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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   Depression and other mental health difficulties are common amongst people on the autistic spectrum and their carers.   People who are affected by general mental health difficulties are encouraged to receive and share information, support and advice with other forum members, though it is important to point out that this exchange of information is generally based on personal experience and opinions, and is not a substitute for professional medical help.   There is a list of sources of mental health support here: <a href="http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=18801" target="_blank">Mental Health Resources link</a>   People may experience a more serious crisis with their mental health and need urgent medical assistance and advice. However well intentioned, this is not an area of support that the forum can or should be attempting to offer and we would urge members who are feeling at risk of self-harm or suicide to contact either their own GP/health centre, or if out of hours contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or to call emergency services 999.   We want to reassure members that they have our full support in offering and seeking advice and information on general mental health issues. Members asking for information in order to help a person in their care are seeking to empower both themselves and those they represent, and we would naturally welcome any such dialogue on the forum.   However, any posts which are deemed to contain inference of personal intent to self-harm and/or suicide will be removed from the forum and that person will be contacted via the pm system with advice on where to seek appropriate help.   In addition to the post being removed, if a forum member is deemed to indicate an immediate risk to themselves, and are unable to be contacted via the pm system, the moderating team will take steps to ensure that person's safety. This may involve breaking previous confidentiality agreements and/or contacting the emergency services on that person's behalf.   Sometimes posts referring to self-harm do not indicate an immediate risk, but they may contain material which others find inappropriate or distressing. This type of post will also be removed from the public forum at the moderator's/administrator's discretion, considering the forum user base as a whole.   If any member receives a PM indicating an immediate risk and is not in a position (or does not want) to intervene, they should forward the PM to the moderating team, who will deal with the disclosure in accordance with the above guidelines.   We trust all members will appreciate the reasoning behind these guidelines, and our intention to urge any member struggling with suicidal feelings to seek and receive approproiate support from trained and experienced professional resources.   The forum guidelines have been updated to reflect the above.   Regards,   The mod/admin team
hertsmummy

Please can someone help me. I don't know what to do. (sorry it's long!)

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Hi everyone, I am new to this site and in need of some help and advice.

My name is Karen and I have a 12 yr old and a a 3 yr old daughter. I have a 2 year old son and am due to give birth again next month.

 

I 1st realised things were not right with my 3 yr old at about 18 months. Her eye contact with strangers was bad, her diet poor, she had a fasination with jigsaw puzzles and had real issues with clothes, she'd wake in the nite because her quilt 'wasn't right'?. Since then things have been getting progressively worse. I saw my health visitor about this last October and got a refferal to a paed specialist who we saw in Dec. By then Katie had issues but we were able to manage them and things calmed down. We were told we'd be reveiwed in 3 months (March this year) but haven't heard anything. Now things are bad. Now the only way to describe every day life is hell. A typical day:

 

*Katie gets up and her 1st melt down of the day will be over how much milk is in her cup and how hot it is. (it's gotta be spot on!)

* Breakfast, Katie wont eat anything you offer her and then constantly says 'I'm hungry'. To avoid another melt down crisps is our only option.

* Bath time. Katie wont bath unless you drag her there. She go's mental if you wash her hair! Then she wont get out. When she does, she wont get dressed everything 'doesn't feel right' or 'Hurts' socks and pants are the worse. But she will wear them if they're inside out? This is a mega battle of wills and very stressfull for everyone.

* Lunch. again a no go.

* Getting her ready for nursery? well, that's at breaking point.

* Katie must be told everything in advance and with plenty of warning. If you spring anything on her she flips.

* At nursery apparently she's a model pupil???

* Dinner times. Katie wont eat anything other then chips, noodles, garlic bread or yorkshire puddings. If there is something other than that on her plate she flips out. I can't get her to eat anything.

At home she'll have a melt down over the tiniest of things. They can last for hours and she kicks, and is very agressive. It's like she's possesed, you can see the rage in her eyes and there's just no getting through.

You can't reason with her and the only way to calm her is to give in to her demands.

 

Yesterday tea time she had a whopping great melt down and my parents saw the whole thing. They ended up taking her with them as they could see how much of a problem I have. I'm at breaking point with her. It's ripping my family apart. My dad said ' I need help with her or i'll end up in the psychy unit'. Her meltdowns are something they've nether seen before and they agree somethings not right.

It's like walking around on egg shells, not knowing when the next melt down will happen.

It's effecting my other children now and my youngest has started copying her.

 

Need to do something. Do I go back to my GP on monday morning or do I ring up the consultant we saw in Dec? If i do what do i say to make them listen to me without coming accross like a neurotic parent??

I really need some advice and support, we can't go on like it any more.

