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DD 13 years old -

(26 Posts)
PrizePrawn Sat 25-Mar-17 12:37:36

I really need some advice on how to deal with my dd. I'm not sure if I need to change my attitude or to focus on dd and her habits. Sorry if this is a bit long - I want to give an accurate picture of her.

For background. When dd was younger, she had a very vivid imagination and spent a lot of time playing imaginary games - basically in a world of her own. She struggled to make friends and I was often at a loss over how to help her. I realise now, that she often chose not to socialise with the other children because she wanted to daydream/ play her imaginary games. She is now at secondary school and has struggled with friendships as she can be rather socially unaware and has a habit of making jokes that she doesn't think through, which have offended or made the other girls hmm. She has finally found a small group of girls who she gets on with - all a bit quirky and different - but they get on like a house on fire, so I am very relieved for her.

Now she is getting older, the imaginary games have been replaced with music and headphones. I am worried that she has become a bit obsessive with them. If I leave her to it, she will spend all day in her room, headphones on, rocking back and forth to the music. I have laid some guidelines down - weekdays she doesn't get any devices until 7.30pm, so that she gets a chance to tackle homework etc. and at weekends she has a space between 10-5 where she can't have devices. The idea was that she would get some headspace to do other things and interact with family and friends. However, she is now putting her radio on during the non-device hours and rocking back and forth. I really don't want to tell her to turn the radio off as well! Personally, I love music and hate the idea of trying to control this - but it seems to be taking over everything. I feel like she is cutting the rest of the world out. I hate trying to monitor something which obviously gives her a lot of pleasure.

We are also struggling with dd taking responsibility for her self-care. She will not shower, brush her teeth and hair or wash her face unless we repeatedly ask her to. I feel that at 13 she should be doing this without prompting. She now has a lot of spots - but still won't wash her face without reminding. It is driving me spare.

Any advice or thoughts would be much appreciated. I feel like I am turning into a horrible, controlling nag. Do I just step away and let her get on with things? Is this behaviour normal and I am overreacting? Or should I be concerned about it? I feel like I am going slightly mad!

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Sat 25-Mar-17 12:44:49

How about a timetable for the week end?
Fit into it shower /teeth /chores /free time - non devices /meals /tidy room /free time devices. Maybe she would benefit from some structure to her week ends.

Wolfiefan Sat 25-Mar-17 12:47:15

Are you suspecting she's on the autistic spectrum or are you thinking she's being addicted to devices?

frenchfancy Sat 25-Mar-17 12:48:40

The music and head phones wouldn't bother me but I would be concerned about the rocking back and forth.

You do have to keep reminding about washing etc.

PrizePrawn Sat 25-Mar-17 13:27:34

Wish - we do have quite a structured timetable as it is, in an attempt to encourage her to do those things. I am worried that in a way it is making her less independent.

Wolfie - I am not sure, to be honest. I have a friend who suggested she might be on the autistic spectrum. But then, someone else I know, who herself has a daughter with asd, thinks that she definitely is not - and she knows dd very well. Nobody at school has ever raised concerns - though she does have some issues with concentration. I am beginning to wonder if I should investigate this.

FrenchFancy - the rocking back and forth also concerns me.

tinkerbellone Sat 25-Mar-17 13:56:57

This sounds exactly like my daughter. She is 14 and was diagnose with aspergers when she was 12
She has to be reminded / encouraged to wash.
Struggled socually with girls at primary school.
Found a quirky group of friends at secondary school.
Always has ear phones on and always in her room.
Much more as well..
Tbh I struggle to decide whicj of her behaviour is 'typical teenager' and which is aspergers.

Tenpastlate Sat 25-Mar-17 14:01:44

My dd is 12 and has asd, and everything you have said about your daughter sounds liie my dd's behaviour.
Is she coping well at school? My strategy is to ensure that she is being supported and coping at school, and I allow her to 'zone out' in her down time at home as her way of recharging. We too have boundaries around screen time/headphone time to encourage interaction with the rest of the family.
I can't help but I can sympathise.

PrizePrawn Sat 25-Mar-17 14:33:38

tinkerbell and Tenpast - thank you. At what point did you decide to get a diagnosis and what prompted you to? I am really worried that I am overreacting to normal teenage behaviour. I think some of this is so subtle, the school and many people we know might be a bit hmm if we investigated it. I am also worried that dd might turn round years later and be very angry with us for putting a 'label' on her that she feels was unwarranted.

Tenpast - in answer to your question about school. Dd is quiet in lessons and has trouble concentrating sometimes. The teachers have noticed this and I am working with them to help improve this. They haven't commented on her behaviour beyond the quietness and concentration. She learns the guitar and is very good at this (obviously a very musical child)! When she started secondary school she went in, determined to make friends and make an impression. Unfortunately, she said a couple of things as jokes that weren't well judged and the comments have followed her - she ended up being ostracised by her class. The situation was complicated by a 'frenemy' from junior school who turned on her and spread a lot of other rumours. in January she was moved to a different class because she had become completely isolated. She has made a couple of friends in the new class and is quite happy at the moment. She also has a little group of girls that she meets up with at lunch - all fairly geeky and quirky - a trip to Comic Con is being planned!

