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4 year old daughter with aspergers...and maybe me too...feel so sad and scared(9 Posts)
My little girl who turned 4 in July has just started school. I am terribly anxious about her behaviour and personality. I have been reading about Asbergers in girls and am wondering whether she ticks a fair few boxes. My OH thinks the lists that you can get from the various sites are so long that you could fit any (mildly quirky) 4 year old into them. I am not convinced and my niggles are still here. I feel a great deal of sadness and pain about this because we don't have many friends where we live. I am an introvert and not good in social situations. So feel terribly, terribly guilty. Even wonder sometimes whether I am on the spectrum myself and I have no-one to talk to about it. So sad am in bits. I just don't know whether the things she is doing are in the range of normality or not.
She doesn't fit in, I don't fit in.
Is it too early to start seeking professional help for her? I found school so tough - very very very shy, and got bullied - and I feel she is so vulnerable. I don't want her to go through the same experiences as I did.
The things that make me wonder....
She has no friends her age - none. She is very shy in social situations. Hated going to nursery. Plays very happily by herself. Once talked about someone she liked but then said that person didn't want to be her friend. I put a note in the child's bag at nursery asking them over for a playdate and didn't get any response. She is great with adult members of the family. Watches other children playing together but completely clams up and tries to hide if they talk to her.
She doesn't seem to care when she hurts people. She is extremely attached to me but doesn't understand what is going on when she makes me cry from saying awful things or doing something we've told her many many times not to do. She said to me once, 'is this a sad face?' making her mouth turn down.
She does stuff like drawing on the walls which I would have thought she would have grown out of by now. She seems to have no moral compass. Her reasoning is whether she will get found out or not, not whether it is right or wrong.
She is very into cats and animals, totally uninterested in dolls. Huge imagination and makes up complex stories. She has a big vocabulary and loves books.
She does gym and swimming classes and is noticeably less physically coordinated than her peers who are all being put into more advanced classes now. She is completely intolerant of having water on her face at any point (bath/shower/pool). Can't ride a bike or use a scooter. Runs like the wind.
She compulsively folds her eyelids inside out which makes us all scream and shudder (but she's not doing it for the attention, she gets caught doing it). No idea how to stop this habit.
She has a real attentional problem - we have to say stuff over and over again for her to either listen or respond. Sometimes it's because she hasn't heard (not paying attention), I think around 50% of the time it's because she's just ignoring us. Have tried eye contact - she hates it - and getting down on her level to talk, which helps a little, but not completely.
She has very specific favourite foods. Will eat cucumber, pasta, prawns. Won't eat tomato or potato. Is improving on eating other stuff - seems fine with school lunches. Clothes similar: specific favourite dresses. Won't wear skirts or trousers. Fine with getting into school uniform (dress).
Things she DOESN'T do: she doesn't often have major meltdowns. She doesn't appear to be over obsessional about stuff (beyond cat toys). She doesn't line things up, or show any sign of accelerated reading or maths skills. She is very loving, expressive and tactile within the family.
She seems happy at school so far, teachers have only commented that she doesn't play with anyone. Haven't raised any concerns with them - she's only been there a month.
Am I worrying too much too soon?
And how can I help her make friends (which she seems to want to do, although she hates the idea of sharing) when I'm so bad at it too?
Thanks. I think I am getting very wound up about it inside my head and just don't feel like I have any method of calibration to work out if it's something real.
However it does seem clear that unless her behaviour really deteriorates, if she was diagnosed, it would be as being relatively mild on the spectrum. In this case, is there any benefit to a diagnosis? I'm not just asking theoretically - what do psychologists etc do after diagnosis? Is it a matter of counselling the parent, or teaching the child?
I only mentioned myself as I am very aware of projecting my issues onto my daughter. I don't want to teach her to be the odd one in the playground.
But I also just want her to be happy and march to the beat of her own drum. I am nearly 40 and it's taken me all this time to work that one out, I'd like her to be able to do it as naturally as most other people seem to do. I am lonely now too and have accepted it as the way life will be for me (occasional close friendships - I'm not a complete hermit) but again I would rather she had a more fulfilling life in terms of relationships with other people.
Would a diagnosis help in that matter? Does anyone who has been in this situation feel like that?
I posted a thread earlier today... I don't know if it's a little you could relate to? Be good if you did! I'm a bit all over the shop in feelings right now.
You can't nurture a child into adpergers even if you were the shyest most reclusive person they would be a nt child with a painfully shy parent.
You sound nice.
I've noticed that parents put an enormous amount of pressure on themselves to make their child popular. It seems to get worse year on year and it is just bananas. Not everyone is a social diva and those children inside gaggles of besty friendships are not necessarily any happier than the child curled up with a book.
My feeling is that it is unnecessary to stress about your child's popularity but IS important that both she and you are happy with the kind of people you are.
Be careful what messages you are sending about how to judge "success".
As far as does she have Aspergers goes, you will only know if you have an assessment. If she does it wouldn't change anything at all.
Be kind to yourself. The important thing is to find what makes you happy and help her to find what makes her happy.
Thank you zzzz your first two sentences made me cry (in a good way).
I don't mind if she isn't popular. In fact it would almost be as hard for me as a not-very-good-talker if she was a social butterfly. I just don't want her to be scared of people. At the moment she literally shrinks away and hides from loud kids. I don't want her to be bullied. I've noticed some kids yelling her name right near her and she hides - easy prey. I don't want her to be lost in a big class of confident kids so that she doesn't get the teacher's attention. If there's a queue, she'll be at the back of it. If there's hands-up, she's the last to get picked. I don't want her to be hurt by other kids emotionally, like her hurt feelings when that girl never replied to the invitation for a playdate.
You are absolutely right about being careful about the messages I send. I do ask her whether she played with anyone today, and try to encourage it by suggesting that if she sees a nice game to go and ask if she can join in...I don't know whether I am applying too much or too little pressure.
Can I rely on a teacher to notice if she is doing ok in the classroom, or in people's experience will someone get lost if they are only mildly on the spectrum?
And would it be better for me as a parent to go to a professional now if I have concerns - do asperger's symptoms tend to worsen as they get older??
I think if she has Aspergers it is better to know that than not. Have you watched the "Rosie" video? You probably already know lots of people who are autistic/aspergic and just don't see it. It's not a "doomed to be unhappy" thing or a "doomed to struggle" thing.
Would it be helpful for both of you to read a bit more about social anxiety? You can consider her aspergic and read and learn how to help. To be honest most of it is useful for ALL children.
Your DD sounds quite similar to mine snowdrop. She was diagnosed with ASD in the spring and has just started school.
Having a diagnosis has brought us nothing but understanding and accommodation for DD so far. Particularly at school. It's been very helpful.
I still worry so much, will she ever have a friend, will she be bullied, will she be happy? But that's part of being a parent I think, amplified by DD's additional needs I suppose.
My DS was recently diagnosed with aspergers and ADS = at the age of 10.
The school didn't spot it, and neither did the nursery.
The diagnosis has helped me a lot - to understand him and be patient with him.
Being popular is not the be all and end all, but kids do need friends so I can understand your concerns.
Good luck xx
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