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ASD In Girls - How did you know?

(22 Posts)
WednesdaysChild Thu 30-Jul-09 12:13:27

ASD in girls is notoriously difficult to dx due to their deceptively high functioning speech and social skills.

So, if you only have an older DS(ASD) to compare to, then how would you know if you DD was also on the spectrum?

siblingrivalry Thu 30-Jul-09 13:01:57

Hi WC,
We just always knew that dd was 'different'. She has high levels of anxiety, social and communication difficulties, OCD, inflexibility if thought -and lots of other issues. She has a dx of HFA/AS.
I think that girls can often mask a lot of their behaviours, as they tend to be more socially aware than boys.
Are you concerned about your dd? I am about to start a thread about our dx problems, which may be helpful.

asdx2 Thu 30-Jul-09 14:46:35

I have a son 14 with moderate autism and a daughter 6 with moderate to severe autism as well as 3 older children.
Jack and Lucy are like chalk and cheese and always have been. Jack was diagnosed at just three and Lucy at just two by the same diagnostic team.
Lucy is on paper more severely affected than Jack but in reality copes far better.She is more receptive to other people Jack only interacts with a chosen few.
Jack had normal speech by seven with understanding in line with his speech as it progressed.Lucy has very good speech and has done since about 3, sometimes at a level above her peers, but the understanding is very significantly behind.
Jack had limited play skills tending only to be interested in objects relating to his obsessions Lucy has apparently good playskills and happy to include others in her games.
Lucy is very creative and likes to draw and paint and indulge in all craft activities and sings and dances all the time.
Jack has never sung ever and will under duress do stickmen and boxes for his interpretation of drawings but on the other hand is mathematically gifted whereas Lucy finds number concepts very difficult.
Jack had extreme challenging behaviour which is under check for the time being Lucy on the other hand is "too good"
Jack hardly ever talks apart from talk on his obsessions to the chosen few whereas Lucy never shuts up.
The only behaviour they share is that neither of them sleep.
What made me think autism? For jack it was there from the beginning no interaction, no speech and nightmare behaviour. For Lucy she was seemingly NT for the first year of her life then around her first birthday she lost all her skills once Retts and other genetic disorders had been ruled out autism diagnosis seemed inevitable.

WednesdaysChild Thu 30-Jul-09 17:23:48

sib: That's just it, I really don't know that she is or that she isn't. On the surface of it, she really does seem pretty NT. Very affectionate, mobile with no real sensory issues. She doesn't stym for weeks but just once in a while when she is over excited. Very high level of vocabulary and social skills with some good friends. Very good memory and also likes to discuss her brother's favourite subjects. Also good at numbers beyond her age.

Can't be sure if some of it is just what she picked up from being around her DB.

What do I look out for that is specific to girls and an asd? (am thinking HF/ Aspergers, if at all).

Marne Thu 30-Jul-09 20:09:01

Hi, i have 2 girls on the spectrum, dd1 has very high functioning speech and started talking at a very early age (first words around 9 months old shock), she has always been hard work though and from a few months old i thought something wasn't rite, she had a lot of phobias and OCD traits, when she was 2 we were told she may have Aspergers, we finally got a dx at 4.6 years but by this time a lot of dd1's traits had gone (or she was hiding them well), she started school last year and after a few small problem she has fitted in well and has a lot of friends. I think if she went through the dx process now she would be hard to diagnose, she has few traits that are noticeable to people outside of our household. Her language is way above average for her age (she talks like an adult at times) and her reading and maths skills are at least a year ahead.

Dd2 was a lot easier to diagnose, she's different from her sister, she has a severe speech delay, flaps her arms and 6 months ago she would not respond to anyones voice, she also has a lot of sensory issues, she was diagnosed yesterday aged 3.6 years.

WednesdaysChild Fri 31-Jul-09 18:59:07

Marne - Similar to your DD1 but nobody else seems to see the odd bits that make me hmm

Can you say what signs are still there now?

mumslife Fri 31-Jul-09 20:49:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumslife Fri 31-Jul-09 20:50:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummytopebs Sat 01-Aug-09 21:28:33

We are in the middle of this at the moment, sometimes i look at dd and think yes definitly on the spectrum and other times i think shes not.

She is 4 but has very good eye contact, is good with strangers and has brilliant imaganery play (she is quite often in her own little world of play)

She has an obsession with leaflets, is very emotional and crys a lot, has terrible tantrums and gets upset at change, she has routines and rituals and sensory issues especially with her eyes, she is also a very fussy eater and cant stand food even being warm. She is educationally delayed but dont really know how much till she starts school.

The only definite we have had is that she is 18 months behind in her social/emotional development and has sensory issues, but think we are far from a dx.

It is difficult especially seem as she starts school in september and i dont think she will cope.

Out of interest how often do 4 year olds usually cry a day, cos dd averages about 20 times a day?

