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Any advice please to help DD suffering from Anxiety

(36 Posts)
Mummy23Monkeys Mon 07-Apr-14 19:28:18

I have read quite a few threads on here which have been very helpful so thought I would look to you knowledgeable people for advice please.

I have concerns about 2 of my children (which in itself makes me feel like I'm a paranoid mum) but will start with my DD.

I had concerns about her since age 3 and initially spoke to the health visitor who agreed my concerns needed looking into and the process began, when she started school at 4 the school thought I was mad as they just thought she was very 'sensitive'.
I won't list all the concerns but a lot were around routine, not liking change, terrible seperation anxiety (cried every day at nursery then clung to me when leaving her every day in reception class, for the whole school year!!), also sensory issues she chews things a lot (her nails, clothes, random objects) and has a massive fear of loud noises (hand driers, hoover, road works, sirens, fireworks etc)

After assessment we were told she had ASD traits but not enough for diagnosis, she 'just' suffers from anxiety. And that was that nothing further was done. By this time she was in Y1 and was much happier in school as the structure suited her much better than the 'free play' environment.

DD is now in Y3 but still struggling and my concerns are that although she has learnt to deal with a lot of her anxiety (she no longer freaks out going into a crowded school hall for assembly for example) and she covers her ears for some noises rather than get upset (but still cant handle fireworks or thunder) she still struggles with new things such as a school trip, she won't be able to sleep the night before, we have to google where the trip is so she knows about the place first, and will complain of stomach ache on the morning of the trip which I know from experience that her stomach is in knots from the worry. Depending on what the new thing is she can get into such a state which I can only think is a panic attack, which can take hours for her to calm down again. This recently happened at school and the TA said she sobbed all morning and nothing they tried helped her.

She chews her nails terribly and we have to have a bedtime routine of taking bad dreams out and putting good dreams in as she has a lot of nightmares.

I don't know if this is the right place to ask this but I feel like I have run out of ideas and she will always get herself in such a state over certain things, I just feel helpless and so sad that life is a constant worry for her and she is never relaxed.

Sorry this ended up being so long and I know that this is nothing compared to what some of you are going through but any advice would really be appreciated.

PolterGoose Mon 07-Apr-14 19:40:26

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PolterGoose Mon 07-Apr-14 19:41:59

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PolterGoose Mon 07-Apr-14 19:43:15

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Mummy23Monkeys Mon 07-Apr-14 20:14:39

Thank you for all the great links PolterGoose I will have a good read at all those! I have recently ordered the first book you suggested but will look at the other one too.

I haven't thought about having her reassessed, I didn't know you could to be honest, the main area she didn't fit last time was more the social side but as you say girls are very different and she has definately learnt a lot by copying other girls. She does have friends but not any good friends she seems to flit between various girls.

I am also concerned about DS1 at the minute (which I think I would need to start a separate thread for) so I do wonder if I'm just worrying too much or if there is a genuine problem.

Mummy23Monkeys Mon 07-Apr-14 20:18:04

Sorry I meant the first book under your Practical Resources I haven't ordered any books from your first reply but looking into them now, thanks.

PolterGoose Mon 07-Apr-14 20:24:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

troutsprout Tue 08-Apr-14 07:21:25

I found
The incredible 5 point scale very useful in dealing with ds's anxiety
I would also agree with getting her assessed again

My DS1 (6) sounds very similar - I thinking I need to try and use some aspergers techniques to help my son cope with anxiety and fear of separation.

I don't think he can actually have Aspergers as from what I read empathy/ understanding others is normally an element of aspergers, and he is hugely empathetic - too much so sometimes, so he has problems because of worrying about how others are feeling... He has mild sensory overload issues - noise, smells, sometimes clothing, although this is less of an issue than when he was a toddler. He doesn't really seem to have any unusual problems with people now (though as a toddler he cried uncontrollably if anyone he didn't know looked at him) it is new situations that are the problem.

The problem with new situations and being away from me is the huge issue atm - he won't play at friends houses (even very good friends of his choosing whom he has known for 3 years) unless I stay, which is making him look strange now as all playdates are drop off in his peer group, and he has an overnight trip coming up that his whole class are going on, but he is full of anxiety and worry about and doesn't want to go (though it is something he will enjoy). He absolutely flipped last week when the time came to go to a "Grandparents Day" at his Kindergarten - he goes to Kindergarten happily every day, and knows his grandparents well, but the day was supposed to be a special one for just grandparents and grandkids and he couldn't cope with the idea of going there with them to a day that would be different than normal - all he could explain was that he "didn't know what would happen" - first he cried, then when I picked him up and tried to put him in the car he went rigid and actually howled like a wild animal and clung to the roof of the car! I ended up going too - the only one who did, which stood out like a sore thumb as he is the tallest and almost the oldest child there, but the only one who couldn't get through the gate without his mum! Once there he clung to me til he'd scoped out what was going on, but half an hour in he was fine and I could hide in the background... Its not easy to do this though as I also have a toddler and an older child!

