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  1. #1
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    Default Did you always know?

    Did you always know that your child had something different about them? I feel like I've been down a long road with my 6yo DD1 and I'm still no further ahead in truly understanding her.

    When she was 3, almost 4, she started treatment for selective mutism and after about a year of treatment she could talk to everyone (still somewhat shy with people). But it's becoming increasingly clear that something else is going on. She has no friends at school and apparently spends recess and lunch break on her own

    She's highly emotional at home, constantly having meltdowns, tantrums. Sometimes it doesn't matter what we say to her, she just can't snap out of it. She's highly sensitive to pain and even a small scratch can cause a huge amount of angst and crying (don't even get me started on the trauma of losing teeth - she's lost 9 already and it's been a nightmare).

    She's sensitive to sound and constantly puts her hands up to cover her ears (both when there's loud sound or if she's frightened etc).

    She has quite poor speech - both because she's had numerous ENT issues (she's onto her 4th lot of grommets) and I'm not sure what else has effected this. She's started speech therapy recently.

    But she's well behaved at school - apparently intelligent and always follows rules (apparently a stickler for rules and can be a bit bossy with other kids if they're naughty).

    I've got an appointment for her with a psychologist next week which I've made and cancelled a few times in the past. I just don't know if this is an age thing or she needs some kind of therapy. I've got 2 younger children and she seems so vastly different to them. I don't really know what I'm asking - do you think it's worth taking her to see a psychologist or ...? I don't know. I'm flailing and feel like I'm not a very good mother to her although I really do try and be patient. It's hard.

  2. #2
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    I have a 6 year old DD with autism. We had considered that there may be 'something' going on with her developmentally when she was younger, but didn't think there was enough to follow up on until half way through her kinder year when she had just turned 5. In my daughters case:

    * DD barely spoke to anyone outside of our family until she was in 4 year old kinder. When she did start speaking to others, it was obvious she lacked social skills - e.g. not facing towards someone she was speaking to, not being sure how to initiate or maintain a conversation or play with her peers.
    * DD also had speech issues potentially stemming from ear/hearing problems. She had 3 sets of grommets inserted and started talking late. It made it difficult to tell whether some of the speech difficulties and her noise sensitivity were related to her hearing issues.
    * DD is definitely a rule follower!
    * She has had periods of high anxiety at times and we are constantly monitoring her anxiety levels
    * She is a poor sleeper (restless and wakes early)
    * She loves school and is very well behaved there. She fits in well within the classroom and has no academic difficulties, but plays by herself most lunch times. She sees this as her down time, but also struggles to maintain play with her peers. After school she is exhausted from 'holding it together' all day in such a social setting and last year meltdowns/difficulty regulating her emotions, etc were very common after school.
    * DD is sensitive to noise and will cover her ears if there are loud noises such as lawn mowers, etc. She is also a little sensitive to the feel of clothing (but nowhere near as sensitive as alot of other ASD kids I know).
    * DD was at the 'late end of normal' with her gross motor milestones and still has some motor difficulties.
    * DD's eye contact is variable - often it's good, but if she's overwhelmed or if she's trying to formulate thoughts that are challenging for her it decreases.

    From what you've said, I would definitely follow through with the psychologist, even if it's just to give a forum to your concerns. Alternatively, an appointment with a paediatrician might be a good starting point. I don't know what you think may be 'going on' with her, but if you want some more resources or information about girls and ASD, I would consider reading some information on the Tony Attwood website, or AMAZE website. Girls can present really differently to boys and often go undiagnosed as they fly under the radar and are good at masking their difficulties.

    ETA: I just re-read your initial post - I hope I haven't overstepped the mark suggesting ASD as a possibility. Obviously it may be nothing at all, but I definitely noticed some of my DD in your description of your daughter. Also, you sound like a caring loving parent, so please don't feel like you're not a good mother to her.
    Last edited by sajimum; 15-02-2017 at 15:48.

