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Could my DD potentially have SEN?(17 Posts)
Hi ladies first post here and I just need some advice.
My DD is 5 and is really struggling and I don't know how to help her. She really struggles with her emotions, it's almost like a red mist descends and she cannot see or think straight, hits, kicks and struggles sometimes to speak. Lockdown has 100% made it worse however she has always been like it to an extent. We have tried talking, reward charts, consequences such as toys and ipad being removed however nothing works longer than 2 weeks.
She has always been sensitive to certain noises, textures (getting better as she gets older), and has struggled with seeing people she may not see that regularly. For example, she knows her great grandparents really well however really struggles initially speaking and looking at them. I have to ease her in and give her a confidence boost to help her if that makes sense?
School haven't picked anything up and said she has fitted in, however from what I've seen at the play ground she seems to only have a couple of friends that she plays with and the other children she seems more on the outside if that makes any sense so I am wondering if she could be "masking"?
What does everyone think? Any advise on how to help? Sorry I know I haven't explained myself amazingly well!
Hi OP. Sorry to hear your daughter is struggling with things.
Yes it sounds from what you describe that she could have some sensory differences and social communication difficulties.
You mentioned masking, and it's true that differences are more/less visible in different settings.
Posted too soon! I meant to say - what do you feel would help your DD?
Thank-you so much for your reply @ClocksGoBack
I honestly don't know what would help. I just don't know what to do. We seem to be constantly going round in circles. It's her anger that we all struggle with the most. For example today, she had a full meltdown because I stopped her running off. She wanted to go down the steps at her nanas house, which she never told me she just bolted. She's done this before and actually ran out on the road so obviously I ran and stopped her running off as I had visions of her running off into the road again. It's wasn't a busy road, but obviously that's besides the point. She just didn't seem to understand why I stopped her and the red mist desended. And it went on for an hour and a half.
She can be such a good girl, bright and so happy until something like this happens. And I just feel like I am failing as I have previously mentioned the difficulties to the school and they did not have concerns. Obviously with covid, I haven't been able to speak properly to her teachers, she doesn't tell me anything about her day and it's heartbreaking. She has been back in school 2 days after returning from the Easter holidays and it seems like she is just unleashing all this anger when she gets home.
Sorry for the essays, I really appreciate your comments.
I think it is worth asking for a referral for an assessment.
Some schools aren't very good at noticing signs of neurodiversity, it could well be they aren't seeing DD's needs.
Can you email the school or phone and ask the teacher &/or SENCO to call you back?
That seems good advice from 10green to ask for referral for assessment.
Another thing that could help is keeping a diary where you note each day any difficulties, what the trigger may have been, how long it lasted etc. When we write things down using details that describe and quantify behaviours, it is easier for professionals to look at. When my DS was 2 we were exhausted from coping with multiple meltdowns each day. We were working with a (really, really good) psychologist who was giving us support to process our son's dx. She was absolutely brilliant, and working with her was a major turning point for us. however for several weeks when we described being at our wits end with these meltdowns from DD, she just responded that 2 was an incredibly volatile age because of development etc. Then one week I kept a diary which showed that DD was moving from meltdown to meltdown with only 20 mins calm in between. When I showed it to the psychologist, there was a shift in her attitude and she asked to observe DD. She didn't witness any meltdowns herself, however she did notice DD's eye contact was atypical snd she started the heavy machinery to get DD referred for assessment. So a diary can be helpful!
Also, have you come across social stories? They can be really helpful for explaining why we wait at the curb and not run into the road.
I think I may try the school SENCO and see what they suggest. I do think she hides it very well at school. However I'm unsure if it's something she needs to learn to control and just unleashes it at home as she's in her safe space and its considered neurotypical if you see what I mean?
I have no experience with SEN but these anger issues just seem so extreme.
Does anybody have any hints or tips in helping her control the anger? I have thought of a weighted blanket however when she's in a full meltdown I don't think she would stay sat longer enough for it to be effective.
Thanks again ladies.
Posted before I saw your reply! I hope you don't mind me asking, however with your DS was it daily the amount of meltdowns with 20minutes calm in-between?
As with DD she can potentially have a really good day with no issues and then the following day be as you described.
A diary is a very good idea, I will try that one.
She understands road safety, it's like she just completely forgets on certain occasions, like she gets an idea in her head about running off to do something and just doesn't realise, quite impulsive. I will definitely have a look into social stories, maybe a different perspective may help her realise.