I have just ordered the 2 books recommended here, and was wondering about 'The Asperger Children's Toolkit', which I stumbled over on Amazon - the "look inside" preview looked useful, but I know my DH will think I am insane as he doesn't actually have Aspergers. I think it would help him, perhaps...

Has anyone seen/ used the "toolkit" or used techniques designed for Aspergers / HFA with children who probably only have "traits" rather than really being on the spectrum?

Mummy23Monkeys Tue 08-Apr-14 12:17:46

My mind is working overtime now as I hadn't even thought about getting her reassessed I have been busy focusing on and reading up about dealing with anxiety!
Would they not assess her the same as before or say she has already been assessed? I do feel like no one would support me if I did this as school and family didn't agree with me before (although dh did but I haven't told him about this thread yet)

Thanks troutsprout I will have a good read at the link as anything that may help is worth a try!

MrTumbles you DS does sound very much like my DD, we had a school mass at church last weekend, her teachers and children from her class were there but the panic and tears started before we even got out of the car! All she had to do was sit with them (we would still be in church just sat seperately) but no, by the time we walked in she was clung tightly to dh and wouldn't even speak to her teacher she was getting too upset so she just sat with us as we couldn't force her to join in. I think anything that will help your DS is worth a try even if it is aimed at children with Aspergers, my DD doesn't have a diagnosis either but I'm going to have a good read through all the suggested links on here.

I also have concerns about DS1 (age 5 in reception class) but now my head is thinking about reassessing dd I don't think I can deal with both at the same time! Plus people would definately think i was crazy with concerns about 2 at the same time!!
I am trying to get round to starting a seperate thread about my concerns with DS (very different child to DD)

Mollyweasley Tue 08-Apr-14 12:35:57

DD1 is very anxious. I find this website very useful www.anxietybc.com although if you want to adapt it to children with ASD you might want to watch Sarah Hendrickx video on tube it is a national autistic society video (sorry mouse not working can't copy link!)- i.e reassessment, it is possible that last time her difficulties weren't having a big enough impact on her life to justify a diagnosis. I think that this is what really counts how much impact have the difficulties have on the person and on the people around her, if this is increasing rapidly then you might want to consider a reassessment. Hope this helps...

PolterGoose Tue 08-Apr-14 13:10:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mummy23Monkeys Tue 08-Apr-14 14:12:58

Thank you so much all of you as you have really given me a lot to think about, I think initially I'm going to do a lot of reading and make notes/keep a diary so I feel justified when I'm ready to take this further.

Another thing that has just come to mind from reading another thread is that DD is very tired recently, asking to go to bed earlier than usual, this could be because of trying to 'keep up appearances' so to speak which is tiring her out? Good job its Easter soon as think she is ready for a break!

Ineedmorepatience Tue 08-Apr-14 14:44:22

Hi mummy I have a Dd who is 11 and has Asd, I agree with everything polter has said but just wanted to add that alot of proffs are still missing Asd in girls because they present differently to boys.

Pretending to fit in and coping with all the stresses of school every day is exhausting for our children.

Definitely consider a re assessment and keep a diary so that you have information about what she struggles with, what causes the struggle[ if you know] and how you deal with it. This will help the proff to get a picture of where her difficulties lie.

Dd3's paediatrician says that children with Asd have an emotional/social age 2/3's of their chronological age, so the gap gets bigger as they get older.

Good luck and keep coming on here for support with both your children smile

That is interesting Polter, about the empathy... He seems quite tuned in to how people are feeling - and fictional characters in books too, its the main thing that has ruled out seriously believing he might have Aspergers/ HFA for me up til now. I read "the highly sensitive child" by somebody Aron, abd a lot of that seemed like him (aside from the fact he is very sporty and very happy to get filthy) but a lot of the non typical things about DS1 also seem to bring up resources for children with Aspergers, when he is having an overwhelmed and difficult phase and I start grasping around to try to help him. I am not going to liok for a diagnosis because where we live (Bavatia) tiny things seem to flag up special schools, which would be absolutely wrong for him... just looking for ideas and resources.

Our copy of 'Panicasuarus' arrived today and at bedtime I read it with DS1, and he loved it and wanted to do all the breathing exercises, and was very cheerful and invested in it as we read it grin but I put him and his big sister (8) to bed at the same as they both need the same amount of sleep (and DD has to be up earlier for school in the week, so letting the oldest stay up doesn't work), and DD managed to develop all the physical affects of panic described in the course of the story whilst reading it and go to bed crying with a tummy ache (she always has "held" her tension in her stomach and had psychosomatic tummy aches) - she needed a hot water bottle and medicine in the end - what is it with my kids! confused

PolterGoose Fri 11-Apr-14 21:31:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Thanks Polter - DD is outwardly a very (exceptionally) outgoing and confident child - on the surface the polar opposite of DS1, but she has always had a very thoughtful, sensitive side - she has a worry book she writes her worries in (doesn't work for DS1 as he can't write very well yet - not a SN really as the school starting age is different here and he isn't at school yet - most of his peers can't either, but it limits the anxiety management strategies which often suggest writing for 6 year olds).

