enough to make her burst into tears.

However over last year I started to be regularly contact by school for two main reasons: a) she had hurt another child in school or b) a parent had complained to school about how she had treated their child. This is not the first issues she has had with school, she suffers low self-esteem. For example on reception she would say she was "bad at reading" although her teacher described her (when I mentioned this comment) as "one of the best readers in the class". She has also had an issue with tearing up work when she doesn't feel it is "good enough".

It is even worse when I go to child protection training and realise that some of her behaviour could be seen as warning signs. For example the way she seems obsessed with getting married, and regularly asks boys to marry her, she has even gone as far as bribing boys with presents.

At school she is regularly seeing a family support worker, she has also spoken to an Educational Psychologist (a great one who I've also talked to but unfortunately is moving on for the new academic year).

The issue is that the subtle unspoken suspicion is that she might be on the spectrum.

She has no problem with eye contact, or obvious issue with facial expressions. She is obsessed at present with Dani Harma, in the past it was Dora the Explorer, or Rainbow Fairy books. She is very good at entertaining herself, and seems very good at imaginative play, creating original characters for example yesterday being a super-hero using her blanket as a cape.

Other settings, at Brownies she sometimes gets a bit grumpy but soon gets over it, she did have a piano teacher refuse to teach her after she had a strop during a lesson, she has got better at holiday club and this year took part in all the activities with only one brief sulk.

So basically is this ASD/Aspergers? Or does it sound like something else?

Can't say I'm wise but a lot of the things you describe would also describe my dd. (6yrs diagnosis of ASD) but, my dd doesn't make eye contact and although she won't break a rule if you tell her not to do something, I have to specify what is ok in every situation grin i would never say she is easy to discipline.

Toughasoldboots Tue 21-Aug-12 18:57:43

Well, you know we can't tell you what it is but I went through something similar with my dd.

I took her to be privately assessed in the end as navigating local services was such a pain.

I was told that girls are much better at hiding their differences and trying to fit in but by 8/9 it gets much harder.

I started suspecting like you and found it all really difficult but a relief to get a diagnosis in the end.

My dd gives eye contact, gets sarcasm, is quite affectionate, lots of things that I thought meant she wasn't ASD.

I think that if it's getting to the point where the school are calling you, it is maybe time to push for asessment?

Handywoman Tue 21-Aug-12 18:58:21

This resonates with me a little bit, in that I have a dd aged 7 who can also struggle in some social situations. She is bright in lots of ways although mine struggles with language (has had language therapy) including the social contexts of language ('pragmatics'). My 7yo dd picked up reading surprisingly fast (I too have an older dd with Dyslexia) but now has issues with reading comprehension, which are probably to do with working memory/processing speed. She has had problems with focussing and attending to adults and also maintaining friendships, a history of playing 'alongside' peers rather than with them at nursery. And there has also been a history of 'issues' between dd and her peers, when things have not gone her way at school, since reception. She is an avid collector of feathers, stones, leaves and the like. She can easily drift off into her own world when she is outside. Her favourite TV show is Peppa Pig, not exactly normal for a 7yo and she pretends during term time that she doesn't like it!

My dd also got asked to stop piano lessons! (not able to stay on task). She is also uninhibited about having a strop in front of people in groups, at school, Brownies etc. The difference seems that my dd seems fairly resilient in terms of her self esteem? Although at times can say that she 'can't do' things and 'hates school'. School is a big, big effort for my dd in terms of attention and getting down to tasks that are not immediately attractive. These issues sounds slightly different from your dd.

Mine has been assessed for ASD twice and this is ongoing. She is an empathic child and has no issues with eye contact. To be honest, however, I don't think she is on the spectrum, whatever that is (seems to be quite a topic on its own). I had thought my dd might have ADHD but from what I read nowadays I am not sure there is much value in differentiating ADHD, ASD, Dyslexia when the symptoms are not severe, as there is so much overlap, the diagnosis seems to depend often on who is doing the diagnosing. But this is just my opinion.