Any help would be gladly appreciated.

 

Thanks for reading

Karen x

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pearl   

Hi & welcome >:D<<'>

Sorry things are so tough right now. I'm sure others will be along with advice, but fwiw if it was me & I had the consultant's number I'd definitely ring him as he was supposed to see your daughter in March & it hasn't happened. Thats not being neurotic. If it would help, print out what you've written here & give it him to read, as its easy to forget stuff or get upset when stressed at the appointment.

 

Couple of things jumped out at me - wearing clothes inside out - sounds like she doesn't like the feel of the seams.

And being no trouble at nursery - could be she's trying hard to hold it all together whilst there (my son used to do this) so you get the full force of her "relaxing" when she gets home.

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Sally44   

I agree with the seams stuff. Have a look at Sensory Integration Disorder. Most, if not all, those on the spectrum have sensory issues which can fluctuate from day to day. Someone else has posted about 'evil socks' and my own son fluctuates between being hyper sensitive to some stuff and under sensitive to others. I also have sensory issues (but am not autistic), so I can totally understand what he may be experiencing, which isn't nice.

Behaving at nursery might be because she is holding it together and letting out her frustration at home. Or it might be down to the fact that in nursery/school there is usually a timetable and she may already have learnt what happens in the weekly routine of things. At home we can often have no routine and schedule and then make spur of the moment decisions about what we are going to do. That will be hard to deal with for a child on the spectrum. So it might be better to get a daily timetable sorted out and to talk her through it and to also have it up in visual form.

I would also push to get an assessment from a multi disciplinary team of professionals who are experienced in diagnosing autistic spectrum disorders. Whether that is through the consultant you have already seen or your GP I don't know. Maybe get in touch with the consultant first and see what they say.

The food issues might also be down to sensory stuff ie. the smell, taste and texture of food. But you need some help with that so you need to raise these difficulties as well.

If it is any consolation things do tend to get better as they get older. My son is now 8 and so much easier than when he was 3 and used to vomit whenever I made a change. He's all into trying change at the moment and how it is good to try different things. I can't believe he is actually saying these things. That doesn't mean he no longer has melt downs. But the more information, notice and explanation he is given the better he deals with it.

My son used to demand sameness alot. So I started talking about everything as it was happening and saying how it was the same or how it was different. So with the milk you can talk about where milk comes from and how milk can be really cold, or warm or hot and how it can be flavoured with stawberry flavour or chocolate flavour etc and how it can be put in a cup or a mug or on cereal etc. That might help her gradually expand her expectations and demands. If she is really sticking with some rigid behaviours then I would note them and mention them to the consultant when you see them. Sometimes you do have to wait for them to grow up a bit before they can tolerate certain changes. So if something doesn't work leave it for a couple of months and then try it again.

Regarding baths. I used to fight to get him in the bath, then fight to get him out. Many children with ASDs can have difficulties with 'transition'. This is a change from doing one thing to another, or moving from one environment to another. Again lots of warning and visuals can help. I also found that counting him in or out helped enormously. So if I wanted him to get into the bath and he was refusing I would do a slow count of 1 - 2 - 3. And he would comply and get in. I would do the same with getting out. I would forewarn him, then tell him it was time to get out, and then slowly count him out with the 1 - 2 - 3 again.

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sheuk   

Hi Karen, I think if I was you I'd phone the consultant on monday and see if you can get back in contact with your health visitor, also have a word with the nursery to phone the consultant they seem to take more notice of teachers than us mere parents--basically talk to everyone who'll stand still long enough to listen, it'll help you to talk about things---good luck

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baddad   

hi there - welcome to the forum.

 

Sorry, but i disagree with the other posts. Model child at nursery could be an indication that she's 'holding it together' but could equally be an indication that she doesn't think she'll get away with it there. I know it's not popular, but i really don't buy in to this 'holding it together and then giving parent's hell' preconception about autism, and it usually goes hand in glove with the idea that they can't help their behaviours/have no control over them in other situations (like home) which is completely self-contradictory: If they 'can't contain it' outside of nursery then there is absolutely no logic to provide that they can contain it within nursery, however convenient and reassuring that might be.

The adult version of that is autistic teens who physically abuse their parents/siblings and parents who accept that as their lot despite all indications that outside of the home their child is capable of controlling those impulses, and that in turn is exactly the situation that partners in abusive relationships find themselves in (he/she is always really sorry afterwards)...

I'm not saying you shouldn't cut children some slack at home; but there's a big difference between 'slack' and 'free pass'...

At the moment you describe a situation where your 3 year old daughter absolutely dictates how the house will run. That's a setup that every three year old will fight to obtain (terrible twos - awareness of self and ability of self to impact on and control environment), and having set a precedent one that they will fight tooth and claw to maintain. Every time you 'give in to her demands' because that is the 'only way to calm her' you totally reinforce the conviction that she can control her environment.

