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Daughter in reception - teacher says shes showing signs of aspergers/autism

(19 Posts)
Emerald6 Wed 22-Oct-14 21:57:44

I'm just back form my first parents evening and my daughters reception teacher said she has never met anyone quite like her before. She described her as very quiet and struggles socially and finds it difficult to be with/play with more than two other children. (She's anything but quiet at home and can be carefree but somedays very emotional) I've always described her as highly sensitive. Her teacher was suggesting Aspergers testing but was playing it cool and trying not to alarm me, she said she'd keep an eye on her at this stage. My girl is bright, imaginative and has high levels of concentration and persistence, but can also be very fixed about things. Over the Summer she insisted on having the same book (called starting school) read to her each evening and if I suggested anything else she'd get very upset for an hour of so. So I tend to read the book she wanted to avoid the noise and upset. But what really worries me, was she would say the same things about the book at the same pages every evening. She's out of that phase now, but there are other little routines she creates for her self and then gets worked up if it doesn't go her way. Shes always been like this so I'm used to it now. Having a second child made me realise how difficult my eldest is. I have wondered about Aspergers/social difficulties before but family members always try to tell me she's just like everyone else. I know she isn't and hearing her teacher say the same just made me sad, knowing how difficult it is for her interacting with others. My husband thinks it all goes back to her difficult birth. Starting school has been very tough for her. Does anyone have any similar experiences? Thanks for listening.

Ineedmorepatience Wed 22-Oct-14 22:09:19

I suspected my Dd3 had Aspergers before she started school but her school never supported me. They generally said that Dd3 was the way she was because I was an over fussy parent.

It took until Dd3 was 9 before she was diagnosed!!

If you are worried, make some notes, keep a diary of her quirks and go to your GP to ask for a referral to a developmental paediatrician.

Good luck smile

Sameshitdifferentusername Wed 22-Oct-14 22:29:21

Sounds very very familiar. What you say about not realising just how difficult your DD was until you had DC2 is exactly how I feel about my DD.

My DD's year 1 & 2 teachers both mentioned aspergers to me. In year 1 it was more a lets wait and see, but by year 2 her teacher was pushing me to get her assessed. In some ways it's a lot easier if school is on your side, the SENCO wrote a referral letter for my GP and I'm sure I was taken much more seriously because my concerns were backed up by the school.

It takes a long time to go through the referral process - I have waited 5 months just for an initial appointment with community paediatrics. So if you wanted to get your DD assessed I would start sooner rather than later.

I'm afraid my DD's problems have only got more noticeable as she's got older (she's 7) as a lot of things I put down to immaturity but I've noticed the gap between her and her peers widen more and more as time goes by.

Emerald6 Thu 23-Oct-14 00:17:19

Thanks for your replies ladies.

I have lots of people in my life who I'm sure think I pander and over fuss to my daughter when really, what I'm doing is seeing the signs and have the experience to know that the situation will become increasingly difficult for her.

In the past other outspoken parents have lots of (unasked for) advice and have suggested that my daughter needs 'to work it out for herself' etc. I've learnt over time that those type of people don't have space in our life any more because they have a complete lack of understanding and I think believe that their childs personality etc is totally down to their parenting and therefore our daughters personality is down to ours. Having another child has given me so much confidence that that is not the case!

Clearly from both of your messages it is important to get on with it, I will pursue getting her tested. I hope those older family members support us...I already feel resistance from them...

How have you found your children making friends? Any suggestions? We moved to a new area two years ago which rocked her world but also really made her clingy to me, which she still is. We have decided to move again before Sept 2015 as we know we are not in the right area and to be honest, none of us have found this current area very friendly. I'm worrying about the move for her, but longterm, we as a family need to live closer to friends/family.

frizzcat Thu 23-Oct-14 06:52:38

There are ways to prepare her for a move, I would never say it would eradicate her anxiety but hopefully it would help.

As the move approached and seeing as she like books I would make her a book. Talk about the move around her and wait for her to ask questions about it. Hopefully you'll be able to pick up which aspects of the move she's anxious about.
You can address these things in your "Moving Book" - is she creative? Could she help you make the book?
I would have lots of pictures of the new house, her room etc. Only put into the book what can be set in stone for moving day, so things like the removal truck and lots of boxes. What you're having for meal times that day, so sandwiches for lunch, fish & chips for dinner?
If she is going to a relative on move day, I would still make the book and call her with little updates on what stage you're at.

