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Is something wrong with my dd aged 3(18 Posts)
I hope it's OK to post here as she hasn't been diagnosed with anything but I'm really struggling and was hoping for an understanding response. She has always been difficult but it is getting harder as she gets older.
She has no language issues, actually the opposite. I think her speech has always been quite advanced for her age. But she does repeat a lot. She repeats things she hears, and she also repeats sentences she says herself over and over and over again. That can be frustrating but isn't the issue. I'm just mentioning in case it's relevant.
The main problem is, she just says no to everything and has tantrums and cries and hits. Not always but this has been increasing and increasing.
So for example, nappy changes (she isn't potty trained. We've tried but had zero success and a very messy floor despite her showing all the signs of readiness from 18 months). I will say, it's time to do your nappy. She will say no. I'll go to get her and put her on the mat, she starts running in a circle round the room and eventually hides behind a chair or table. I'll try and pick her and she'll scream and wriggle to make it hard to hold her. I'll lie her down on her mat and she'll often scream more and kick out, cry, try and pull the nappy off. It's the same with getting dressed. Running, away, screaming, crying, kicking, wriggling, pulling the clothes off. I hate seeing her so distressed but I don't want to stay in the house all day or leave her sitting in a dirty, smelly nappy. If we are going out (usually somewhere fun for her like the park or fair or a playgroup), she'll do the running around in a circle thing and say she doesn't want to go out. Once we are out the door she's usually fine.
She often seems in her own world and will ignore when we call her by name. Her hearing has been tested and is fine. She has a very limited diet. She isn't underweight but she just won't try foods. She ate most things when she was weaning but gradually refused more and more. Now she eats a very specific type of ready made shop bought pasta, bread and different bread products, very occasionally she will eat cheese, sliced apples and sometimes pears if they are sliced. She would eat crisps, biscuits and chocolate all the time but I try and keep them limited.
I don't know how to explain this one but when she is very emotional in a happy way, mostly when she's looking at or stroking one of our cats, she does thing where she clenches her jaw and sort of shakes. She doesn't do it when angry only when happy. She does it when looking at me sometimes in a loving way. It's like she can't control it.
When we are out she often won't walk with me and will run off. Or she'll sit down on the pavement and not move. She will do this again and again. If she's in the buggy she shouts at me to stop pushing it, or if I go a different route she gets really distressed and shouts at me to go the other way. When we are in the park or where ever and I say it's time to go, she will run away. She seems to spend a lot of time running in circles.
Sorry if this is long. I don't think I've mentioned everything and maybe this is all normal but she doesn't seem like my friends children. They might have a tantrum every so often but will mostly do as they are told whereas she has a crying fit over everything. And she doesn't seem to play with other children the way I see them play together. Although she is still quite young, but she doesn't seem to know how to/want to join in. The excepting being if they are not running she likes chasing/being chased. But she will mostly just run in a circle. Oh and she's scared/disturbed by certain noises, but seems obsessed with them at the same time.
Maybe I'm useless but I'm really struggling to cope. Everything is a battle. Everything. All I ever want to do is take her out and have a nice time with her but the fighting to get dressed makes us late everywhere, and it tires me out. And I dread when it's time to leave because I know there'll be more tears, more running. She doesn't need much sleep so I feel like I'm always tired. Yesterday I was crying because I just couldn't take anymore. This morning she was the same and in tears screaming, kicking and crying while dh and I got her dressed. I'm just so tired but worried maybe it's me that is the problem and i don't know if it's something to see a doctor about or not. I just feel physically and mentally drained.
Sorry that's so long and sorry for all the typos.
If you're concerned then I would see the GP and ask for a developmental assessment. The early years fact file here is a fab developmental resource and will give you some ideas of what to highlight and also strategies to try.
The 'no' thing might respond to PDA techniques, both the PDA Resource and PDA Society websites have lots of ideas to try. I'm not saying she's got PDA, but it's probably the approach which will help most. It's a really gentle, flexible and fun way to parent when you get in the swing of it.
Thank you. I haven't heard of PDA but will read up on it. Having a look through that fact file right now.
I was just reading through the factsheet and they mention doing 'round and round the garden' and I've just remembered when she was a baby, she used to hate me doing that. I haven't tried it in a long time but any rhyme like that that involved me touching her she hated and would move away so I couldn't do it. Don't know if that means anything, it was just something I'd forgotten about until reading that. She also used to be extremely agitated if she got her hands dirty or anything. She has improved on that a lot, but it took a lot of effort on my part, getting her to explore different textures/environments. Although she does move her hands away when she falls so they don't hit the ground (and breaks it with her face instead!) When I was young I screamed if I ever got my bare feet on grass or sand or any weird textures and was very sensitive to clothing labels and so on, so I think she gets that fussing from me, but not quite as bad as I was luckily.
Sorry, just came here to let off some steam. I don't think anyone is following this thread but I have no one to talk to right now.
