Suspecting DD may be on the spectrum - Mothering Forums

 
Thread Tools
#1 of 6 Old 10-14-2016, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
MamaRuga's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 390
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Suspecting DD may be on the spectrum

My girls' father was diagnosed with aspergers two years before we split up. That was an incredibly tough relationship, but I learned a lot about how brains can work differently. I had thought that both my children seemed to be neurotypical and breathed a sigh of relief.

However, I'm beginning to put some pieces together and wonder if, in fact, my oldest (almost 9 y.o) may be on the spectrum, although very high functioning.

The biggest thing that has had me stumped has been her escalation. Unlike most children, when she needs to be corrected or disciplined, she goes off the charts. She becomes very physically and verbally aggressive. Unlike my youngest (and most other children I've seen), she just gets more and more worked up no matter what approach I've tried. It has been taking place since she was very little but it is harder and harder to deal with as she gets bigger. This week I literally had to pin her down to keep her from kicking, hitting, biting me. This went on for 45 minutes and every time I'd try to let her go, she would start to attack me again. We got through it with me simply mirroring her words as kindly as I could (My mantra becomes "You are really angry/frustrated/sad. I see you are really upset... I can't let you hurt me/break things").

I've gotten the message that she is like this because I'm too lenient or permissive, which I really don't think I am. She is just so hard to direct and discipline. I never know what might through her off. I really have had to pick my battles. I've seen her as just very strong willed, but now I'm wondering if more may be going on.

At the parent teacher conference this week, her teacher pointed out that she really isn't developing friendships in the same way as her peers. Yet she is very happy and content in herself. She is mostly mimicking friendships on a more surface level it seems. She also continues to have signs of anxiety and is very tentative in her body and movement. She absolutely hates to have anyone say "I'm sorry" to her for any reason, and refuses to say it to others if she has hurt them. She tends to like things black and white, and also doesn't often show much emotion around serious things that happen (like her dad leaving).

But she doesn't have some of the other signs, like being obsessed with certain subjects or lack of empathy. She can be a very generous and caring girl. She loves to share what she has and, when she is in a good space, she really can see how to redirect play for her younger sister when the younger one is getting frustrated. When she has friends over to play, she is often the one directing the play (and can be bossy) but she can also adapt easily to suggestions from the other children.

We have been in therapy to see if we can help her deal with the strong feelings and her strong response to them. She's been focused on helping her to identify feelings (something she isn't very skilled at). I haven't seen much difference though.

I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts. I know that it apparently is harder to identify in girls. And perhaps it will become more apparent as she gets older and navigates more social situations. But already thinking about it as a possibility gives me a lot of hope. If I can understand what is going on, then I can find better tools.

Last edited by MamaRuga; 10-14-2016 at 06:37 PM.
MamaRuga is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 6 Old 11-17-2016, 07:46 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My sister-in-laws husband has been diagnosed with aspergers as well. Both her kids, aged 5 and 2 has already been diagnosed. I see how difficult it is for her, so I understand your situation.
Margo Dahlquist is offline  
#3 of 6 Old 11-23-2016, 08:28 AM
 
Turquesa's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,668
Mentioned: 150 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1752 Post(s)
It feels inappropriate to thread-jack but redundant to start a whole new thread. I'm going through something really similar and am still researching it.

DS is displaying symptoms quite similar to your daughter, except that he's quite outgoing and social. But just like your DD, he's extremely reactive and has a hard time with emotional regulation. His emotional episodes involve screaming, crying, breaking things, physically hurting others, and threatening to run away over something as trivial as losing a game. His doctor ruled out ASD because he has a lot of empathy, just like your DD, and makes great eye contact while speaking.

So bringing things back to your daughter, my friend, who's child has ASD, advised me to figure out any environmental factors triggering the symptoms and consider the possibility of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Based on what you're describing, have you considered SPD?

