Six year old suspected asd/asperger

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Tafe
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04 Dec 2017, 3:04 pm

Hi.
I have a six year old girl, and have the last couple of months started wondering if she migt be on the autism spectrum. (English is not my first language).
She's always hade some social skills issues, and has had problems with speech. She didn't talk much at all until she was two. And she still has speech difficulties. She talks very fast, and it's sometimes hard to understand what she's trying to tell us. She has problems pronouncing certain letters. She has some problems telling what she has been doing f.example at school. Sometimes it's hard to get what she's talking about, if you havent't been there to experience it with her.
When she was in pre-school, she often backed out if there were a lot of kids engaging in the same play. She had kids she played with, but if other kids engaged, and it turned in to a larger group playing together, she mostly backed out and started playing alone. But she enjoyes other kids, and she enjoys friendships. She has "stable" friends that she cares about, and wants to be with. She's good on "one on one" play. The pree-school teacher often said that she often had a clear idea on how she wanted to play, and tried "instructing" the other kids. If they didn't understand, or didn't wan't to play "her way", she often got very frustrated, and her reaction was, quote "immature of her age". The other kids then often backed out, and she ended up alone. At school her teacher says she wants everything to be "fair", and that she often says that things are "not fair", and has a tendency to start crying and saying that things "are not fair". At home she often says that kids are mean to her, because they won't play "her way".

She was bullied the last year at pree-school, to the point where she didn't want to go there. The teachers intervened, and worked a lot with raising her "social status" in the group. It helped a lot. And when she started school this fall, she seems to enjoy school and find it more safe than pre-school. In pre-school here everything is evolved around kids playing and learning trough play. The days are not as structured as school, and the activitetes shift from day to day. They also have a lot of "free-play". Now when she's started school, everything is routine, and foreseeable. She enjoyes it, and we don't hear about here having the emotional reactions anymore, she's perceived as being calm and probably a very "uncomplicated" kid.

So, at home we struggle a lot. She hates bathing and showering. She's always hated it. She has very strict eating habits, and she doesn't eat a lot. I always have to see to it that she eats, because she practically never asks for food, or says that she's hungry. She can go long before peeing, to the point were it's almost to late. We have to insist on her going to the bathroom, and she insists on not having to pee, when we get her to sit down and pee, her bladder is on the breaking point. She has very strict rules about clothing, to the point that it seems obsessive. If she could choose, she would wear the same outfit every day, and we have to see to that she gets used to wearing different clothes, because if she doesn't wear f.example pants from time to time, it's impossible to get that on her the day she actually has to wear it.

She's very rigid. If she's set her mind to something, it's hard to change. And it seems to be more than just parent-kid opposition, she can say things like "no, I'm afraid", if she needs to shift from doing something ells than what she had in mind, or is used to. F.example, if we park the car on a different spot than usual when dropping her of to school, she can freeze and be upset. Instead of taking a shorter cut, she walks to the spot we usually stop, and goes inside from there.
She is easily led in to routines, and she's led us in to many routines as well. When we do something one day, she expects that the next day as well. On day three it's a routine that she's expecting, and it's hard for her to understand that we're not doing it like that again. We've learned to always tell her that "this is just for today" if were doing something different.
She's easily distracted during our daily routine, and often "breaks down" when we go from doing one thing to another; f.example going from the breakfast table and to the bathroom, from the bathroom to her room to put on clothes. She can just stop and lay down on the floor.
She walks on her tiptoes, and has done so from she started walking. She also has some selfstimulating She also has some selfstimulating moves, they are very subtle, but they are there. She puts one finger on top of the other, flaps her hands (very discrete), and can go around in circles. She also chews her clothes, it stopped for a long period of time, but now it's started again, althoug not as much as before.
She has a two year old sister, and their development has been very different. For us it's a new experience having a two-year old that's so "engaged" in the world. She has good language skills, and interacts a lot more than her sister did at that age. She's also easier to deal with, at the age of two. She puts on her clothes and eats and "comes along", (allthoug she has her two-year old tantrums) while we're struggling with her four year older sister.
My daughter is a very kindhearted, gentle and wellmeaning kid. I see her struggle, and she really wants to do her best. I think she experiences a lot of frustration. Now that she's getting older, people (and we) expect more from her, but the question is: what to expect? Not all days are as bad. We CAN geth through bathing without it being super difficult, but we never know and most often it's a struggle. She's also developed a lot, we see changes and her being more flexible, especially if we work on things being foreseeable for her, and preparing her for things, and teaching her and talking to hear about that sometimes things happen in a way that what we didn't expect and plan. (some times we have to change plans and so on).

