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I need some perspective: is this SN?

(17 Posts)
plasticinemachine Sat 15-Nov-14 12:39:29

My daughter is 8. She has always been challenging behaviour wise, her 'red book' from health visitor visits all those years ago document our difficulties with behaviour and feeding issues (super fussy). Over the years we've had ups and downs. Times when I've thought all is actually ok and other times I just cannot work out where I'm going wrong.
I suspect at the moment she is experiencing some hormone surges & perhaps that is why her behaviour appears magnified, but I've muddled along for so many years with her, persuading myself that all is fine, that now I'm worried I've had it all wrong the entire time & that frightens me quite honestly. Here are my concerns:
*what she will eat (as in range of food) is becoming smaller & smaller despite consistently working on this. She wont even humour me and try things anymore. She refuses to eat breakfast unless its a specific brand cereal, I have tried everything to get her to eat other more healthy breakfasts, but she will just eat nothing unless she gets the specific cereal. If she is out without me she doesn't appear to eat, so she could go all day without eating not getting hungry signals until we are at crisis point.
*When she is out without me she does not get her needs met. She will go without drinking, eating and even has been known to wet herself instead of asking an adult to help her.
*She is highly controlling. She tells me how to drive (back seat driver!)
*She is breathtakingly rude to some adult members of the family. She has a high level of social justice and to adults she knows (ie family) she will be very forceful in her point of view and will not accept or tolerate unfairness. This may seem good in some ways but it is causing me problems. I cannot leave older family members to babysit her and her toddler brother anymore. She cannot bear him being told off by them or reprimanded in anyway whatsoever & I have been told she is rude and disrespectful. I think what happens is she believes everyone MUST go by the rules she is used to (and I do have rules and boundaries with her), but if someone else comes in and tries to move the boundaries she will rebel big time & will point blank refuse to do what they ask her.

I feel rather cross on the one hand with some of the adults in question. My daughter is bright and is a force of nature sometimes but I have overheard them arguing with her like she is an adult herself! She is at the end of the day an eight year old and I don't think they should be getting into wrangles with her. This is not to say that she should get her own way but they should make their point and firmly stick to it, but in a quiet and calm manner.

These people are telling me I have lost perspective because often parents cannot see the wood for the trees with their own kids. They think she is the one with the problem. She should basically just 'be seen and not heard' and should do what she is told with no question.

Oh dear, this is an essay! Can anyone offer any words of help of what to do? My DD is beginning to think she is an awful person. Her self-esteem is low. She tells me she is bossy and not a nice person. It makes me feel really sad.

plasticinemachine Sat 15-Nov-14 12:44:42

She does have a lack of social graces which I suppose might rub people up the wrong way. But she is essentially a good person - I see her as a leader not a follower, she is bright and active and is highly imaginative and creative. She has acquired a range of skills to a good standard. just to give the other sidesmile

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 15-Nov-14 14:17:21

From you description I would suspect a lot of her behaviours considered unacceptable by others stem from anxiety. Given you say you've always had some concerns it is possible it is caused by having some additional needs.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 15-Nov-14 14:18:25

Sorry to hear you're struggling. Have you had any professional input?

Ineedmorepatience Sat 15-Nov-14 14:46:25

Hi plasticine and welcome to the board.

Let me guess, your Dd is "fine" at school!!

kleinzeit Sat 15-Nov-14 15:05:39

Well, her inflexibility about rules, inability to communicate her needs, lack of social graces, and rudeness to adults are making me wonder about something a bit autism-spectrum-ish. The food issues can be associated with that too. And all that could be making her very anxious, as starlight says.

Most children will give way and do what adults in authority tell them even if they don’t understand why. But my DS has big issues accepting adult authority if it clashes with what he thinks is right. He has an Asperger’s diagnosis and it’s part of that. We have to be very careful about setting boundaries and not scolding him, and making sure that all the adults who deal with him are consistent and that he’s well warned in advance about any differences.

Seven or eight years old is one of those ages when the expectations on children go up and so do the challenges they face, which can mean that if they do have some subtle form of SN they start to find it harder to cope and their behaviour can get worse. Children develop at different rates and it doesn’t mean you’ve got anything wrong, but maybe she’s reached a stage where if she does have some difficulties or SN then they’re becoming clearer.