I think she is (perhaps half unconsciously) feeling left out and jealous as I have been working with DS1 quite a bit recently, trying to get him to a place where he can cope with an overnight stay at his grandparents this holiday and the class trip next month (we have had a meeting with his teacher, at his own suggestion, where we asked her to talk through what will happen on the trip in detail, from how the suitcases go on to bus onwards...) and DH is away so its me juggling 3 kids - littlest is demanding in a normal toddler way, so I can sometimes expect too much off DD and forget she is still little too!

Must be so hard for people dealing with more than one child with problems bigger than "just" anxiety!! blush

PolterGoose Fri 11-Apr-14 21:45:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Thanks again Polter - I feel a bit on my own with it, as DH's strategy was to tease him for being a baby... hmm He has stopped doing that because I asked him to, but is leaving it to me. His Kindergarten teacher (who is also the head of the 70 strong Kindergarten) is very good and patient with him - there is a big culture of independence and self reliance for children here - which I actually agree with in theory - but it makes DS1 stick out more than he would in the UK.
I also don't want to even consider looking into any kind of diagnosis or therapy for him at this point as the whole educational system here in Bavaria is different and there is little to no inclusion - I don't think a child with any SN diagnosis would get a place in the local school (a friend of my DDs just had a bad stammer and was sent to a speech and language school - though as it happens his mum says its a brilliant place and he's thrived... and DS1's close friend has some mild gross motor control and muscle issues and his mum had to fight to have him go to the local village school even though nobody can actually find any way they'd impact his schooling except that in years 3 and 4 he'll be upstairs and he still comes downstairs very carefully, like a toddler - but it's such a small school he'll hardly be swept down in the rush...); any SN child from our villages would have to go to the next big town a long bus ride away without the kids he's grown up with all his life - it would be counter productive for him personally.

Mummy23Monkeys Sun 13-Apr-14 19:35:16

Sorry haven't had chance to check on my thread over the weekend! That book sounds good MrTumbles might get that for DD, sorry to hear it caused more upset for your DD though sad

I have now discussed this thread with DH and we have decided to do a lot of reading up and making notes, at same time keep a diary of things that affect DD or things she does. Then once we feel we have all our info together we will take the next step.

In the mean time I'm going in to speak to DD's teacher as the school are aware of her anxiety which can flare up when she is struggling with work. She find maths really difficult, she just doesn't get it and still gets numbers confused. They are currently learning times tables which we have to practice over and over (and even then she struggles) but on Friday they were told they have to learn them in reverse so they learn to divide, this send DD into a complete panic and she got upset but said the teacher just ignored her!!

I know she has still got to have a go but maths will never be her strong point and this is just another worry she has going round her head causing the current upsets, stomach aches, chewing etc

Another thing DD complains about a lot is itching, I have tried different ways to relieve it for her and can't see anything but it drives her mad sometimes. Does anyone know if this could be another sensory thing?

PolterGoose Sun 13-Apr-14 20:03:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mummy23Monkeys Sun 13-Apr-14 20:17:10

Thanks PolterGoose I wish we could give up on the times tables and let her learn them at her own pace but the whole class will be tested so she will have to go through it anyway so we might as well at least try to learn some hmm

As for the itching it isn't constant she seems to complain about more at certain times and then she doesn't mention it for a while, I'm wondering if it comes when she is particularly worried about something? I have tried antihistamine but not for any length of time so its worth a try, thanks!

sunshine175 Sun 13-Apr-14 21:22:56

My DD covered up really well at school. They saw some signs - very sensitive, socially didn't fit in but was always told she was fine at school. I honestly thought her anxiety issues were due to us being anxious parents and her meltdowns just became normal life to us at home. In year 4 a super teacher wondered if she had aspergers. It took us until year 6 to get the diagnosis. Year 7 and the transition to secondary school and she has collapsed. I wish with all my heart that we had had the diagnosis earlier and got her the support she needed. My coping girl who is socially a great mimic is now a very distressed girl with asd and severe anxiety. Please ask for a reassessment. Please ask for a specialist who is aware of how girls present on the autistic spectrum and if you are are not satisfied ask for a referral to a tertiary specialist centre. I don't want another family to be where we are because their girl was missed. Good luck.

Mummy23Monkeys Sun 13-Apr-14 22:14:08

So sorry to hear about what has happened with your DD sunshine she sounds very like my DD and I am already worried about how she will cope with transition to secondary school!

Thank you for your advice I have noted down what you have told me to ask for to make sure she gets the correct assessment, I really don't want to see her worse than she already is sad

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