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YandZ
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02 Aug 2022, 5:18 pm

Hi!
I wanted the opinion of people who are actually neurodiverse to give input on whether I should try to pursue a diagnosis for my teenage daughter for ADHD and/or autism. Specifically:

  • Does she have ADHD and/or autism?
  • How has your diagnosis helped you after high school?
  • Should I try to help my daughter get a diagnosis, given that it will likely be harder for her given that she is female and an older child?

Here are some characteristics I have noticed that may indicate autism and/or ADHD. Some of these I noticed, while others I asked her about in compiling this list.

  • She doesn't like lots of noises of a middling loudness happening at once. (i. e. she doesn't like it if music is playing, people are talking, and someone is cooking or doing dishes.)
  • She doesn't like shorts, but is fine with most other clothes. It's not a fashion choice; she isn't really to explain a reason.
  • She doesn't dislike physical affection, but she doesn't like it, either.
  • She has difficulty expressing weakness or vulnerability and asking for help.
  • She has several friends.
  • She doesn't dislike changes in routine, but does dislike not knowing what's going to happen instead.
  • She loses stuff frequently.
  • She often forgets to do stuff if it isn't part of her routine or if her routine has been changed.
  • She had to go to speech therapy for a couple years when she was 10 for articulation problems.
  • She has extremely poor impulse control.
  • She leaves stuff until the last minute, but never misses a deadline (assuming it's actually enforced. If there isn't a consequence such as getting a bad grade or not doing well on a test, she won't get it done.).
  • She has 'normal' body language, but has trouble interpreting other's body language.
  • She can't always tell if people are being sincere or not.
  • She is an expert on all things genetics, biochemistry, and linguistics related, as well as being very advanced in math and science (because she likes them, not because all neurodiverse people are good at STEM).
  • She has no problem with eye contact.
  • She has difficulty determining what the intent of rules is, as opposed to the letter, but is fine in other situations.
  • She is fine with metaphors, idioms, etc.
  • She likes fiction, especially fantasy with detailed worldbuilding.
  • She doesn't really struggle socially, but has a limited social circle due to being homeschooled.
  • She is very skilled academically.
  • She has no problem with her job (swim instructor).

There may be more things that I haven't noticed or don't know the significance of, so feel free to ask questions or for clarification. TIA!



DW_a_mom
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03 Aug 2022, 1:08 am

My answer starts with a question:

Would your daughter like a better understanding of if or why she may be different?

Long run, labels and diagnosis are tools that can provide understanding of why some things are, as well as suggest protocols for mitigating issues and difficulties.

If she is set in her view of herself and would be upset to find out she is nuero-diverse, this may not be the time. Teenage girls can be fragile in that way.

Flip side is that without a diagnosis, adults around her might be misunderstanding her actions and handling issues inappropriately. My son's girlfriend had that problem to a frightening degree, and it was quite damaging for her.

You have to weigh the sides carefully before even discussing it with her.

Life-long, having the label is, once again, a combination of good and bad in terms of what it means to society. For my son, the good included SAT and college accommodations that he needed for his disgraphia. He uses the label to guide life choices and maximize his strengths while minimizing his weaknesses. The bad hasn't hit our family, but a few years ago a member had his ASD used against him in a custody case. There are no guarantees how society will view and deal with differences at different points in time, so any label will always carry some risk.

Most people who get diagnosed seem to find a lot of relief in it, for they now have explanations for things that have plagued them all their lives. A few get upset because their fundamental sense of self is shattered.

The best way to avoid issues from the diagnosis itself is for your daughter to drive the process.


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klanka
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03 Aug 2022, 7:40 am

She's very high functioning 8O

A potential diagnosis could be useful if she burns out. Then the doctors can get her the right help.



YandZ
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03 Aug 2022, 11:08 am

DW_a_mom wrote:
My answer starts with a question:

Would your daughter like a better understanding of if or why she may be different?

Long run, labels and diagnosis are tools that can provide understanding of why some things are, as well as suggest protocols for mitigating issues and difficulties.

