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Tell me this isn't autism/aspergers (very long)

(15 Posts)
MrsSnape Fri 10-Oct-08 12:38:21

I have posted before about my sister. 14 years old, hugely overweight (14 stone), no friends, no hobbies, no interests etc etc...

Well she finally got referred to a specialist team (cahms?) and link (mental health team), education are involved (because of the bullying and problems at school) and basically a load of profesionals.

After initial visits they thought she 'may' have aspergers but now they have decided there is nothing wrong with her other than low confidence, anxiety and depression (!!!)

However I think this is shit and think my mum should push for further diagnosis. Here are some of the things which make me think this, I would be very grateful if you could read them and then tell me if this does not point to autism/aspergers.

Obsessions with teddies
Since she could walk up until the age of about 9 she was obsessed with a Barney the Dinosaur teddy. She would take it everywhere, talk to it, have two way conversations with it, blame it for things, dance with it...then other people started buying her more barney teddies and she began lining them up in perfect lines on the sofa and started a daily ritual of saying "goodbye Barney no1, goodbye barney no2, goodbye barney no3..." all the way up to barney no. 15. EVERY morning, EVERY night she would do this. Then people started getting on at her that it was babyish and she was forced to leave barney no1 i n her room. We didn't realise at the time but she got around this by moving on to a new obsession. A Crazy Frog teddy. so at the age of 9, she carried on this behaviour of talking to frog, having conversations with it, rubbing it in her face (and then rubbing it in other people's faces), carrying it everywhere, she got a t-shirt with it on and wore it everywhere...then people got sick of the frog and she was forced to leave it in her room...needless to say, a new teddy took its place. cat teddy. The rituals continued until last year (age of 13) she was forced to leave that in her room...she has now moved on to a dragon teddy and at the age of 14...continues to talk to it, have two way convos with it, cuddle it, shout of it, push it in people's faces....it has its own spot on the sofa and you can guarantee it will be there whenever you go to their house.

Seal Dance

When she learnt to sit up, she immediately began this 'dance' where she would sit on the ground and swing from side to side like a seal. Depending on her mood she would either do it slowly or if she was upset/nervous she would do it wildly and litrally throw herself from side to side. I thought she'd stopped doing it around the age of 10 but my mum has admitted that she still does it. Sometimes my mum will peep into her room and she will be sat on the floor rocking from side to side, sometimes blowing rasperies whenever she 'lands'.

The Dreamcast

She became obsessed with a dreamcast console when she was about 10 and would turn it on and just sit and stare at the screen. She would never play it, she'd just put on a game and watch the opening scenes for hours and hours. Sometimes she would be in fits of hysterics whilst she did this. Then she began lining the floor with all the games, they'd all be laid out all over the carpet and she would sit in the middle and start talking to them, laughing at them, telling them off, 'answering' them as if they were speaking to her...then their house got burgled and the dreamcast was stolen and she was so upset, she was physically sick 3 times and was ill for over 2 weeks.

watching and listening

When she was about 5 she became obsessed with a Norwich Union advert that was repeated constantly on sky shopping channel. She would sit there and litrally watch it on a loop for hours on end. This went on for months. Now she does it with logos. For instance, she will go on yourtube and play 20th century fox theme over and over again, sometimes from 3.30pm until 10pm. Her very latest one is the tetris theme tune which she sits and listens to in her room (doing nothing else but sitting listening) all night, sometimes all weekend, the same tetris music on repeat.

There are other things to, things she says (like she told my mum that her dad was having sex with her grandma, his mother) and she sometimes throws herself into doors/walls on purpose and then pretends she did it by accident but has bruised herself doing this.

So, is this a 'simple' case of a teenager with low confidence or should it be pushed further?

Seuss Fri 10-Oct-08 13:20:01

My ds is 8 and has ASD - all the things you list in watching and listening and the dreamcast he does. I don't really know enough about what classes as anxiety though - I guess anxiety could lead to obsessions. I'm quite suprised that they initially thought aspergers and then changed their mind - do you know what it was that made them think it wasn't? I think if it were me I'd keep on at them all - even if it doesn't turn out to be autism/aspergers she obviously needs some help socially and to control her obsessions.

cory Fri 10-Oct-08 14:12:47

I have read your earlier posts about your sister and I just think you are so right: she needs help. Could it be that your Mum is simply not telling them the whole story? Anxiety and depression may well be part of it, but I wonder if that is really all.

MrsSnape Fri 10-Oct-08 15:41:38

I don't think she does tell them the whole story as she is embarrassed by it.

They said they didn't think it was aspergers as she can hold a conversation.

They were in Morrisons the other day and my sister put her teddy on top of the counter at the till and tried to get the till assistant to talk to it. Thing is, not only is my sister 14 but she's tall and because she has no personal hygiene and does not look after herself...looks alot older.

cocoleBOO Fri 10-Oct-08 15:51:46

"Can't have Aspergers because she can hold a conversation" What on earth are they talking about? There are a lot of children/adults with AS who have conversations. In fact are highly intelligent.

I've read your post about your sister before and I think you are right to be concerned. Could she have OCD as well? The speaking to the teddies in the same order everyday is a bit like a ritual.