What is important is that the appropriate people are involved and interventions happening, what happens in terms of a 'label' is perhaps less of an issue, unless you are concerned to know if there is something in her educational profile which is causing her frustration and problems with self esteem? In which case perhaps a full EP assessment is in order? My daughter's Paediatrician thinks my daughter is an 'interesting case' and 'quirky'. And actually, I am happy with that diagnosis as long as home and school life is ok.

HTH, HW
x

Toughasoldboots Tue 21-Aug-12 19:07:32

Pretty much word for word handy! Right down to pretending she doesn't like Peppa pig in front of others and my dd is 9.

My dd has similar friendship issues which I find the most painful, she does have empathy, particularly for animals.

Sometimes I feel sick at pick up time because I am dreading the tales of the day.

Handywoman Tue 21-Aug-12 19:23:58

Ahhhh, toughasoldboots, that's nice to hear! thanks And does your dd have a diagnosis of ASD? My Paed is very much a sit-on-the-fence type. And the whole NHS asessment process seems so inefficient and clumsy (well here anyway). At the moment, however I am not so bothered about diagnosis, but then that could changed when she goes into KS2 in September (and doesn't have KS1 kids to knock around with at playtime).

Gulp.
HW

Toughasoldboots Tue 21-Aug-12 19:29:37

Yes, finally got diagnosis last year. I paid for one with pysch used to ASD girls.

She said that she knew within minutes of speaking to her, let alone the asessment.

That was quite painful actually but I feel better about it now and stopped blaming myself for bad parenting.

I wanted diagnosis as was moving schools for her after horrendous bullying and no support. New school is great and probably let her get away with a bit too much but I would rather that than the other way round.

ASD has brought us a lot of funny moments as well as trouble, so I try and hold on to that.

Her finding the head teacher's email address and telling her which teachers to sack was not one of the better days. grin

insanityscratching Tue 21-Aug-12 19:50:36

You pretty much summed up dd in your post she has ASD she's 9 (she was dx'ed at just 2). She's a very easy child, very empathetic, kind and gentle.Academically she's great but she finds playtimes stressful because she doesn't pick up on the subtleties of friendships. Oh and she's "never getting married or having babies" because she doesn't want to have to "share the attention"Not looking forward to her getting older because as friendships become more sophisticated I think she'll struggle more tbh.

TheLightPassenger Tue 21-Aug-12 19:54:24

yy my boy child sounds v similar to all of your girls! He didn't get a proper ASD DX, just autistic traits when went through the NHS process.

back to the OP, I think given the problems she is having at school, it's worth exploring the possibility of AS further, as it may increase school's understanding of the support she needs. I know it may well be a separate issue actually getting the support, but...

jomaynard Thu 23-Aug-12 12:25:27

Thank you for your replies.

My ideal would be to move her school, as I do think the problems would occur less in a different school.

As for getting a diagnosis, I'm not sure how helpful this would be, and it would take a lot to convince her Dad to agree for pushing for that route. I think I will keep thinking about it, but I may try to make an appointment to discuss it with my (lovely) GP.

jomaynard Tue 19-Feb-13 12:58:57

Okay an update.

We were referred to CAHMS, due to my DD saying at school that life is pointless and she wanted to die. As well as lots of inappropriate behaviour.

We saw our local CAHMS for an initial assessment, and they are now going to assess her for ASD. We saw a psychologist who is an Autism specialist, and this was his recommendation, as well as that I try to use Social stories with her while we wait for the next appointment.

His other main thing was to comment several times on the very negative and judgemental language used in the letter from the school to refer my DD. Which is worrying, but I think at present we need to try to work with them. Although I'm not convinced she will remain there for all the next 18 months until she is due to move on to senior school.

So thank for you advice so far, and you may see me around here more in future.