As for what to do… Whether it is an ASC or not, if it's affecting her behaviour and self-esteem then it's worth finding out what's going on. So going to the GP would be reasonable. Also, have you talked to her school? Does she get on with other kids, and is she OK with different teachers?

Wishing you and your DD all the very best flowers

zzzzz Sat 15-Nov-14 15:35:04

Ask for her to be assessed. You are going to be wondering and worrying for ever otherwise. In the meantime use the parenting strategies suggested for children with ASD/anxiety. They will help regardless of the underlying difficulty.

Well done for opening the window on your doubts. It's ghastly isn't it?

plasticinemachine Sun 16-Nov-14 09:43:16

Thanks for the replies and sorry its taken me a while to get back to the thread.

My DD does not attend school, she is home educated. However she is just about to start! She went to nursery at 6 months old when I went back to work, but it was a disaster, she refused to eat anything, refused her bottle & fought sleep. I used to get phone calls at work daily. I then moved her to a child minder who said she was great but highly demanding. Eventually I left work as she never settled.

Roll on a few years and I sent her to playschool. The first year she barely spoke and had trouble joining in according to her teacher. By the second year she had warmed up. However I experienced great difficulties with her when she came home. She was aggressive, angry and was having huge meltdowns.

I hadn't intended to home educate her but my husbands job changed suddenly and we had to move. Our catchment schools were either in special measures or over subscribed. We chose to home educate on a temporary basis, but continued as all was well. DD gradually made a group of home ed friends who she gets on well with. She is bright and doing well enough academically.

She goes to Brownies and a sports group and swimming classes. She does what she's told in all of them. Brownies has been hard though but we have perservered through problems. Problems were that she wouldn't speak there at all & has felt increasingly isolated from the other kids.

Looking back at her history now, I can see her difficulties may well be anxiety based. I had never made that connection before, so thank you for that.

She is starting school very soon as she has got to an age where she would like to try and I want to support her with that. I am worried about how it will go, but ultimately I want it to be everything she hopes for. She is looking forward to the excitement, the busyness of it and the bussle. So now there is an obvious pattern of anxiety, how do I address that and help her with her transition into school?

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 16-Nov-14 11:55:48

I think it would help you to write her history down. Then research some Of the 'hidden' disabilities such as ASD, ADHD, Selective Mutism, dyspraxia and find lists of symptoms.

Any symptoms that can be applied to your child write down and put one or two real life examples of that. Don't seek to diagnose yourself but take your list and history to your GP and request a referral to a developmental paediatrician. Though your child may well have anxiety, try to allow this to be the only explanation or you'll get a referral to Cahms which though might be useful, is a much longer pathway to getting an in depth assessment,

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 16-Nov-14 11:57:28

I meant don't allow her difficulties to be put down to anxiety.

plasticinemachine Sun 16-Nov-14 12:38:51

Thanks Starlightsmile Deep down I have wondered about ADHD or even ASD, she seems to tick many (but not all) the boxes. I think she feels different & has an awareness that she isn't quite the same as other girls she meets. I find it a bit sad as she just wants to fit in. Her friends are mostly boys.

Will she have to come to the GP with me? What should I tell her?

plasticinemachine Sun 16-Nov-14 12:39:55

Not that there's anything wrong with her having friends who are boys btw!:D

LIZS Sun 16-Nov-14 12:44:54

Don't take her to an initial appointment . Diarise the issues so you have some specific examples to describe to the gp and ask for a referral. Better to get the ball rolling before you introduce school in the mix.

Ineedmorepatience Sun 16-Nov-14 15:28:18

Fwiw, I agree with the others, the melting down after playschool and other activities would concern me as would the not talking.

I also agree about not taking her to the GP.

Good luck flowers

zzzzz Sun 16-Nov-14 16:27:45

Gives star a hard stare. Anxiety is not just feeling a bit shy. Social anxiety and selective mutism are sometimes part of ASD but equally valid dx in their own right.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 16-Nov-14 16:42:12

Oh zzzzz I'm not suggesting they aren't. I just know that support services for anxiety is a) shite, b)slow and c)will detract from detailed assessment of some of the other things the OP has raised that probably need to be.

So many kids with complex issues are put into a Camhs void of explanation, never to surface again. On the other hand, a full investigation can conclude anxiety in its own right if that is the best fit.

plasticinemachine Sun 16-Nov-14 16:45:07

Many thanks everyonesmile x

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