If she is set in her view of herself and would be upset to find out she is nuero-diverse, this may not be the time. Teenage girls can be fragile in that way.

Flip side is that without a diagnosis, adults around her might be misunderstanding her actions and handling issues inappropriately. My son's girlfriend had that problem to a frightening degree, and it was quite damaging for her.

You have to weigh the sides carefully before even discussing it with her.

Life-long, having the label is, once again, a combination of good and bad in terms of what it means to society. For my son, the good included SAT and college accommodations that he needed for his disgraphia. He uses the label to guide life choices and maximize his strengths while minimizing his weaknesses. The bad hasn't hit our family, but a few years ago a member had his ASD used against him in a custody case. There are no guarantees how society will view and deal with differences at different points in time, so any label will always carry some risk.

Most people who get diagnosed seem to find a lot of relief in it, for they now have explanations for things that have plagued them all their lives. A few get upset because their fundamental sense of self is shattered.

The best way to avoid issues from the diagnosis itself is for your daughter to drive the process.


I've already talked with her about it. It wasn't really a huge surprise. She thinks she has autism, and would like a diagnosis, but isn't dying to get one. She wants it mostly for validisation. When we got her brother tested, though, it was expensive and didn't end up giving us many benefits. And her brother is younger, male, and struggles more with behaviour expectations than she does.



Last edited by YandZ on 03 Aug 2022, 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

YandZ
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03 Aug 2022, 11:20 am

More things which I forgot to add:

She hates getting her hands/arms wet if the rest of her body isn't getting wet. (She hates washing dishes and will use ten million paper towels to dry her hands after washing them.)

She has tantrums (meltdowns?) about once or twice a year in which she will cry, knock stuff to the floor, say hurtful things, and sometimes bite herself or pull her hair. When I asked her, she said that she knew that what she was doing was a bad idea, and wasn't sure why she was doing it anyway. She has headaches afterwards.

Her brother is diagnosed with conduct disorder and her uncle is diagnosed with ADHD.



IsabellaLinton
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03 Aug 2022, 11:27 am

YandZ wrote:
She hates getting her hands/arms wet if the rest of her body isn't getting wet.



I have this too.
I can't stand getting my hands wet or touching water.
It's like torture.



DW_a_mom
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03 Aug 2022, 9:15 pm

YandZ wrote:
I've already talked with her about it. It wasn't really a huge surprise. She thinks she has autism, and would like a diagnosis, but isn't dying to get one. She wants it mostly for validisation. When we got her brother tested, though, it was expensive and didn't end up giving us many benefits. And her brother is younger, male, and struggles more with behaviour expectations than she does.

---

More things which I forgot to add:

She hates getting her hands/arms wet if the rest of her body isn't getting wet. (She hates washing dishes and will use ten million paper towels to dry her hands after washing them.)

She has tantrums (meltdowns?) about once or twice a year in which she will cry, knock stuff to the floor, say hurtful things, and sometimes bite herself or pull her hair. When I asked her, she said that she knew that what she was doing was a bad idea, and wasn't sure why she was doing it anyway. She has headaches afterwards.



Finances are definitely a consideration. And that ... is a balancing act unique to each family.

For the potential meltdowns you mentioned, try pulling up some of our threads on meltdowns. Some threads are more detailed than others, but understanding what is happening and teaching her protocols for self-mitigation are both very helpful. See if you can figure out the warning signs of when she is starting to get stressed or overloaded, being aware that there can be a significant time lag between stress factor and reaction. If you can, use those opportunities (when you start to see warning signs) to redirect her into self-calming activities or stims before she reaches the threshold of no return. Once the patterns and protocols are identified, she can take charge of watching out for the signs and redirecting herself.

My son, for example, gets jerky and starts raising his voice when he is overloading. Physical movement like pacing or walking are helpful for removing him from that headspace. He hasn't had a meltdown in years.