MareeyaDolores Tue 19-Feb-13 13:03:24

d'you know who wrote the letter? one judgy-pants who has little contact with dd is irrelevant. If it's someone who has a major issue on her, it's worth discussing with someone high-level (HT and/or chair of governors... perhaps in a 'my dd's needs are clearly causing mrs x a lot of stress, what can we as parents, and/or you as management do to support her' way)

auntevil Tue 19-Feb-13 13:21:53

What I would say in the school's defence is that sometimes they over egg statements to make sure that they are offered an appointment - sometimes on advice of other professionals.
School have highlighted issues, so at least you can say that they are not burying their collective head in the sand.
Work with the devil you know for now. Sometimes massaged egos (thank you so much for pointing me in the right direction blah blah) can help in many ways. Sometimes maintaining the bridge is more productive than burning it. You can always find ways to burn it later grin

itfriesthebrain Tue 19-Feb-13 13:34:33

interesting. My Ds went through a phase of wanting to marry a girl in his year but this was because his aunt and uncle had recently been married and he had asked lots of questions about why, I think he took in little trinkets for her but nothing was ever said. I didn't realize this would be seen as a concern.

jomaynard Tue 19-Feb-13 15:24:10

Itfriesthebrain. How old is your DS? My DD is 9, which makes it much less usual behaviour, she also goes on and on about it.

The person who wrote the letter was the HT, and the words which the person at CAHMs highlighted were "bullying" and "manipulative" both of which I had become desensitised to by the schools use of them. Even though I felt they were unfair, as she may hit children but doesn't do it to get something from them but out of frustration (and has been better about that recently), she also doesn't manipulate but had tried to pay people to "be her slave" which meant fanning her.
The problem I now realise is that they ascribe knowledge to her because she is bright, which she just doesn't have. She has also twice been accused of using words which she just didn't know. In both cases things have been reported back which have changed in the reselling.

Of course I now have to decide when to defend my DD and when to let things slide.

auntevil Tue 19-Feb-13 16:41:53

As has been said on this board many a time "pick your battles"
A few ill chosen words may result in a more pro-active approach as another professional deems there to be a problem. Parents are ime, not usually credited with having any weight to add to an argument. We are not dis-interested parties and obviously have no experience of how our child's behaviour relates to their peer group. wink

Handywoman Tue 19-Feb-13 17:07:49

OP it's great to hear your daughter is going to be assessed. IME that seems to be half the battle. I would deffo choose your battles wisely with the school, sometimes seeing negative things in black and white is harder, but it has probably helped get things moving with CAMHs. Good luck with the assessments, keep us posted.

itfriesthebrain Tue 19-Feb-13 17:26:14

jomaynard, my son would of been just turning 7 at the time. He did keep telling me that the girl in question was beautiful...easily the most beautiful girl in the school.

I would agree with everyone's posts about choosing your battles, I managed to step on some peoples toes when trying to help my Ds, which really didn't go down to well and looking back now (much calmer) I must of looked like I was loosing the plot (which technically I was but that's another thread grin)! So for the past 14 months I have been sitting back and assessing everything for at least a day before I decide what to do. Needless to say the majority of the time I will just let it go even though I am pretty sure that the school wanted me to go on in being a manic mom. hmm All of my energy is going into my Ds's assessments with camhs which I believe will make everything a dam site easier once we know exactly what Ds's difficulties are.

lougle Tue 19-Feb-13 18:44:01

jomaynard the school may well be trying to get you an extra bit of help. DD1's preschool really used the worst examples of her behaviours when writing their form. It got her the Special School place she could thrive in. Without that, she may well have ended up going to an unsuitable school for 1 or 2 years.

jomaynard Fri 12-Apr-13 07:39:49

Well the school seemed surprised, which shocked me as I thought it had been the "elephant in the room" at meetings.

However we now have an appointment in a couple of weeks. But we don't have the questionnaires yet, as apparently CAHMS have run out. They were nice, and gave me a date to remind them if I don't get them automatically. We also seem to be seeing the same Educational Psychologist who we saw before, who DD seemed to get on with, so that is one less worry. I also know he specialises in ASD.

I also have an appointment to talk to the SENCO of the secondary her siblings go to (DD is in year 5). Who is someone I respect, and will give me a good idea of how that school would help her cope.

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