Would she be starting a new school? Same thing if she is, lots of pictures especially teachers. Something that helps my ds is to know the register, so he knows the names of all the children in the class (first names only).

Hope you're ok, it's incredibly sad when someone else agrees with your suspicions. Be good to yourself, do as others have said make notes, maybe ask the Senco at your school to observe her and then decide of she needs a referral to a developmental paediatrician.

salondon Thu 23-Oct-14 07:39:37

If its nothing, then all you loose is some time on appointments. But if she is on the spectrum then it's better to have her seen by specialists and have the right support put in place. I have a severe asd girl so I can't relate much. However, there are many high functioning kids' parents on this board so you might want to ask them about what strategies they have in place. While you wait for appointments

Also, document(written and video) what you can

SystemId Thu 23-Oct-14 07:44:47

Hello Emerald
Your post resonates with me so much!
I will post later when have time but didn't want to read & run

PolterGhoul Thu 23-Oct-14 08:35:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Emerald6 Thu 23-Oct-14 10:02:36

Wow, thanks for all these posts and your kind words.

We have decided to book an appointment with the GP. To be honest hearing her say that last night is sad but also a bit of a relief that I'm not going mad...whenever I have suggested or pointed out things in the past to people, they are coming from a good kind place, but always say I am over worrying etc and 'she's just like every other child'. I'm not a natural worrying type, infact, I'm very much a people person, so these statements just make me question myself rather than make me feel OK about Annalises current 'quirk'.

So having someone without agenda to just say it like it is, especially her teacher, was really helpful.

Tunna Thu 23-Oct-14 19:02:23

Re your family: when I first broached it with my mum, I could see the doubt in her face and at our next meet she said, I don't see any problems, he played fine with his uncle (whose 40).

It wasn't until we saw the paediatrician and she explained it was a neurological disorder that affects how they socially communicate & interact that my mums attitude changed. Now she's his biggest advocate.

I'm not suggesting that all your family will suddenly get your DS, but with knowledge comes understanding.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.

SystemId Thu 23-Oct-14 22:45:12

I felt so like you in the run up to DS diagnosis.
Friends also thought I was being precious with DS, and it was very painful to be judged thus.
Relatives were also anti getting help.

But I went with my gut instinct and figured I would never regret seeking help if he turned out not to need it - but would the other way round.

ohtobeanonymous Fri 24-Oct-14 18:09:12

OP - you are so remarkably lucky that you have a class teacher who is so switched of to the possibility of ASD behaviours. Can the school refer her or do you need to go via a GP.

If going through a GP, do insist on being referred for a proper diagnosis. My GP incorrectly and patronisingly described my DD as 'precocious' and her tics as 'something some people just have and shouldn't be worried about'. School teachers said she was just a bit 'socially awkward' and had NO idea. Ended up paying for a private psychologist to help her deal with her depression and low self esteem, which actually led to a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome!

If your DD is on the spectrum, a diagnosis will only be good news because she can then access appropriate help and strategies. It is definitely hard to think of yr DD having 'no friends' and to imagine the worst possible outcomes academically, but I can honestly say that getting a diagnosis freed my DD to be herself, to feel comfortable with being 'different' (she never understood why she felt so isolated before), and she has never been happier (diagnosis and also changing schools for a fresh start ..sadly patterns of bullying had emerged and previous school dealt with these extremely poorly)

Good luck with finding the best support for her as she starts her school career!