I had a terrible morning. First I dressed dd, it was a new outfit her aunt got her - shorts with braces (she has never owned any braces but loves them because a character she is obsessed with wears them). First she was screaming because I hadn't cut off the label - she's funny about certain labels. Then she was screaming, crying and kicking because she wanted to pull them down to cover her legs and wouldn't accept that I couldn't make them go any lower. She wouldn't let me take them off because of the braces but in the end I remembered she had some dungarees and I convinced her the dungaree straps were the same as braces and managed to get her to change.
Then we had to go out. I took the buggy because it's a half hour walk each way so in case she got tired. She was on her little scooter. We had just crossed a main road near our house when suddenly our cat, who must have followed us out the front door, jumped out from nowhere and ran after us across the really busy road. (The cat tries to follow us everywhere.. It's a real pita.) I had to get the cat home safely. Told dd I'd have to put her in her buggy so we could get the cat back home. She refused and started scooting away. I was getting really scared because of the cars, I don't think she'd go on a road without me as I've really drummed it into her but I was getting really nervous. In the end I had to physically prise dd off the scooter as she wouldn't let go. She's kicking out and screaming the whole time. Then I strap her in to the buggy. She's still screaming and trying to get out. I'm nearly in tears. People are walking past and looking us. Finally get the cat back home and head back out. We are running late now so I keep dd in her buggy. I walked for about 20 mins of the journey with dd screaming, shouting and trying to stand up and get out. In the end I give up, get her out and let her go back on the scooter. She stops crying right away but then she gets scared because we hear a siren go by, and then the wind is loud, so she keeps putting her hands over her ears and telling me to make it stop because she is scared of the noise. We are too late to go where we are supposed to go and I feel absolutely shattered from being screamed and shouted at and kicked for such a long time.
I haven't been to the doctors yet to ask for a developmental check. I don't know if this is normal so feel kind of stupid going if it is. She's fine now. Sitting watching cbeebies. I'm feeling exhausted.
I'm sorry you're having a nightmare morning. To be honest, she sounds like its well worth going to the GPs and asking about autism. I guess she isn't at nursery, because that might be a good place to start, but I would certainly go to the GP.
Thank you so much for replying. She recently started a preschool for a couple of sessions a week. They haven't mentioned any concerns but I have a meeting with them soon to talk about how she's settling in so will see if they say anything. I had wondered about autism and did some reading on it but she never had any speech issues so I thought it was unlikely in that case? I guess I do just need to go to the GP and try and get to the bottom of it. I think what's putting me off is, what if they say she doesn't have any conditions (sorry if that's not the right term to use) and it is just me not being able to cope. It isn't that I want her to have something, I'm just worried it the problem is me failing at looking after her. And I was a 'quirky' child myself and can see a lot of me in her so maybe it is just our personalities.
Do you know what will happen if I take her to the GP? Do they do any physical tests or would they refer us somewhere? A pp mentioned asking for a developmental check so I was thinking of doing that. Sorry for all the questions, I just don't like going into the unknown.
OP I feel for you a ideally do. Your daughter sounds like a challenge and the exhaustion you describe is familiar, I have a DS 3yoa with suspected ASD. I just want to say you sound like a brilliant Mum, keep going, it's so hard I know. Visit the GP or your health visitor and mention concerns, be specific if you are worried about ASD as sometimes they can try and brush things off. They will not 'do' anything other than ask you questions, the next step is referal to a developmental paedeatrcian. If you want this referal you will need to stress all the difficulties you notice your daughter has. Out of interest does she have an social difficulties with other children, that you have noticed with friends or at ore school? As I said, keep it up I'm sure you are doing a brilliant job.
Thank you Chasing for explaining what happens and your kind words.
I don't know whether she has social difficulties, I don't really know what is normal for her age. She has come from preschool quite a few times already saying 'so and so pushed me' etc. Once she had a big bite mark on her arm. I know some children do bite/hit and so on, but I do wonder whether it happens as frequently to other children as it does to her. That has worried me a bit actually.
At playgroups, the park, or if we see her cousins, she doesn't really play with them. She mostly seems to like playing on her own or with me. She does watch others if they do something she thinks is interesting, especially older ones. If she hears another child crying she will say (again and again) "he's crying"... I can't tell if it concerns her or whether she is just saying what she can see. She doesn't seem upset by it but she always comments on it.
Just last week, there were some children playing hide and seek in the park. Dd sort of knows the game though doesn't really understand it and when a child started counting she ran and hid. I think that's more because she likes doing that with me, rather than her actually playing with the others if you see what I mean. She soon lost interest and carried on playing on her own. The only other time I could say she really played with another child that I've seen was another time at the park. An older girl, about 4 or 5 took a liking to dd and was helping her climb up the climbing frame and stuff. Dd was running around with her, really excited. When adults talk to her in the street she usually hides her face and doesn't answer if they ask her anything.