Are there any patterns to your daughter's episodes? Does this happen more at school or at home? Right now, I'm considering a typical school setting that could set off SPD symptoms--fluorescent lighting, loud bells, loud and crowded classrooms with lots of people talking over each other, noisy gymnasiums, bright and busy decorations around the classroom, etc.

We homeschool, but we're not immune to some suspected triggers. DS is extremely athletic. He loves a game of soccer outdoors. But EVERY SINGLE time we meet with other homeschoolers to play sports in a noisy gym, there's an Episode. (And lots of judgment. That's really fun. )

Have you considered Occupational Therapy? That's usually the intervention for SPD. We parents are taught to look to conventional therapists for solutions. But just as your experience taught you, that's not necessarily the answer.

So I'm about to give OT a try. Unfortunately, everyone in my area has a waiting list, but hopefully it's worth the wait. Depending on where you live, you may have to commute to a larger city to find a provider.

Also, from what I'm reading, it's possible to have a hard time with emotional regulation and NOT have SPD. But even then, an OT can help.

Finally, I don't think there's necessarily anything abnormal about your daughter "not showing emotion" about her dad leaving. Some kids cope with things in different ways. Some of her lashing out on seemingly unrelated things may actually be tied to that loss.

Good luck with everything!

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., former NEJM Editor
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Proud member of #teamvaxchoice
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Turquesa is offline  
 
#4 of 6 Old 12-06-2016, 10:23 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi there,

I have an asd dd. She is 6 and was diagnosed at 3. Diet was the number one thing that helped my dd. We did everything and we are very blessed that we could afford all the therapies ans suppplements. Nothing worked like changing her diet. Look into Paleo diet, Gaps diet, and since she is 9 get her involved. She can pick what she wants to try. If you can access raw cow milk or camel milk, get it! Raw dairy has also tremendously helped us.
2legit2quit is offline  
#5 of 6 Old 12-13-2016, 06:03 AM
 
Ruthla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 43,705
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
My daughter is similar to yours. She was diagnosed with ADD and ODD at age 8, and she self-diagnosed herself with ASD (what used to be known as Asperger's) at age 19. She has yet to actually see a mental health professional for an official diagnosis, but a friend (a few years older than her) who's in the mental health field now, and has known the family since Hannah was 10 and the girl was a teenager, concurs with the diagnosis. I was afraid that a label might be limiting, or that the school would pressure me into medicating her, so I didn't seek out a full diagnosis when she was a child. Now that she's approaching age 21, and really struggling with "adulting", I think she could benefit from services and I regret not getting a full diagnosis when she was small. I can't even get her into therapy now, thanks to social anxiety- plus the whole "legal adult over age 18" thing. I can make medical decisions for my 15 year old, but I can't do anything for her without her cooperation.

Diet has been a huge help for Hannah as well. First we did the Feingold Program when she was little. I put the whole family on it. The artificial colors seem to have a HUGE impact on her, though salicylates do not. So we've been on "stage 2 Feingold" for the past 12 years. I'm just now relaxing on letting my son (15) eat artificial colors because I realized that they don't seem to affect him. He was only 3 when we put the whole family on Feingold so I never knew if he reacted or not.

The second thing that helped her was when I started the Blood Type Diet when she was 13. Among other changes, switching from wheat to spelt made a HUGE difference in her mood stability. I couldn't get her to commit to gluten-free for 2 weeks straight because she needed her cream cheese sandwich for school lunch every day- but switching to spelt bread she could handle. (Gluten free breads make great toast but fall apart in packed lunches.)

She no longer follows the Type O diet strictly anymore, but she carefully avoids wheat. Except when she's at somebody else's house, and they have noodles in the soup, and she eats the soup anyway and tries to avoid the noodles but there's still wheat proteins in the broth. Or she peels the breading off the chicken,etc. And she always, always reacts when this happens. Often for the whole next week she'll be depressed and anxious and not properly functional.

I don't know which foods are triggers for your child, but it's very, very likely that there ARE food triggers, and omitting them will help her a lot.