Tenpastlate Sat 25-Mar-17 15:25:19

My dd would be in your dd's comic con gang grin
If school have noticed, maybe you could arrange a meeting with the head of SENCo, who will know the assessment process and be able to refer. And if you don't want to go down that path, they will be able to suggest strategies to help your dd concentrate better. For my dd this involved quieter classes and sitting next to a wall so that she wasn't surrounded by people. Also, her asd means that she needs clear, concise instructions. She is high achieving so teachers need to be made aware of her additional processing and sensory needs.
We decided to have dd assessed in Y5 asit became increasingly clear that she was having huge social issues and shutdowns.
Have you read about asd in girls?
I was worried about a 'label' too (tbh I still am), but diagnosis has enabled is to access huge amounts of support, which in turn have taken stress and anxiety off dd's shoulders.

Tenpastlate Sat 25-Mar-17 15:26:06

Sorry for the typos!

PrizePrawn Sat 25-Mar-17 17:02:45

Tenpast - thank you. I think I might have a chat with the SENCo and I will read up on asd in girls. It's such a tough one to call - a lot of the time I think that it is just teenage behaviour, but then she disappears into her room and rocks to her music for hours. Also, the lack of judgement when reading people and situations is worrying.

Tenpastlate Sat 25-Mar-17 18:51:09

I know, it's easy to dismiss things as hormones, or a phase, and hopefully this is the case for your daughter, but it's worth getting a professional opinion ime.

JustDanceAddict Sat 25-Mar-17 20:09:34

Sounds like she may have ASC too - I work with kids who are autistic and lack of self-care skills is a big flag as well as the rocking and also not 'fitting in'. I would start the ball rolling for an assessment but it can take a long time. Good luck!

PrizePrawn Sun 26-Mar-17 10:01:39

Thank JustDance - the answers seem unanimous. I think there is a National Autism helpline. I think I may call them for an initial chat, before I get the school involved.

EffinElle Sun 26-Mar-17 10:05:19

As soon as I started reading this I thought high functioning autism, I have 2_dds diagnosed with this.

emochild Sun 26-Mar-17 10:29:44

I love how your friend is an expert because she has a child with asd -you would think that would make her more aware that asd can present itself in many ways

It's not a label, it's a diagnosis -and they aren't handed out like smarties

I have no idea if your dd has asd or not but there are issues that need investigating to help her -even if she is content now she may not be 12 months down the line

PrizePrawn Sun 26-Mar-17 15:13:35

emochild - obviously you feel strongly about this. Can you bear in mind that this is confusing and I need to tread carefully with my Dd? From her point of view, she may well feel that she is being given a label - I think it is fair enough to say that. I certainly don't think that diagnosis are handed out like smarties.

emochild Sun 26-Mar-17 15:28:51

Absolutely get that and I wasn't having a go at you -I apologise for upsetting you, that was never my intention

-I do care passionately about the use of the term label and it was because my Dd's diagnosis was delayed due to her school pastoral team telling me not to label her
-that delay in getting her support had long lasting consequences for her and the rest of the family
-I just feel the use of the term label makes it harder for people to accept whereas the term diagnosis is somehow more readily accepted -certainly in my dd's case

PrizePrawn Sun 26-Mar-17 15:34:10

Thanks emochild, I see your point of view completely smile. You are right that this needs more investigation - Dd is happy at the moment, but as you point out - things could well change.

youarenotkiddingme Sun 26-Mar-17 15:35:12

Sounds like my 12yo ds who has asd.

Timetables can be helpful but I find my ds needs the downtime to function well.

CancellyMcChequeface Sun 26-Mar-17 15:54:58

It's understandable that it can feel difficult and confusing, PrizePrawn. Obviously you need to take the steps that are right for you and your DD.

I will say, though, that my mother felt very strongly about not 'labelling' and as a result I was in my mid-twenties before I realised I had AS. I think she considered that she was doing the right thing and if I had the 'label' I'd use it as an excuse not to try to fit in and act NT (or, as she put it 'like a normal person' confused )

It didn't make me any more NT, just miserable. It's not my intention to imply that you're anything like my mother was (the fact that you made this post proves differently!), but your DD's behaviours are very much like mine were (including the music, constant imaginative daydreaming, and not wanting to wash!) so I thought my perspective might be useful to you. 'That's an AS trait, lots of people have it,' is much easier to cope with than 'nobody else does that.' The latter can be incredibly isolating.

The teenage years were difficult for me as the forced social atmosphere of school was literally exhausting. If she's cutting the rest of the world out with music, there's a reason for that and restricting the music without addressing the reason she needs it might not do much good. She has to want to participate in 'the world' and it sounds like she's a bit overwhelmed at present.

PrizePrawn Sun 26-Mar-17 17:44:09

Cancelly - it sounds like you had a tough time of it with your mum - I would hate to make my Dd feel that way. Good point about the music, the switching off aspect is obviously very important.

With the term 'labelling' - a lot of things would make more sense if Dd was eventually diagnosed. I just don't want her to feel like we have decided something about her that she might be shocked by or not agree with - but I see that it can go both ways and that it would also be very helpful for her to know where she stands.

Thanks everyone - you have all been very kind and helpful. smile

youarenotkiddingme Sun 26-Mar-17 20:22:41

There's a news round special called my autism and me by a girl called Rosie.

Maybe you could find a way for dd to watch it without mentioning asd and see if it opens any dialogue?

youarenotkiddingme Sun 26-Mar-17 20:22:54

It's on you tube

PrizePrawn Sun 26-Mar-17 21:46:20

Thanks youarenotkidding - I'll take a look.

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