SixSpotBonfire Fri 10-Oct-08 15:53:08

Your poor sister. My heart goes out to her.

The bit about having conversations "proving" that she doesn't have Aspergers is, quite frankly, rubbish.

My son with autism is only four but repeated listening to the same piece of music is something he does, very much.

MrsSnape Fri 10-Oct-08 16:01:24

OCD does run in the family and she has alot of traits, all her stuff is lined up and she knows if it has been moved slightly. Her slippers are left in the same spot every morning at the same angle etc...

I agree about the conversation thing, how stupid. What they fail to see is that when she does hold a conversation, she tends to rattle on and on and on about things that other people do not find interesting and she doesn't pick up on the signals either.

An example of this was one time we were walking to the swimming baths and she started going on about old games consoles like Nintendo 64. She started rambling about every tiny, minute detail, dates, origins, prices etc etc from the top of her street and did not shut up about it until we got to the swimming baths half an hour later. In that time she had been interupted by people talking about other stuff on more than one occasion, ignored for the majority of it, had answers such as "mmmm!" (you know when you say 'mmm' and you're basically think 'shut up, please!' and tbh it was REALLY obvious that everyone was getting bored and irritated by her talking but she didn't pick up on it at all.

Another thing she does is "awaits" a conversation with a pre-prepared speech....so for instance when they got their new fishtank, she expected people to go in and wonder what the bubbling noise was. She had the info waiting for when this happened. Of course, nobody really cares about the tank and its obvious where the noise is coming from so nobody bothered mentioning it so she'd go into her info anyway, eg:

-- person walks into living room and sits down, ignores the tank --

Sister sits there waiting for something to be said but nothing does is so she says:

"Its the tank..."

person -- "what is?"

"That noise you can hear, if you're wondering what it is, its the tank"

person -- "oh right"

"its behind you"

person -- "yes I know, I've seen it"

"did you wonder what the noise was?"

person -- "no, I knew it was the tank"

"oh? have you seen it before? have you ever had a fish tank? did my mum tell you about it before you got here? have you see that kind of tank before?"

And people that don't know her end up basically thinking -- hmm for gods sake, its a tank, shut up about it"

cocoleBOO Fri 10-Oct-08 16:09:24

She's failing to pick up on peoples social behaviour towards her, talking too much/over them etc. This is very AS, my DD does it but not to the extent your sister is.

cory Fri 10-Oct-08 16:09:25

MrsSnape on Fri 10-Oct-08 15:41:38

"They said they didn't think it was aspergers as she can hold a conversation. "

Wtf!wtf!wtf!!! Every child with Aspergers I have ever met has been able to hold a conversation. It''s the relevance of the conversation, as you say, and their failure to respond to cues.

Who are this incompetent lot?

MrsSnape Fri 10-Oct-08 16:19:41

I'm not 100% sure, I just know its some 'profesionals' from the mental health side of things.

They also had the great idea of sending her to a 'special youth club' during the holidays in order for her to make friends. They assured her that all the kids were quiet and nervous like her. Wouldn't say boo to a goose types...

So she went and this group turned out to be full of kids that have been in trouble with the police, expelled from school, are involved with drugs, are homeless/from carehomes etc... they were rowdy, ffing and blinding, one of them tried to take off with the bloody mini-bus...she was terrified. We were fuming angry

SixSpotBonfire Fri 10-Oct-08 16:31:17

Oh, worse and worse, how awful for her sad.

SixSpotBonfire Fri 10-Oct-08 16:32:57

MrsSnape, in terms of reading etc can I recommend Luke Jackson's Freaks, Geeks and Asperger's Syndrome?

Also (for heavyweight but very readable info) Tony Attwood's book on Asperger's Syndrome?

Also check out the NAS (National Autistic Society) website.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 10-Oct-08 16:55:08

Hi Mrs Snape,

Re this priceless comment made by the "pros":-
"They said they didn't think it was aspergers as she can hold a conversation".

FFS what a load of old cobblers!!. They have done your family a huge disservice by saying this. Bet as well CAMHS have said this - ASD is not their main field of expertise either.

This young lady needs urgently to see a developmental paediatrician; these people can diagnose. The GP can refer her to such a person and she needs a referral pronto.

National Autistic Society can also advise.

What did your Mum say about the professionals who uttered this rubbish, what is her reaction?.

Marne Fri 10-Oct-08 20:30:15

Hi MrsSnipe, i have read some of your other posts and i would advice that your mother should push for a dx.

As others have said she shows alot of AS traits.

Dd1 (4.7) shows simalar traits, i know my dd is alot younger but tthe traits are the same.

Dd started to mimic tv ad's at the age of 2 and memorising phone numbers and e-mail addresses from adds.

Dd has a few odd dances which she has done since a toddler.

Dd loves a strict routine, lines things up in order.

Dd can hold a conversation but has to be in charge of the convesation and has to be the one that has the last word.

amber32002 Fri 10-Oct-08 21:35:20

Just echoing what others have said. I have an ASD and I can talk for England (to quote an interesting expression). And hold conversations. And have friends, a family, a job, a husband. What utter rubbish that if you can hold a conversation you can't be ASD. It's just we have to do it all manually, not automatically, by endless practise.

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