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DD (8yo) having huge meltdowns at home - could this be Aspergers?

(17 Posts)
runningLou Mon 14-Mar-16 09:36:57

For the past year we have been struggling with DD's behaviour - it has got worse this school year (Y3) and now we are at the point where she is having daily, sometimes twice daily meltdowns at home. This can be triggered by tiny things - e.g. an instruction to get dressed in the morning. She will rant and rage, become very distressed, lash out verbally and physically. She also hits and kicks herself.
It is horrible to see and we have tried different behaviour strategies but nothing seems to be working.
She is not very comfortable in her friendship group at school which has become toxic. She has no friends outside of school and is very reluctant to do clubs/activities due to severe separation anxiety - she will go swimming but if DH moves from the poolside so she can't seem him, she becomes hysterical in the pool.
She finds after school club extremely stressful/distressing also and I have decided to pull her out from after the Easter holidays.
At the moment we are in discussion with the school who are doing pastoral workshops with her social group and she has also had a one to one session. Am at a loss as to what else to try. We also have a CAMHS referral pending with GP due to some of her language (threatening to kill herself).
Posted about DD's behaviour on another thread and had a lot of replies saying it sounded like she had Aspergers. OTOH she is well-coordinated, not dyspraxic, has no issues with school work/reading, and is able to deal with some social situations.
Is it worth pursuing an assessment? Am very concerned an EP who observed her in school would not pick up on anything. All her difficult behaviour is at home, so other than the fact that she gets upset at school when the whole class are told off and she wasn't doing anything, there are no symptoms as such visible in school.

PolterGoose Mon 14-Mar-16 13:52:02

Yes, pursue assessment. Her behaviour sounds like it is outwith the 'normal range' so it's worth doing.

My ds was presenting very challenging and violent behaviours in school and school still maintained there wasn't a problem! Don't let it put you off, the knowledge about autism in girls is ever-increasing and 'masking' is commonplace.

For home I highly recommend the book 'The Explosive Child'.

Good luck flowers

Ineedmorepatience Mon 14-Mar-16 14:44:06

Have a look at this!

Tony Attwood is a leading Proff in the world of autism and is really helping with the mis diagnosing or non diagnosis of females on the spectrum.

Also what polter said ^^

vimeo.com/122940958

Good luck flowers

Cookingwine Mon 14-Mar-16 19:46:08

your DD presents in a very similar way than my DD, she became really unhappy in year 3, school was not concerned, I changed her school, it improved a bit, then she properly lost the plot in year 5, but still the school was not tuned to ASD, she eventually self diagnosed and I decided to go private for an assessment, it was definitely ASD. I am soooo happy I finally understand her baffling behaviours and explosive tantrums for seemingly trivial things, she is my middle DC and I was going potty trying to make sense of everything about her. Read as much as you can about ASD and girls and if it fits the bill don't be put off by incompetent school staff and follow your instincts.

shazzarooney99 Mon 14-Mar-16 21:54:06

Follow your instincts, sounds like my son xxxxxx again started year 3/4 very unhappy in school, refusing to go, always feeling sick ect, lashing out at anything, trying to kill himself hitting himself or us, the list is endless xxx

shazzarooney99 Mon 14-Mar-16 21:56:03

You know I once sent an email to Tony Atwood when I was desprate, I never heard back though!!!

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 15-Mar-16 11:53:11

I would pursue assessment, be her advocate. Infact you are her best - and only - advocate here.

Junior school anyway can be an unforgiving place particularly for a child who cannot easily understand the unwritten social codes.

I would also look at now applying for an EHCP for her too; have a look at IPSEA's website www.ipsea.org.uk.

Her additional needs at school are not being at all met here. This type of scenario where the child's frustrations of the school day are internalised only to let rip at home (a safe place) happens time and time again because of this.

Many quiet, compliant to a fault and non disruptive children in class with additional needs go unnoticed. This happens too simply because school staff are generally not trained to spot any sort of additional needs.

You also need to think longer term i.e. secondary school as well. Her additional needs will need to be fully met before she goes anywhere near that type of school.

runningLou Fri 25-Mar-16 07:03:01

Child therapist says it is not Aspergers due to lack of telltale signs but severe anxiety. What is the best way to help a child with this? Counselling? I feel awful as have GAD myself so feel like I have passed on my shitty way of coping with the world.

imip Fri 25-Mar-16 07:17:25

Just to say, I was fobbed off by a child psychologist that said my child has anxiety for over a year. DD ended up self harming at the age of 6. She was then referred to cahms, at our first meeting they suspected ASD. She was diagnosed by cahms about 7 months later.

