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Depression in children with ASD

(7 Posts)
Levantine Wed 05-Feb-14 10:27:31

My DS1 who is 7 is often aggressive, which we have always interpreted as stress and dealt with it by trying to keep the environment calm and so on.

It has escalated recently - worst examples being attacking himself with a potato peeler (couldn't find a knife), strangling a friend .... I could go on.

We told the paediatrician about this last week, who was pretty horrified, and is going to make a referral to camhs practitioners who work with children with disabilities (we were discharged from general camhs last year). She also used the word depression, which is the first time that any prof has used that word wrt to him, although I have wondered.

Last night my poor son said to me "I just pretend to be happy at school, inside I'm crying all the time" and then he was very still which is unusual for him. This morning I said I weould ask the class TA to be extra kind to him and he said "she'll just say oh he cheered up" which I thought was pretty perceptive!

Anyway - I don't know what to do really. We use explosive child techniques, which really work and I am about to look into the five point scale, but I wonder if he needs some support that is specifically for depression per se and not for the anxeity that arises from his dx. I don't know, I am wondering if they need to be separated out more.

I also think we are a whisker away from him deciding that he isn't going to go to school.

Can anyone help me formulate my thoughts?

OneInEight Wed 05-Feb-14 10:58:01

ds2 (AS, 11 years) in our opinion definitely suffers from depression despite the professionals being dismissive because of his young age. It is not just the violence (although that occurs) but the lack of interest in doing things that convinces us. I am not sure it is a separate entity to his AS and anxiety - they all seem to feed into each other. Although, his twin has the anxiety without the depression so maybe I am wrong.

It is enormous that your son has the recognition and willingness to say that he is unhappy at school and deliberately masks. Hopefully, this means that CAMHS will be able to offer CBT type therapies which ds2 just can't access as the anxiety is so great that he can't talk about his feelings at all - I just have to gauge from the level of violence.

For ds2 going to school helps the depression even though he hates going it does give him an interest in the world. He is on reduced hours though because of the anxiety & has a 1:1 TA. He is also benefitting from a buddy provided by SS who comes and plays with him a couple of times a week. We tried medication but had to stop because of side effects - it probably helped lift the depression though.

Levantine Wed 05-Feb-14 13:28:19

Thanks OneinEight, ds being able to articulate his feelings is a massive breakthrough, I am really pleased about it. I hadn't thought of the lack of interest as being depressed but you are right I think, he wouldn't leave his room until 3 on Sunday, he just stayed in bed and read.

I dont suppose you can really unpick it all but CBT is a good suggestion, I will push for that

Ineedmorepatience Wed 05-Feb-14 16:09:54

Dd3 has periods of being very low and our GP said he was worried about depression when she was 8 and was extremely unhappy at school.

She refuses to leave the house and just wants to lie next to me on the sofa.
The Asd specialist SALT has now recommended that she is seen by a clinical psychologist because when she is stressed she is effectively mute at school and is totally unable to put words to her feelings.

We have had some success with a word list of emotion words both positive and negative, it is laminated and Dd3 cirlces the words with a white board pen. She is able although reluctant to do this with support.

Its great that your Ds is starting to be able to find words for his feelings and hope he keeps talking.

Good luck smile

ouryve Wed 05-Feb-14 17:09:22

This is something we've been experiencing with DS1, since he's been back at school, this year. Hours and hours of endless ranting, far more meltdowns than usual, the appearance of tics - that's a completely new thing, and all punctuated by endless mooching and a complete inability to engage in anything productive.

Levantine Wed 05-Feb-14 17:13:39

Thank you. I was feeling a bit like a fraud because his needs can't be that bad if he can articulate them iyswim. But it is so helpful hearing from people who understand

Ineedmorepatience Wed 05-Feb-14 17:55:13

Not at all levantine dont feel like that, it is bad enough that he is so unhappy at school it is great that he can tell you but it doesnt make his needs any less sad

I feel sorry for all of our children who are struggling everyday at school and are often overlooked sad

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