WednesdaysChild Sun 02-Aug-09 16:06:12

It's not so much the number of times she cries, it's more the extreme (hysterical screaming) way that she does it and then how really very difficult it is to calm her down.

asdx2 Sun 02-Aug-09 17:10:47

Had that too with Lucy at about the same age went for the approach of putting her on a chair giving her a large egg timer and telling her five minutes to stop crying. Just knowing there was a time limit made it far more bearable.
Even now at six she is far more prone to tears than my others have been and is ultra sensitive to the tone of your voice or any implied negativity on her part.

mumslife Sun 02-Aug-09 17:53:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WednesdaysChild Sun 02-Aug-09 19:23:51

At this "point on the spectrum", would a dx be important / make any difference / would she benefit from it or would it be a burden to her later on?

asdx2 Sun 02-Aug-09 19:54:25

Tbh I would always push for a diagnosis in the first instance especially if it ensured support in school.
Dd got a moderate to severe autism diagnosis at just two when her development was roughly between 6 and 12 months.
She started the statementing process at two and got a statement giving her 1 to 1 support.
That support alongside an early intervention programme I put in place meant by three she was developmentally on par.
She entered nursery with age appropriate skills by end of reception she was most able in her year and there she stays now at end of year one. Still with a statement and still with a diagnosis but tbh the label just secures support it doesn't define who Lucy is in any way.
Maybe in years to come she might want a reassessment of her diagnosis (probable mild Aspergers I should imagine) but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it but for now the label ensures her needs are met and only those I want to know know she has it anyway.

mumslife Sun 02-Aug-09 20:14:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

asdx2 Sun 02-Aug-09 20:41:37

Tbh Lucy copes just fine in school but the support ensures that she achieves her potential rather than just above average.
Having a son with autism now 14 I'm well aware that her needs will increase as concepts become more complicated and she encounters more sophisticated social interaction issues.
Having the statement now means less of a fight later to get more support and ensures that she will get a place at the school best suited to her needs.

mumslife Mon 03-Aug-09 16:48:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WednesdaysChild Mon 03-Aug-09 17:02:45

But when I did mention it in school, they seemed to put it down to "just learned behaviour" whatever that might mean...

asdx2 Mon 03-Aug-09 18:47:00

WednesdaysChild what behaviours are school saying are learned? Bearing in mind most schools know next to nothing about autism and each child is different so just because they have successfully managed one child doesn't mean the next will benefit from the same techniques.

siblingrivalry Mon 03-Aug-09 20:42:12

Wednesdayschild, my dd was apparently 'normal' at school -her teachers just thought she was a bit quiet hmm

The thing with girls is that they are really good at masking their more 'unusual' behaviours and saving up the meltdowns etc for the safety of home. It took along time to make family see the unusual traits I witnessed; I started to wonder if I was seeing things.

With regard to stimming, dd has gone through phases of this. She is handflapping a lot recently, but sometimes barely does it for a few months.

I think that if you have niggling concerns, you need to trust your instincts because you know your child better than anyone. I went through similar emotions when we first started the dx process and I felt like a fraud. It has turned out to be the best thing we ever did.

mumslife Tue 04-Aug-09 13:31:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsPurple Wed 05-Aug-09 00:29:40

Just found this thread so I hope you don't mind me interupting. I have a DD2 (age 4)and for a fews years have thought something waqs quite right but couldn't put my finger on it. I have spoken to the Health visiotr numerous times and all the issues (e.g aggressive behaviour, hysterics,etc) were blamed on my depression.

Anyway after much perserverance and seeing paedatrician who spent 5 mins with us and said nothing wrong (because she seems ok at pre school and nursery). Just seen a hearing specialist - hearings fine, eyes fine - but goes crossed alot? Speech hard to understand (therapist says her tongue doesn't coordinate properly so it muffles her speech), plus she has very little short term memory.

It seems We're in for a long slog as they only assess for a few years. Alot of what you guys have been saying rings true as she gets very atached to an item and becomes hysteric if she can't have it for any reason. The item can change on a daily basis.

She can wake up in a morning and whinge all day for no apparent reason and other days she seems fine. I've just started Cranial OSteopathy again as it helped when she was baby.

I don't understand what 'stimming' or 'spectrum' are if someone can help?

I do worry about her and she can be really loving when she wants to but she is equally stubborn. I don't know what is wrong with her but we have batled for 2 years and am finally getting someone to listen (they have finally looked at all 'minor things' which do add up to something not quite right).

My DD2 starts school in September and as she's only just turned 4 is one of the younger of class, but can anyone help with the way forward because her behaviour has lay under the radar as her 'meltdowns etc are at home, but I'm over my depression now, and I know that her behaviour wasn't caused by my depression but actually some of my depression was caused by the difficult behaviour and worry of not knowing what I could do to help her frustration etc.

Sorry I've gone on blush, I'm just glad to find somewhere I can hopefully get sopme much needed advice.

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