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Kristy3313
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15 Jun 2022, 2:02 pm

My daughter is 7 and diagnosed with autism and gifted. We have been working on identifying resources and people to help support her. I have a few questions.
1. Has anyone had success with ABA therapy?
2. Has anyone found and online community for kids with ASD to meet up and talk or a mentor type meetup?
3. This is specific to something that happens daily and I’m curious if this is more common for kids with aspergers….my daughter has a very hard time finding the positives in a situation and is always reporting on what is wrong or not going well. Whenever I ask how she is it’s usually just a quick ok and then a laundry list of things that have gone wrong. I am a fixer so am wondering how much of this really upsets her or if it’s just reporting what she sees and when I need or should intervene.
Thanks for your time and advice!



timf
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16 Jun 2022, 6:31 am

Many parents are exposed to Aspergers (now ASD) through school and are told to approach it as a medical condition to be treated therapeutically.

You might consider viewing some of the Tony Attwood videos on Youtube and the free pdf booklet Aspergers - An Intentional Life http://christianpioneer.com/blogarchieve/an_intentional_life_2017.pdf

Having a neurology that is faster, more complex, or more sensitive can make a child seek to avoid discomfort and anxiety. A gifted child can be pretty good at avoiding discomfort. A parent who is aware of this but also aware that some developmental abilities require facing things that are uncomfortable can help the child learn to summon the will power to persevere.



H_Taterz
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16 Jun 2022, 1:59 pm

We're all different so just knowing someone is 7 years old, gifted, and female is pretty vague.

As someone who is also "gifted," it's a curse that comes with negativity because you can see the big picture.
I can only tell you things from my personal perspective.

Be a loving mom. Let her be her. You can teach her that NTs think differently, like explain to her that there are a lot of unspoken social rules.

Find out what her interests are and grow them.

If my parents would have loved, supported, and listened to me, I'd probably be the head of some robotics company today.
I was a science geek, and instead, my parents forced their ideas of how I should behave to "fit in" (draw art, chase boys, get married, have babies) and my life was worse off for it. I'm now trying to fix what was done in my childhood. It took a lot of wasted adult years and introspection to appreciate and love who I am.

Educate, don't dictate.

IMO - ABA is good for preschool aged kids (2-5) with behavior issues, but not as they get older. I know a lot of people who have ABA horror stories.





Kristy3313 wrote:
My daughter is 7 and diagnosed with autism and gifted. We have been working on identifying resources and people to help support her. I have a few questions.
1. Has anyone had success with ABA therapy?
2. Has anyone found and online community for kids with ASD to meet up and talk or a mentor type meetup?
3. This is specific to something that happens daily and I’m curious if this is more common for kids with aspergers….my daughter has a very hard time finding the positives in a situation and is always reporting on what is wrong or not going well. Whenever I ask how she is it’s usually just a quick ok and then a laundry list of things that have gone wrong. I am a fixer so am wondering how much of this really upsets her or if it’s just reporting what she sees and when I need or should intervene.
Thanks for your time and advice!



Pteranomom
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16 Jun 2022, 5:08 pm

Hello and welcome!
ABA is not intended for people like your daughter.
She probably qualifies for something like OT or PT through her school. My kids loved these! She probably also qualifies for some sort of "social group" therapy. This was a more mixed experience for my kids.

I recommend reading, reading, reading to get different perspectives on autism. See what your library has. I am learning new techniques all the time.

Often autistic kids get kind of "stuck" in bad feelings. My son has OCD and several phobias in addition to sensory issues. As parents, we have to help them learn how to get in-stuck. For example, when my son starts getting upset, he is supposed to go hug his favorite toy. This interrupts whatever he waa doing that was upsetting him and introduces something happy.

Yesterday I tried a new technique, writing out two new rules about not making angry noises or gestures. He is upset because we cannot get a cat because his brother is allergic (among other reasons,) so he has been going around making angry noises over and over for hours at his brother. We have explained until we are blue in the face that this behaviour is inappropriate, but our words go in one ear and out the other. So yesterday after a blow-up with dad over the angry noises I sat him down and wrote out the rules (no angry noises and no angry gestures) on paper and had him write that he agreed to follow the rules and sign his name. Will it work? It worked for the rest of the evening, at least! I'm sure he will need reminding, but it's a start, at least.

I've been trying to introduce multiple different ways of communicating with my kids. Last night I used writing--I think my son is better at communicating clearly in writing that in speech. I've also used pictures, drawing simple pictures on a whiteboard to help discuss social situations. We also do some meditation to help think about our feelings.

(My daughter hates meditation with a passion but my son enjoys it.)

I've also been trying to learn sign language, which the kids enjoy. Everything and the kitchen sink! Just keep trying things.

Another breakthrough for me involved realizing that I could assuage my son's anxiety by reassuring him that dirt (his big fear) isn't infinite. Just because your sister stepped on the floor doesn't mean it will get spread to every surface in the house. The dirt isn't infinite. This has worked a lot better than my previous approach of trying to get him to come to terms with the fact that dirt is everywhere (it's in the air!) That was a disaster because he lacked the skills to calm down and stop worrying. Introducing A kind of rule about number of transfers of dirt from surface to surface has worked a lit better.