Part of the contract you make with your child is that your will believe them when they say they did need a walk or whatever their diversion activity is. You should never make them "push through it" when the warning signs of stress and overload are there. Hopefully they eventually learn to manage their stress and reactions well enough that they will never need to divert at a crucial time. But until they've really gained control of their environment 24/7, there may be times you have to accept their diversion to self-calming at very inconvenient times.

Both my ASD son and ADHD/possibly bi-polar daughter both really need to watch their stress levels and keep their lives managed. My son has years and years of knowing he can't take on too much, but my daughter faked it for so long we still need to remind her that maybe she should leave more wiggle room in her obligations. The world will wait. They don't need to rush from goal to goal.

As for washing dishes, have you tried a really good pair of gloves?

Whatever is going on, the name of game is probably adaptation.


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kraftiekortie
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03 Aug 2022, 10:00 pm

She actually seems like sort of a “normal” teenager who is very bright and has quirks.I’ve known quite a few of them. They can be eccentric without actually having a “disorder.” If she’s like this as a 25-year-old, then I might wonder.

She could possibly be Aspergian. Almost definitely not “classically” autistic

ADHD is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

That’s my amateur impression.



YandZ
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04 Aug 2022, 9:38 am

DW_a_mom wrote:

See if you can figure out the warning signs of when she is starting to get stressed or overloaded, being aware that there can be a significant time lag between stress factor and reaction. If you can, use those opportunities (when you start to see warning signs) to redirect her into self-calming activities or stims before she reaches the threshold of no return. Once the patterns and protocols are identified, she can take charge of watching out for the signs and redirecting herself.

Part of the contract you make with your child is that your will believe them when they say they did need a walk or whatever their diversion activity is. You should never make them "push through it" when the warning signs of stress and overload are there. Hopefully they eventually learn to manage their stress and reactions well enough that they will never need to divert at a crucial time. But until they've really gained control of their environment 24/7, there may be times you have to accept their diversion to self-calming at very inconvenient times.

As for washing dishes, have you tried a really good pair of gloves?


I will take a look at those threads.
They almost always happen when she's tired, but she's often tired and doesn't melt down. The last time, she was putting a lot of pressure on herself to do well at a competition, and her brother messed with her flash cards, but I wasn't actually present for that. My spouse makes it sound like she went from 0 to 100 without any warning, but maybe there's something he missed.

We've tried disposable plastic gloves, but she hasn't liked those.



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04 Aug 2022, 6:11 pm

One thing to consider is whether you noticed any symptoms when she was a toddler and young child. Although I know those can be harder to spot in a girl than a boy. Has she taken the AQ ASD pre-screening quiz? I would do that before pursuing a diagnosis.


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YandZ
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15 Aug 2022, 11:27 am

CarlM wrote:
One thing to consider is whether you noticed any symptoms when she was a toddler and young child. Although I know those can be harder to spot in a girl than a boy. Has she taken the AQ ASD pre-screening quiz? I would do that before pursuing a diagnosis.

She didn't live with me from when she was 13 months to when she was 5, so I'm not exactly sure. When I visited her, I didn't notice any symptoms, but I also wasn't looking. I tried to get in contact with the person who cared for her then, but we aren't on great terms and they haven't responded yet.

When we started living together when she was five, she was intellectually advanced but had difficulty forming friendships (she only made one friend in an entire year of kindergarten), likely because she was interested in books above most of her peers' reading level and didn't want to play anything other than games relating to these books. She always followed rules at school, but had huge tantrums about actually going because she thought it was boring (it mainly was teaching the kids how to read, but as mentioned above, she had taught herself to read when she was 2-3, and was reading fluently at this point).

She has taken the AQ ASD pre-screening quiz and got a 30.



kraftiekortie
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16 Aug 2022, 4:46 am

I still don’t feel she’s necessarily autistic.

There’s nothing wrong with being autistic, per se. I had all the classic symptoms when I was very young, and still have some now.

I still feel she might be a quirky teenager. People who are intellectually-oriented are often quirky, and frequently feel hypersensitive about things.

But you never know….



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16 Aug 2022, 3:00 pm

It sounds like she's very bright and she has ADHD.
ADHD includes sensory processing issues.