Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Anxiety or Autism? Please help...

(21 Posts)
persianpeach Thu 15-Sep-16 00:11:43

Someone suggested that my 8 year old daughters extreme separation anxiety could be a form of autism.
I really have no idea if this could be the case and I just don't know where to start.
Thinking about other possible symptoms now such as her always getting distressed in new situations and not wanting to go to any new after school activities, friends houses etc. Hating loud noises such as hand dryers in public toilets and holding her ears if a motorcycle passes and her hiding behind me. Being scared of the underground and crowded noisy places. Scared and begging to leave the circus with her when I took her there for a birthday treat because it was dark and she was frightened. Not wanting to try any new foods. Never, ever admitting she is wrong and always making excuses for any mistakes she has made, she never accepts responsibility. Being very serious with friends a lot of the time and not lightening up if you know what I mean.
All these things sound trivial I know and I have no idea if these incidents are normal behaviour for an 8 year old or not or if she had general anxiety about lots of things or could this be a sign of autism?
Am I overreacting?
The thing is she is so anxious and telling me she doesn't want to go to school because she misses me and doesn't want to be without me she says it makes her feel sad sad She's crying a lot at school and needs constant reassurance from teaching staff. These anxieties seem to be becoming more common and are ruling hers and my life.
I don't know what I should do to help her, I'm getting preoccupied by how unhappy she is and worried I don't understand her and therefore won't be able to help her. I'm left feeling quite low and isolated myself watching everyone else's children skipping happily in and out of school whilst mine is a quivering wreck.
Please can anyone help me.

PolterGoose Thu 15-Sep-16 07:08:39

Poor dd sad

If you suspect then it's definitely worth reading up and getting her assessed. It can help to make notes to support a referral and to know a little about how autism can present in girls, as it's often more subtle and not all doctors are aware of the range of autistic presentations.

FeistyColl Thu 15-Sep-16 15:52:16

Poor you and your poor dd. It doesn't sound trivial at all and I don't think you are overreacting. I think it would make sense to pursue a referral (CAMHS probably). I don't know if your dd has asd but mine does, and the increasing anxiety was very much a part of initial concerns (aged 8).
I understand exactly how you are feeling (whether or not your dd's anxiety is asd related). It's not a nice place to be but there are sadly quite a few of us. I found it really helpful talking to others in a similar situation.
There is a lot of information out there about girls and asd but as Polter says not all professionals are as well informed as they should be 😞
Good luck

Idliketobeabutterfly Thu 15-Sep-16 19:42:44

You could go to your GP and ask for a referral to a paediatrician.

zzzzz Thu 15-Sep-16 21:03:29

Regardless of if she has ASD or not she does have anxiety. It's far more common than people realise and it can get MUCH better.
It takes more than 20 +be experiences to balance one -ve. This is because as children we are programmed to be very averse to things that are dangerous. It's what keeps small children alive but for some it can be really debilitating. My opinion is that this facet of behaviour is magnified in some children and definitely in children with ASD. It takes risk averse to new heights.

Ignore everything and just focus on what makes her happy. Be it snacks, juice, trips, toys, experiences or cuddles, just keep doing it till she rights herself.

Ohmuther Thu 15-Sep-16 22:17:50

Hello - I could have written your post myself OP! DD8 has been referred to CAMHS for extreme anxiety & paediatrician is now saying she suspects Aspergers. Having read up a bit on girls & Aspergers DD seems like an almost textbook case. We'll have to wait and see what the professionals think. After my initial shock & sadness wore off I'm left thinking well at least now she might get the help she needs (& so might I). The national Autistic Society has a helpline - it might help to give them a ring http://www.autism.org.uk/services/helplines/main.aspx I send hugs it's a bloody challenging time flowers

Ineedmorepatience Thu 15-Sep-16 23:16:42

I have a Dd with Asd/aspergers, she has massive anxiety issues especially with separation.

I am her safe space and her voice because she cannot speak when she is anxious! School was very difficult for her and she is now home ed!

Its really working for us because as her confidence builds she is much less anxious.

The most difficult thing that may people get wrong with anxiety is thinking that exposure to the things that cause the anxiety will eventually make it fet better! I dont think that works with people with autism. I think it just breaks them.

Go to your GP and ask for a referral to the autism assessment pathway.