We've been reading on high functioning autism and aspergers, and see a lot of similarities with my daughter. And, we also see a lot of similarites in her father (and grandmother). Her father acknowledges this himself. When I read on aspergers in adults, I feel like I'm reading about my husband, and when I read on people in relationships with people with aspergers, I feel like I'm reading about me. It' really really strange. And sometimes I wonder if I'm going crazy, diagnosing my whole family :oops:

People also tend to try and "defend" my daughter, when I try talking about my worries. They have their own wievs on what autism is, and they're first response always seems to be that they woun't believe that she might be autistic. I talked to her teacher at school as well, about having her examined because of her walking on tiptoes and selfstimulating. She also seemed surprised at first, but then ackowledged that she had a lot of things that she did while sitting still; she was always drawing, and doing something while listening, but her teacher had let her do it, because she was paying attention. She's on a high level at school, when it comes to learning.(high intelligence)

So, I'm a bit afraid that I might be overdramatizing the whole thing. At the same time I read about asd being misdiagnosed, and underdiagnosed in girls, and many end up with depression, anxiety or eating disorders, which is frightening to read.

This turned out as a very long text from a worried mom. Does anyone have any advice for me?



ASDMommyASDKid
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04 Dec 2017, 5:41 pm

Some of what you are talking about sounds like it is consistent with being on the spectrum, but I would not of course, be qualified to diagnose. Her playing techniques remind me a lot of my son. Difficulty with pronunciation doesn't sound particularly spectrumy to me. I don't know what that it is specifically as it could be that she had too many ear infections at the wrong time while picking up receptive speech or some structural issue in her mouth. I would look into that as a separate thing. My son scored really, really low on the social scale, and was not terrific at looking at people's faces but he never had any issues with pronunciation, other than being a little bit late with the "th" sound. (So that is why I don't think it is a spectrum thing b/c I think if it had to do with not paying attention to how people make words, i think he would have had that issue too.)

Your daughter sounds like she has sensory issues, and rigidity issues as well. I am not sure where exactly you are to tell you where to look for help with possible diagnosis. Where I am it can be done through the local school district or through a developmental pediatrician(not a regular one) That said, I would not freak out. She may not be autistic, and whether she is or not from a clinical stand point does not change who she is one iota. She has specific strengths and weaknesses and these will not change just by virtue of having a diagnosis. You can have a label and not need therapies -- You can not have one and still need help with some things in life. She will need what she will need regardless.



kraftiekortie
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05 Dec 2017, 2:51 pm

Many 6-year-old children have a strong sense of "fairness," and get upset when something is not "fair." This is very "typical" behavior for a child of her age.

There are things which she should work on---like all kids should work on. It seems as if she has to work on "playing nice" with her friends when things don't go her way. But I've seen quite a few kids like her. Most of them did not seem to be on the "Spectrum." They just seemed like "difficult kids."

Many 6-year-olds don't like to shower/bathe, either----especially if it takes time away from her play.

There are quite a few "normal" kids who don't talk well until age 2. She's 6, and she talks too fast, and is not readily understood. Speech therapy is probably in order. This doesn't mean she's on the Spectrum, though. Though it's possible she is on it.

I guess it wouldn't hurt if you would evaluate her for autism----but don't be surprised if it turns out she's not autistic.