Hejling Sat 25-Oct-14 00:12:26

I am new to Mumsnet (I can see lots of late nights ahead of me getting drawn into this addictive world!). Am a highly specialist independent SLT with 2 boys of my own. I come across lots and lots of well-meaning professionals in my work (and sometimes well-meaning in laws too), but get really frustrated (and sometimes downright angry) when non-qualified professionals offer up a diagnosis of young children, usually ASD. Even as a specialist in the area myself and having been qualified for 18 years, I am not professionally able to give a diagnosis or even a suggestion of a formal diagnosis of something like Aspergers. That can ONLY come from a suitably qualified paediatrician, and often only after serious assessment and monitoring of progress. I am sure your daughter's teaching was well meaning, but banding around the term Aspergers after only knowing your daughter for a few weeks is just not on. Some families just wouldn't know how to cope with a conversation like that. There are so many areas of communication that young children can struggle with and it is not often until they are 6, 7 or even older that we start to pull it all apart and determine if a child is high functioning ASD, semantic-pragmatic disorder, specific language disorder, language delayed, auditory processing disorder, ADD or just plain shy and introverted. You get the idea!
I am reading this back and trying to decide wether to post at it sounds a bit stroppy, so sorry if I come across as mrs grump - I don't mean to. It's just one of those things that I see more and more and it can cause so much upset and harm. Of course people should be honest, and parents may well make a "diagnosis" of their child before anyone else because they know them best of all, but ASD can, and often is, misdiagnosed in young children and that can be so damaging to a family finding their way.
Will jump off my soap box now and end by saying hope things wor out ok for your daughter. Xx

salondon Sat 25-Oct-14 06:44:39

I don't see how the teacher diagnosed the child. What is wrong in raising concerns with the parent? If anything it's a good thing. I wish I had such carers in my child's settings. Everyone kept fobbing me off.

MeAndMySpoon Sat 25-Oct-14 08:05:42

Hi Emerald, welcome.

Lots of wise words here, but I thought I'd just say that a lot of us share your sense of sadness because you'd always had a hunch that there was something going on with your DD. I think this is something a lot of us feel. To have that hunch amplified by your teacher's concern can really be a heart-sink moment.

But like others have said here, if you think there is something that needs investigation, having her seen by a paed and assessed can only be a good thing. If she does turn out to be on the spectrum you can start to get her help, and the school will accommodate her needs and help her with transitions or other situations she finds hard.

It can be very irritating, and not at all helpful, for friends to say 'Oh, MY child does that!' (meaning: she is fine, she is 'normal', stop worrying) or 'she's so young still' (meaning: your parental instincts and your very expert knowledge of your own child mean little because your child is only 18 months/3 years/5 years/insert relatively young age here). While the teacher, confirming your concerns, has made your heart sink, she does sound very turned-on and helpful.

PolterGhoul Sat 25-Oct-14 08:44:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Emerald6 Mon 27-Oct-14 10:42:39

Hello all and thanks so much for your messages. Just popped back here as we are currently having a week away which couldn't have been timed better. Really good to get away from it all and give us some space as a family to work out our plan. The main thing for me is that I've always had a thought she's not quite the same as other kids by the way she plays and what she talks about. Often pretty heavy stuff and rarely carefree. Well meaning people in my life are always trying to put my worries to one side by kind but not necessarily helpful words. To have the teacher tell me she's not met anyone like her before was the last thing I thought she was going to say as I'm almost used to people trying to stop me from airing my worries. But so helpful as it's brought her differences to the forefront of our lives which is where they need to be. So much to think about, not really sure where to turn other than here! So thank you. I've found a website called power wood based in devon which also talks along many of the same traits my daughter has so I'm going to get in touch with them too.

fairylightsintheloft Mon 27-Oct-14 20:46:42

Ds is 5 and in the process of being assessed. We started to tentatively talk about asd when he was 2. Preschool identified some anxiety issues and put an IEP in place. His nursery teacher spoke to us about 6 weeks in and suggested we start the process, which we did, almost 18 months ago - his reception teacher was great, an nqt, but very aware of sen and supported him brilliantly. In y1 his much older teacher seems quite resistant and we are trying to get confirmation now of what support he is getting. We also were v irritated by friends and family 'reassuring' us that he was fine when we knew he wasn't. . Grandparents in particular have found it hard to understand what it means. OP, please do start the looong process and talk to the school in the meantime about what they're doing to support her.

EssexGurl Fri 31-Oct-14 18:18:48

I so wish DSs reception teacher had told me something like this rather than having a year of battles and stress. I don't think I have cried quite as much as I did in that first year of school.

Something obviously was not right but I couldn't articulate it. School subsequently just managed his issues but didn't talk to me about them. When I brought things up I was made to feel like a paranoid mum with her PFB. The relief when his Y4 teacher broached assessment was incredible.

Our school are notoriously bad with SEN and a lot of the parents won't accept their kids have issues. It is horrid. Thankfully less than 2 years left.

It sounds like you have a great teacher. Go with assessment. It might be nothing but if it I, you will be able to put in place the support you all need.

Good luck.

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