Good luck 💐

persianpeach Wed 21-Sep-16 16:38:01

Thank you so much everyone for reading and replying to my post. It's such a relief to feel heard and to know that I am not alone.
I am totally uncertain as to whether my daughter is suffering with severe anxiety on its own or if autism or similar could be the underlying cause.
One things for sure I do feel compelled to ask for help in trying to ascertain that so that I can insure the best possible support for her.
I am currently working on a self referral to CAHMS, I will also contact the educational psychologist for advice in the meantime as school is the catalyst, we can avoid most other things for the time being!!
I would love to home educate if I thought I was clever enough and financially able to give up my part time job but that feels impossible. I can definitely see the logic and agree that forcing an anxious child to face their fears can be catastrophic sometimes.
Where do all of you go to talk to one another to get advice and support? I could really do with some of that sometimes, it's so isolating sad
Thank you all again x x x

skibeck32 Tue 27-Sep-16 19:27:58

Hi Persian,
I also could have written your post! My DD has many of the characteristics your daughter has. I had a discussion with her teachers and the school SENCO who agreed that she does have additional needs and to obtain a referral from the GP.

I have just come back from the GP who has said a CAHMS referral can only come from the school nurse and health visitor. Am back at square one and hoping to work through another route. I expect the school will tell me to go back to the GP. A bit fed up with it all so far. Hope everything goes more smoothly for you and your daughter.

Ohmuther Tue 27-Sep-16 23:57:42

GP is interesting! We've been referred twice to CAMHS - once through school, once through GP. Never heard that a GP can't refer - that doesn't make sense...

bigmouthstrikesagain Wed 28-Sep-16 09:49:05

Skibeck you can google the camhs diagnostic pathway for {your health authority} it should lead you to information about the way suspected anxiety issues etc. are meant to be managed and who is the lead and who does the the referring - it is all meant to be a partnership between the school, GPs and child health services but it depends on the commissioners. I had to complain in order to get any progress for my ds (diagnosed this summer with HF ASD, anxiety and sensory issues).

skibeck32 Wed 28-Sep-16 22:06:59

Thanks for your comments Ohmuther and bigmouth. I agree, it doesn't make sense and indeed the County website says it cannot accept self referrals but will accept from anyone regs ordered with a GP. I suspect my GP can't be bothered! I am going for a second opinion as the school is adamant that is the quicker route to referral.

skibeck32 Wed 28-Sep-16 22:07:38

Sorry - autocorrect!! That should read *anyone registered with a GP.

Ohmuther Thu 29-Sep-16 08:43:23

It may help to reference this and take it to your GP. It certainly helped us with CAMHS, as they didn't seem to be aware there was a female profile for Aspergers/HFA which in many ways is different to the male profile (& also the reason so many girls go undiagnosed). https://taniaannmarshall.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/first-signs-of-asperger-syndrome-in-young-girls-pre-school/

skibeck32 Thu 29-Sep-16 12:20:53

Thanks Ohmuther, that is a really useful looking resource.

Waitingforsleep Sun 02-Oct-16 09:13:09

I have two posts am running at the moment which are very similar to you.
We have been under camhs etc for 5 years and still no answers it's a nightmare!
They keep saying anxiety but I think it's more. Currently starting art psychotherapy but I feel it won't work because they are not addressing the real problems.
Whatever you do get the referral in asap as it takes so long or if you can find the funds Togo private. I may have to do it for my own mental health!

Ohmuther Sun 02-Oct-16 10:24:23

Waitingforsleep
My MH is taking a real battering.
Everything is a battle with services/school/trying to keep DD on an even keel.
I feel so exhausted.
brewcakeflowers to everyone in the same position xx

Waitingforsleep Sun 02-Oct-16 10:43:03

Oh yes it's a nightmare, a lonely journey as Dd keeps it hidden so lots of family etc do not believe us so we don't have any support and then the constant research, dealing with school professionals etc is exhausting chocolatex

tartanterror Sun 02-Oct-16 10:56:52

Hi - from your mention of the underground I assume you might be in London? I know a couple of people locally who asked for a referral to Great Ormond St Autism Unit because their local services needed extra help with assessment of girls

tartanterror Sun 02-Oct-16 11:03:04

Sorry DS is leaping on me so I pressed send too soon. I meant to say you could maybe call GOSH and their team secretary will tell you who/when to ask to get onward referral to them. I did that with their feeding disorder team and because we went to CAMHS with a clear goal it only took 16 weeks to get to them. Other people I know who go to CAMHS hoping they will find the answers for them take a lot longer. Your OP sounds like you have good reasons for asking for an assessment and none of what you said sounds trivial. Good luck.

tartanterror Sun 02-Oct-16 11:08:57

Just caught up with other bits of the thread. Our eating problems pathway was: self referral to GP > CAMHS > GOSH. The ASD pathway was: self referral to local SALT > Child Development Team > Post diagnosis care = CAMHS for parent training/CDC child follow up.

We had a hiccough in the middle of the GOSH referral where CAMHS tried to discharge us for the GP to refer to GOSH but i firmly set them straight and in the end referred us on to get rid of me as I'd become a massive pain in the a**e by phoning up every other day

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now