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
Ruthla is offline  
#6 of 6 Old 01-08-2017, 04:42 PM
 
japonica's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Canada-->Australia
Posts: 1,512
Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 199 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaRuga View Post
My girls' father was diagnosed with aspergers two years before we split up. That was an incredibly tough relationship, but I learned a lot about how brains can work differently. I had thought that both my children seemed to be neurotypical and breathed a sigh of relief.

However, I'm beginning to put some pieces together and wonder if, in fact, my oldest (almost 9 y.o) may be on the spectrum, although very high functioning.

The biggest thing that has had me stumped has been her escalation. Unlike most children, when she needs to be corrected or disciplined, she goes off the charts. She becomes very physically and verbally aggressive. Unlike my youngest (and most other children I've seen), she just gets more and more worked up no matter what approach I've tried. It has been taking place since she was very little but it is harder and harder to deal with as she gets bigger. This week I literally had to pin her down to keep her from kicking, hitting, biting me. This went on for 45 minutes and every time I'd try to let her go, she would start to attack me again. We got through it with me simply mirroring her words as kindly as I could (My mantra becomes "You are really angry/frustrated/sad. I see you are really upset... I can't let you hurt me/break things").

I've gotten the message that she is like this because I'm too lenient or permissive, which I really don't think I am. She is just so hard to direct and discipline. I never know what might through her off. I really have had to pick my battles. I've seen her as just very strong willed, but now I'm wondering if more may be going on.

At the parent teacher conference this week, her teacher pointed out that she really isn't developing friendships in the same way as her peers. Yet she is very happy and content in herself. She is mostly mimicking friendships on a more surface level it seems. She also continues to have signs of anxiety and is very tentative in her body and movement. She absolutely hates to have anyone say "I'm sorry" to her for any reason, and refuses to say it to others if she has hurt them. She tends to like things black and white, and also doesn't often show much emotion around serious things that happen (like her dad leaving).

But she doesn't have some of the other signs, like being obsessed with certain subjects or lack of empathy. She can be a very generous and caring girl. She loves to share what she has and, when she is in a good space, she really can see how to redirect play for her younger sister when the younger one is getting frustrated. When she has friends over to play, she is often the one directing the play (and can be bossy) but she can also adapt easily to suggestions from the other children.

We have been in therapy to see if we can help her deal with the strong feelings and her strong response to them. She's been focused on helping her to identify feelings (something she isn't very skilled at). I haven't seen much difference though.

I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts. I know that it apparently is harder to identify in girls. And perhaps it will become more apparent as she gets older and navigates more social situations. But already thinking about it as a possibility gives me a lot of hope. If I can understand what is going on, then I can find better tools.
Hi there,

I know you posted back in October, but was wondering how you're doing and how the holidays went.

Reading your post and asking for thoughts, a few things struck me. First, yes, girls seem to fly under the radar for a lot of these conditions, and it's only in hindsight that what we thought were NT but "difficult and quirky" daughters is actually a condition that would have benefitted from earlier diagnosis.

I think you highlighted a key issue with the peer aspect and it's tough sometimes for us to get that critical insight into how our daughters interact with their peers and what this entails. I knew that my daughter had difficulties with making friends since she started school, and that she had maybe 1-2 friends and that was it, but did not gain an understanding of how she differed from the others until I asked the teachers to give their perspective on it. The anxiety and emotional overreaction was also something we saw from the age of 3-4, but it was something our doctors didn't feel warranted pursuing, "some kids have separation anxiety," "she's just sensitive," you know the story.

Go with your instinct. It's probably right. Good luck.
japonica is offline  
Reply


User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 15,532

23 members and 15,509 guests
agentofchaos , Bow , Deborah , Dovenoir , hillymum , Hippie Mama 79 , IAmNehaRastogi , jacobpalmer2018 , Katherine73 , Lea Martin , Lolita2345 , lorie2001 , moominmamma , Motherof3already , MountainMamaGC , NaturallyKait , queenter , RollerCoasterMama , rubelin , sren , verticalscope
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.