If from all you have read here, you still suspect ASD, don't give up pushing to have her assessed.

imip Fri 25-Mar-16 07:20:48

Sorry, also, how did the therapist assess? I'm assuming there was no ADOS? Sorry to presume, but a child therapist probably wouldn't perform it. It needs to be someone with lots of experience with ASD. Push for this. We had someone who really wasn't in a position to tell us it wasn't ASD, and it brought us all, Dd, dh, me and the other 3 siblings to our knees and has done us all a massive disservice as we try to reconstruct the family after things spiralling out of control. Dd is only 7.

runningLou Fri 25-Mar-16 09:10:56

She did SLT test for social communication, so figurative / emotional language etc. DD had really high level of understanding in all areas, no misunderstanding. Very perceptive. She didn't do ADOS due to this.

Ineedmorepatience Fri 25-Mar-16 10:26:20

I agree with imip it would concern me that AS has been dismissed by one person doing one assessment!

Most females with AS get mis diagnosed or are refused a diagnosis before they actually get the correct diagnosis!

Some females spend yrs being treated for anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, bi polar etc etc before they finally get the correct diagnosis.

If you think your Dd matches the criteria for AS then you are probably right and should push for further assessments! Request a DISCO if you do.

Good luck flowers

imip Fri 25-Mar-16 14:23:42

Dd could also be interpreted as being very socially/emotionally switched on. A recent conversation with the ed psych went like this. Context is dd has two good friends who hate each other and she wants them to be friends. "Friend 1 and friend 2 just don't get along, 1 is really trying to be kind to 2, doing all nice things and trying to be her friend, 2 really needs to be kind back and they need to be friends" (I wasn't there, but I assume that this was delivered in monologue fashion, but with great emotion, possibly overemotive). Ed psych responds, "that's very perceptive, imipdd, and why do you feel this way (apparently at this point, ed psych is questioning the ASD). Dd, "because they are not thinking about me, who do they think I feel in all of this, they are not considering my feelings etc etc".

Underlying dd's appearance of being emotionally switched on, is a very typically egotistical view of the friendship. She is only able to ultimately consider her role in friendship. Even that dd is popular is a cover, but scratch at the surface, and you can really see the difficulties she faces.

runningLou Fri 25-Mar-16 16:53:42

Wow, I can imagine DD having that exact conversation. She has an entirely egotistical view of friendship. I had no idea that was an ASD thing though ... I know lack of empathy is. DD has a CAMHS referral and we are on waiting list at the moment. Can they diagnose ASD?

imip Fri 25-Mar-16 17:40:49

It really depends on your area as who can diagnose. In our area it is also the age of the child.

Egotistical as in unable to consider others. Dd can have empathy in bucket loads, but it's on a macro level. She's deeply concerned about the homeless (I think underlying that though is a fear she may one day be homeless), and very sad about all the people who died on the titanic. However, she would threaten to kill her sister in a daily basis.

It's taken a lot for me to unravel dd. we only received her diagnosis in nov after a 2+ year battle. I'd spent so long reading about ASD generally that I hadn't really applied it to dd's particular traits and tried to consider what underlies them. I am doing that now, it's actually pretty fascinating how she works. She completely copies her peers, their personalities. It's a marvel to watch and helps me to 'cope' better with her difficulties was I can see how purely 'autistic' they are. I hope that makes sense.

Earlyday Sat 26-Mar-16 21:43:05

My DS is very perceptive about social situations - he could answer any question in a setting like that - like about how people are feeling in certain situations and why they feel that way and what would be an appropriate way to act etc. he can read subtle facial expressions and can read between the lines of a conversation.

DS has high functioning autism. He struggles socially because he doesn't always bother noticing what others are up to around him as he's quite content focusing on what he's interested in - and doesn't always make eye contact - but he's very perceptive when he chooses to be.

For DS to be assessed he was seen by a psychologist (over several sessions including a school visit), a Physio and an OT and a speech and language therapist.

Best to get her assessed as whatever the issue is she clearly needs help. Your daughter's anxiety sounds like it's having a more significant impact on her than my son's aspergers is having on him.

runningLou Sun 27-Mar-16 09:11:23

DD is the opposite of what you describe - she is hyper aware of what others are doing around her and is always eavesdropping and observing. Sometimes she is so focused on other people she is just staring and it's hard to get her attention. OTOH she can also behave inappropriately in public, like yelling at DH or me in a crowded car park, or yesterday at the cinema she was repeating phrases she found funny very loudly. She is a curious mixture and I can't work her out. I would be happy to accept she is just quirky other than the incredible angry outbursts and obvious distress at friendship issues. With her friends the bog issue is that at school she is a rigid rule follower and finds it very difficult when other people do not obey rules or go unpunished. She is very paranoid she will be disbelieved - sort of like a persecution complex / paranoia.
At home the most difficult thing is timing and transitions e.g. getting dressed and ready for school or interrupting her, as she sees it, with requests. Yesterday I called her for tea - she had had a warning it would be very soon - and she had just started a game and was immediately yelling at me that she didn't want tea, that no one cared if she was having fun etc. It always takes a while to talk her down and get her to accept a compromise.

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