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06 Dec 2017, 8:07 am

You are the one I have answered by PB, aren't you?
So, as I already said, I don't try to diagnose my daughter with somehow similar issues but doing my best to help her and sometimes translate between her and the people outside. I keep in mind the long-term goal is to make her able to care for herself, make decisions for herself and contribute to the society.
It's up to you to seek the diagnosis or not but whatever the result would be, she will always be who she is. With or without labels, we are just individuals with our strengths and challenges.
Yes, speech therapy is a good idea - you don't need a label to have it.
I came with idea of dance classes (if she likes dancing) to make her better in controlling her muscles. Maybe a drama club to help developing roleplaying, speech and body language - if she likes it.
I understand your fears of her possible future depression, anxiety, eating disorders - yes, she may be in the high risk group. The most efficient prevention is establishing really good contact with her, teaching her to express her feelings and making her feel unconditionally accepted. If the problems come despite it - they will just need to be treated.
Best to you!


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Tafe
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06 Dec 2017, 9:50 am

Thanks a lot for your replies.
Magz; yes it's me :)

I agree on all of you emphazising that she needs support and acceptance, not matter what. And she gets a lot of support from us, I hope. I also work hard on establishing a good relationship with her. But she also takes a lot of our time (she needs it, I know). And her behaviour, as I described, takes a lot of effort and time. I know it's common for kids her age that things are surposed to be "fair", maybe it's not a spectrum thing at all. I just wondered if it's her way of expressing difficulties when playing, and that she doesn't keep up if the rules changes during play, and then says it's not "fair".
There are some things that needs to be adressed no matter;the toe walking needs to be looked at. Because she uses her feet in a way that can cause damage to them. And she has received speech terapy since the age of four, she was a late speaker, and up until some months ago I was thinking that her sosial issues and difficulties was due to her speech development being much later than other kids at her age. Because she couldn't communicate like the other kids. But then I've started wondering if her speech development is a part of a bigger picture. I think her not being able to pronounce diffenrent letters, and some structural issues with her mouth (which she has, and she has been working on it on speech therapy) is as you say, a separate issue.
I'm not seeking a diagnose or label. I would be glad if she wasn't autistic (no offense).
If the "behavioural" problems was the only thing worrying me, maybe I wouldn't think so much of it. But together with toe walking, stimming and being a late speaker, and her father probably being on the spectrum, it's kind of hard not to wonder.
(Suspecting her father is on the spectrum is not a "new thing", both me and him have talked about it from time to time, before we had kids.)
I think maybe if she has it, it would be a comfort to her, understanding why she's (or might be) different in the way she sees the world? Her father always felt different from the other kids, and didn't play a lot with kids growing up. He's content with who he is, but we've had relationships issues from time to time, because he doesn't pick up on a lot of social things, and emotional cues, and he doesn't read people (including me) that well. He says this himself; he observes people (in a way I can not, he's very observant), but he doesn't interact emtionally on an intuitive level. He watches how other people adress different situations, and then he copies their behaviour. He says he's been like this always, And it makes socialising hard.



Last edited by Tafe on 06 Dec 2017, 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ASDMommyASDKid
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06 Dec 2017, 9:57 am

Yes, I think her father being spectrumy will help, (if she is) because it is really a terrible feeling to feel all alone in the world, and having no one really understand you.

As far as seeking or not seeking a label, you can play it by ear. If she can get what she needs without it --then fine. I never got an official diagnosis and that is AOK with me b/c I don't need one. If she needs one, you can get one later(assuming she is on the spectrum) with the caveat that the school district does not have to expedite anything and sometimes having an educational diagnosis and an IEP already hurries things along.



Tafe
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06 Dec 2017, 1:47 pm

I'm thinking maybe, if she has ASD, and got the diagnosis, she would be better taken care of at school, in terms of socializing with the other kids, and the teachers paying better attention and understanding why she struggles.
We have a good social security system in our country, so I'm guessing having a diagnosis would give her, and us, certain rights in terms of "follow up" with both her and us as a family. I haven't thought of that as much, my first concern is giving her the right type of support and help, if she is on the spectrum. I keep asking myself if maybe I'm not supporting her the right way, or doing the right thing. How and when to set demands, or when it's more than I can ask from her. If you understand. (it's not always easy to explain in english). :wink:
Thanks a lot for answering.