Yes, it would be quite possible for my children to have a relatively calm day followed by a very tumultuous day with lots of distress and meltdowns.
I know exactly what you mean about impulsiveness and not be able to control herself from running out.
Re weighted blanket - one of my children loves this, the other hates it. You could try it out when she is calm and relaxed, if she likes it then you could try offering it during anger. You could also try turning off any noise (tv, music), bright lights etc when she's angry to see if that eases the pressure.
I recommend reading "The Explosive Child" and "the out of sync child".
My DC find weighted blankets help.
My DD's first teacher would never have noticed she had autism if I hadn't pointed it out to them. Well actually she probably would've eventually, but it's hard within a class of 25 to see the little nuances in her behaviour that make her slightly different. She has some similar traits to those mentioned in your first post, and definitely finds it hard to regulate her emotions (also so much worse since lockdown), is sensitive to certain noises etc. From what the teacher says about her relatively normal behaviour in school I do think she probably masks quite a bit and we get the angry side of her at home. Luckily I noticed some of her issues early on that meant we got a diagnosis before school started. I'd have no idea where to start at this stage though - maybe a discussion with a GP to get a referral to a paediatrician? Not saying its autism at all but she might have some sensory issues she could get support with.
My DD also 5 is exactly the same. I’d advise going straight to your GP over Senco, but make them aware of what you’re doing and why.
For us, I ignored DD’s behaviour for a long time and put it down to her being headstrong and stubborn! But I have this gut feeling that something isn’t right. The biggest wake up call has been watching her younger sister develop and how certain behaviours DD had at that age were very different. Like you, her teachers haven’t raised any concerns (apart from her being slightly behind academically). We reached a point a couple of months ago where we realised her meltdowns have started to affect family life, paired with other concerns such as tics, sensory issues (obsessed with strong smells, is triggered by loud noise, certain clothing) and extreme shyness in new situations. I spoke to our GP who agreed with my concerns and referred her to paediatrics. If I’d left it with the school I’m not sure anything immediate would've happened as they don’t seem to see this side of her. Whereas now at least I know we’re in the system and waiting for an appointment.
Does anybody have any hints or tips in helping her control the anger?
It's not anger, she's just totally overwhelmed. Try and see that from her point of view. She can't control her reaction, in her world, too many things have happened that she's struggling to process and because of that overwhelm, the result will be meltdown or shutdown.
Please do some reading about autistic meltdowns and autism in general so you can understand what's happening to her, she's not choosing to behave that way.
@Whatawankbucket - the red mist is so hard isn't it? I'm struggling with DTS1 (5) at the moment too, constant meltdowns in the mornings. DP just says "oh well he doesn't do with me" - er no, you're not around in the mornings, who do you think gets the worst of it
He loves school so I don't think it's dread/ fear of going there, it just seems like he cannot cope with - well, life in general, unfortunately. School haven't mentioned anything apart from him not listening sometimes, but then he's 5yo, it's not unusual!
I've been trying to speak to various local SEN groups this morning as I'm wrecked after more than daily meltdowns this week, but as luck would have it, of course no-one is answering! I know he is definitely worse with tiredness but he's not a great sleeper either, which doesn't help...
Sorry, no great words of wisdom but just some solidarity from someone who also suffers from having to walk on eggshells to avoid the red mist!!
@10brokengreenbottles is there any way you could post a link to those books or let me know the author? Google is showing a few books with similar titles!
Clara The Explosive Child is by Ross Greene. And The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz - there is a follow up called "The out of sync child grows up".
Just to say that my daughter did that thing when she didn't look at people and refused to say hello/goodbye, etc. In the last few months, that has changed--without us really doing anything, and actually I stopped nagging her about it. She's nearly 7 now so I think for her it may have been a case of needing to just mature a bit. She also plays only with 1 or 2 kids (I've been concerned, and still am, about things like tics, but so far teachers have not said anything about that though they have in the past said she's very, very, VERY shy) and as I was the same way I think some people are just like that. I still prefer to hang out one to one, hate big groups, and often feel on the outside of gatherings but, all that said, I have some really strong and genuine friendships, and I hope my daughter will have the same...I think as long as they feel connected to a kid or two, that can be all some of them need? also a bit of a rambled response, sorry; I also think that if your gut is telling you she needs some help (whether it falls under any label or not), go with it. I think schools don't really bother with things that aren't extreme sometimes, but that doesn't mean help wouldn't be...helpful