Good luck!



DW_a_mom
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17 Jun 2022, 2:43 am

It is difficult to be helpful without knowing what your daughter's most pressing needs are, but I will say that the therapies the most helpful to my son were physical therapy (he has "loose joints" and disgraphia) and speech (he speaks extremely well, always has, but what was pointed out to me is that there is a difference between speaking and communicating. He needed pragmatic help, following the conventions of speech, and learning how to use speech effectively in conjunction with goals.)

We never did ABA. I understand it can be useful for a non-communicative child, but most high functioning children do not need it. Its a form of behavioral therapy and inherently stressful on the child. Plus, this community has often felt that ABA therapists - who vary widely in quality - often create goals that really are unnecessary at best and counterproductive at worst.

The best protocols for most of our kids involve recognizing and reducing stress factors so they can navigate the world more comfortably, then eventually teaching them how to recognize and mitigate their own stress. There is a clear line between meltdowns, stims, etc and the stress factors. Reduce stress factors, and you'll eliminate most concerning behaviors. The ASD brain processes stimulation differently, and that reality will not change, period. Your child will need help so that their weak skills don't hold back their gifts, and will have to learn social norms that don't come naturally, but they will also need to make choices that allow them to customize the world they live in so that it fits their needs. Conforming life to what they need is a huge part of helping an ASD child find their future.

As a very young child, my son was an extreme sensory seeker. He loved noise and crowds. But I'll never forget the preschool teacher who reminded me that just because a child is drawn to something, does not mean it is healthy for them. Over time, our family learned that the accumulated stress from noise and crowds would break down my son, get his brain misfiring, and increase meltdowns. As an adult, he avoids noise and crowds. He can deal if he has to, and even enjoy it, but he's been around the block enough to know that he internal processing systems do much better without all that input. He's building himself a really nice life. Graduated college, got a good job, girlfriend, etc. He'll be fine. But there getting through the school years was difficult. He would be so far ahead in so many things, but completely lacking in skills in other areas. Outside services were mostly designed to support and help him where the delays and gaps might otherwise have held back his academic advance. They weren't designed to change him. At home we probably worked first and foremost on the stress factors, trying to get meltdowns out of his life, since I saw those as the single largest roadblock to keeping a job, living independently, etc. We taught him to see the line from events to later meltdowns, and to self-mitigate. It's probably been a decade since he's had a meltdown. It worked.

Anyway, I've rambled quite a bit past what you've asked, but I think it's important to start thinking in terms of reducing stress and figuring out what a world that conforms to your child, instead of the other way around, would look like. Hopefully you have a good school that is understanding of ASD students, and able to do well by them. It's a long journey raising an ASD child, but the results can be amazing. I am so so proud of the man my son has become.


_________________
Mom to an amazing young adult AS son, plus an also amazing non-AS daughter. Most likely part of the "Broader Autism Phenotype" (some traits).


cyberdad
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17 Jun 2022, 3:04 am

Kristy3313 wrote:
My daughter is 7 and diagnosed with autism and gifted. We have been working on identifying resources and people to help support her. I have a few questions.
1. Has anyone had success with ABA therapy?
2. Has anyone found and online community for kids with ASD to meet up and talk or a mentor type meetup?
3. This is specific to something that happens daily and I’m curious if this is more common for kids with aspergers….my daughter has a very hard time finding the positives in a situation and is always reporting on what is wrong or not going well. Whenever I ask how she is it’s usually just a quick ok and then a laundry list of things that have gone wrong. I am a fixer so am wondering how much of this really upsets her or if it’s just reporting what she sees and when I need or should intervene.
Thanks for your time and advice!


1, As DW_aMOM mentioned ABA is for children with communication deficits but also children with undesirable repetitive self-stimulating and/or self-harming behaviours. The effectiveness of ABA therapy tends to wane once the child is older than 5 but you can get results up to 12 yrs old. With limited knowledge of your daughter there are also now electronic brain games for children your daughter's age which helps with attention, discipline and resilience training. The latter is useful for ADD, ADHD etc.

2. I used such a community for my daughter when she was 14-15 during COVID. Unfortunately the lady organising the sessions was giving horrible advice about boys which my daughter took literally. We stopped the service but this impacted my daughter's interaction with one boy at her mainstream school so the damage was done.

3. My daughter was also identified as gifted when she was around 2-3 (I think they called it hyperlexic for children that age back in the early 2000s). Unfortunately she one serious sensory issue relating to sounds that completely destroyed her ability to socialise normally in mainstream school. She never paid attention to speech and was constantly distracted by sounds (particularly bird noises). She has managed to catch up after managing her sensory issues (its still an issue but nowhere as bad) but no therapy helped. She basically developed her own coping mechanisms (loud music/headphones).