Sorry all my posts seem to be coming out as essays in length. I have wanted to talk about all this for so long. Dh sees it to a degree but he works such long hours so doesn't spend the time with her that I do.
It would definitely be worth speaking to pre school. They should be monitoring her progress across the board including her 'play skills'. From my understanding at 3+ children should start to progress from playing alongside to playing with I.e realising that playing with peers is fun and can make games more enjoyable etc. To get a referal you may well have to be a bit pushy about your concerns therefore I advise having a list and being as comprehensive as possible. ASD referal/diagnosis covers 3 main areas check out here for more detail: www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is/asd.aspx
It good to try and have a think about the 3 main areas and any difficulties your DD has in each section. I hope this helps. Any questions please ask. I'm no expert though as only currently going through it all myself with DS. I have found advice on here invaluable though and supportive so will help in anyway I can with my little knowledge and experience. I personally don't yet have any Real life friends in a similar situation so I know how good it feels to finally be able to talk about everything to someone even if it is online
Umm, my dd had very advanced language too, and I thought this meant she wouldn't be autistic, and I almost talked us out of the diagnosis process at the first meeting with a pediatrician!
I recognise a lot of what you describe. What the diagnostic team said to me was that even if she didn't meet the criteria, they would help point us to support, because we wouldn't be there unless we could benefit from help.
Also, I was really keen to get the diagnosis process started before she went to school. I think it's been really helpful.
Second trying to get things moving before school. When I feel exhausted with it all and lost with all the 'is he/ isn't he' meetings I spur myself on by thinking let's get the help he needs in order asap before he gets lost in a school system he can't cope with.
Thank you all so much. I hope you all get/are getting all the support you need with your own dc's.
Just wanted to say OP I am sorry you're having such a difficult time, you sound like you're a brilliant mum. I agree with other posters you should definitely go to your GP with a list of concerns and push for a referral to a paediatrician. I can't be loads more helpful as we are also going through autism assessment process with my son at the moment but I do recognise some of the same difficulties in your daughter. Good luck x
Hi there, Just had to post to say I feel for you. My daughter at 3 was the same with the dressing, overly fussy eating and tantrums. It turns out she doesn't have autism but does have various "sensory" processing difficulties. She is touch sensitive for the want of a better description so would often say x pushed me when they had wafted past her or the particular texture of a food or item of clothing would cause tantrums. She is also noise sensitive so it turned out that was affecting her at groups or parties or even along the road. I'm not saying that you daughter is the same but what I will say is when we learnt what her sensory triggers were (triggering the flight or fight response) and got some ot (courtesy of an occupational therapist who specialised in sensory integration) she was a lot happier. You might find "The Out of Sync child" by Carol Kranowitz interesting - your library might have it or any bookshop or amazon. Hugs as I remember the sheer hard work!
It's possibly ASD as my child has some similar traits, especially the rigidity and the 'no's' - however only an assessment will show. Others have good advice, go to your GP or privately if you want.
In the meantime, it does sound very stressful, and many of the options offered if your child has 'ASD' don't always work with a child that has 'demand avoidance' which will not probably be diagnosed. Mine hasn't but they do have it.
I found it actually helped to write down her behaviour for a week. It sounds like the triggers are a lot of demand avoidance - ie she finds even ordinary requests, changes or transitions very difficult. Some might be sensory though too, it'll be clearer if you write it. Going a different way, changing from a scooter to a buggy, a new unexpected outfit.
The first step I'd advice now is to cut down her daily stressors. Don't put her in new outfits. Don't change her into a buggy last minute. Keep things routine, predictable, low key. Scale back and change your view about how much she can cope with. If she's going to school and speaking she is obviously able to do quite a bit so keep everything else minimal.
Don't crowd her with 'suggestions' or 'requests' verbally or otherwise. Give her loads of calm space. Don't cajole her to play with others. Try and give her the lead as much as you can. If you want her to eat, let her make choices, or just put some food on the table and don't say a word. Let her graze, let her relax and do a lot of things in her own pace.
Like nappy changing or going out. Give her time to get used to it. Bring her around without telling her, or physical making her. Do things like joke - find a nappy - what's this nappy doing here? What's going on? Is it for me? I know it sounds daft and long winded... it kind of is! But the more you can make something their idea, ask for their help etc the more you will build up trust. You want to try and get away from tantrums being the norm, as difficult as that sounds!
Good luck. It's really hard work, But worth it.
Please ask the pre-school to refer her for a developmental assessment. We had an ASD diagnosis from overseas for my DD and her pre-school when we moved back to the UK referred her to the local support services (Speech & Language, autism support etc) and she has had so much input and has really benefitted from it. If your DD has ASD or some other diagnosis it is really beneficial to get input at this age. You can also gain support and strategies for helping her.
Best of luck OP.
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