  3. #3
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    I just wanted to add that a diagnosis was a fantastic thing for us (though it didn't really feel that way at the time) - I understand my DD so much better now and I think she's starting to understand herself alot better too.

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    Thank you so much sajimum - you've really given me confidence that I'm not imagining all this stuff. I'll definitely check out the resources you suggested above. You daughter and mine sound very similar - my daughter also can't maintain very good eye contact (we always have to tell her to look into a camera, for example, and that doesn't always work). And we would consider her quite clumsy and picks up things quite a bit later than her peers - ie, has always done swimming but isn't very advanced yet etc. She also can't hold a pencil very well and has started seeing an OT for that.

    I have heard that girls present very differently with ASD and I had considered that as a possibility - I guess people like her teacher may not pick up on that on the classroom because she is well behaved? Is your daughter's teacher supportive and involved? I'm wondering if I should flag up to the teacher that she has an appointment.

    Thank you for taking the time to reply.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunnybambino View Post
    Thank you so much sajimum - you've really given me confidence that I'm not imagining all this stuff. I'll definitely check out the resources you suggested above. You daughter and mine sound very similar - my daughter also can't maintain very good eye contact (we always have to tell her to look into a camera, for example, and that doesn't always work). And we would consider her quite clumsy and picks up things quite a bit later than her peers - ie, has always done swimming but isn't very advanced yet etc. She also can't hold a pencil very well and has started seeing an OT for that.

    I have heard that girls present very differently with ASD and I had considered that as a possibility - I guess people like her teacher may not pick up on that on the classroom because she is well behaved? Is your daughter's teacher supportive and involved? I'm wondering if I should flag up to the teacher that she has an appointment.

    Thank you for taking the time to reply.
    Eye contact for photos is a huge issue here too, and DD's lack of core strength/muscle tone issues mean that although she adores swimming, she struggles with it despite many lessons.

    I am glad ASD was at least on your radar - I had a panic after I wrote that thinking I was completely going down the wrong track and stressing you out.

    I think teacher's not noticing anything is quite common in girls with ASD who function well at school. DD wouldn't have been picked up at school (or kinder) if we hadn't raised the issues I don't think. She just fits in at a superficial level and there are no behavioural issues so she just flies under the radar.

    DD's school has been fantastic and we have been quite proactive in that regard. We did have the opportunity of diagnosis prior to choosing a school which was helpful. I am meeting with her teacher tomorrow to discuss plans for this year, including strategies to support social skills, break times in class, subtle signs of anxiety, etc. It might be worth speaking to her teacher so she can note any concerns as well, but be prepared for her to say everything's fine! (we got alot of that, and 'wait and see').

    Is the psychologist you are booked with experienced with girls with ASD? Just as some extra information to mentally file away - on forums of mums of girls on the spectrum I have heard lots and lots of stories about concerns being dismissed by professionals not experienced with girls. I would definitely have a read of any information you can find and arm yourself with that just in case.

    Sounds like you're on the ball with getting in to see a speech therapist and OT. What are their thoughts? I think the speech therapist we were seeing (for a stutter) would have been the only therapist/teacher/other person to pick up on DD's difficulties as she noticed pragmatic language issues.

  6. #6
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    I'm glad you have such a supportive teacher. My daughter's school have been supportive in the past about her selective mutism so I'm sure they'll be on board with anything a psych has to say. I guess we'll see! They're also setting up a social skills group at school so hopefully she can become involved in that.

    I'm not sure if the psych has experience with girls and ASD but our GP is totally on board and said if I'm not happy with the psych there are lots of other routes/professionals we can try until we're happy we have the right help so I'm thankful for that. The speechie and OT are both very young and she's only had a couple of appointments so they haven't said anything and I haven't asked.

    It's all a bit overwhelming and the cost is ridiculous although I have got a mental health plan done so that will help with the psych.

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to Sunnybambino For This Useful Post:

    sajimum  (16-02-2017)


 

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