Whether autism is or isn't a factor in this is irrelevent: first and foremost your daughter needs to know that YOU are in control - not her. The only difference that autism may make is that the lesson might be harder for her to learn and/or that her determination not to allow the necessary changes to take place may be more deeply ingrained. The answer is not to relax boundaries, but to reinforce them even more rigidly so that no 'greys' exist to confuse her.

Sally 44 mentions '1,2,3, Magic' but confuses a straightforward black and white request/consequence behavioural management programme with 'difficulties with transition'. It's not difficulty with transitions at all - it's the simple fact that the child has learnt that once three has been reached the consequence is non-negotiable. All the greys have been taken out of the equation. One of the underpinning concepts of '1,2,3 magic' is do not try to reason with children. Asking a child to apply reason and logic is pointless - they do not have the capacity for it (a fact reflected in our legal system which differentiates on that basis).

IMO the first step you need to make is to stop trying to 'avoid meltdowns' by giving in to her demands. Let her have meltdowns, deal with them, and make sure that there are consequences to them. Don't give her crisps - don't even have them in the house. Make a point of not buying them so she hasn't got that option. Don't be afraid of letting her go hungry: at a top eating disorders clinic in Switzerland shown on TV recently (so any claims about 'top' are nowt to do with me) they are quite happy to let kids go without food for three days or so as long as they are taking fluids (not milk - which is considered a 'solid' for kids much older than three).

 

All of the daily timetables and stuff is good stuff, but it's only part of it: a timetable that is not reinforced is at best a piece of paper on the wall, but at worst represents proof of the child's ability to take control...

Have you ever noticed how quickly kids learn what they want to learn but how long it can take them to learn what we want them to learn? The first is an indicator of just how much they are 'driven' by the desire to control their environment (basic human psychology) and the latter is an indicator of just how persistant they can be in pursuing that control.

 

Your daughter is three. She is not able to make informed decisions about what she should eat; what she should wear; how often she should bath etc, but at the moment she is being allowed to make them. You need to be making them for her. Flexibility can come later, when she's demonstrated that she can compromise too.

 

Hope that's helpful, even if it's not what you wanted to hear :unsure:

 

L&P

 

BD

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bid   
Model child at nursery could be an indication that she's 'holding it together' but could equally be an indication that she doesn't think she'll get away with it there. I know it's not popular, but i really don't buy in to this 'holding it together and then giving parent's hell' preconception about autism, and it usually goes hand in glove with the idea that they can't help their behaviours/have no control over them in other situations (like home) which is completely self-contradictory: If they 'can't contain it' outside of nursery then there is absolutely no logic to provide that they can contain it within nursery, however convenient and reassuring that might be.

 

I used to keep photocopies of the page in Tony Attwood's book where he describes the 'Jekyll and Hyde' phenomenon of children who are passive in school to give to teachers who had this very same opinion.

 

Bid :)

Edited by bid

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baddad   
I used to keep photocopies of the page in Tony Attwood's book where he describes the 'Jekyll and Hyde' phenomenon of children who are passive in school to give to teachers who had this very same opinion.

 

Bid :)

 

Yes, even Tony Attwood gets this wrong! But then he would sell far fewer books if he didn't tell parents what they wanted to hear :devil::lol:

Seriously, I think this is one of those things that can apply to some autistic children that is taken as a 'universal' explanation for behaviours that can appear for very different reasons.

In this case the child being discussed is a three year old, and the controlling behaviours being described are completely consistant with normal developmental 'milestones' for children that age. A three year old that can adapt behaviour to environment in the way being described would actually indicate precoscious social awareness/understanding/control rather than any sort of developmental delay in this area.

 

L&P

 

BD :D

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bid   
Yes, even Tony Attwood gets this wrong! But then he would sell far fewer books if he didn't tell parents what they wanted to hear :devil::lol:

 

Goodness!

 

Well, I'm just glad you weren't on the forum when I joined, 'cos I'm sure you'd have told me all my son's difficulties at school and his mental health problems were down to poor parenting! :lol::shame:

 

Bid :)

Edited by bid

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bid   

Jester here!! :jester: (can't seem to access my account these days...)

 

I have come across this a lot over the years ... guys who are 'model' pupils but parents describe them as nightmares at home. We even get them from time to time starting their meltdowns as they get on the transport home!

 

Obviously, with complex learning difficulties, there can be many complex reasons for a set of behaviours, and we do have parents who do not handle their childrens' behaviours ideally. However, talking to the students themselves in calmer times I am in no doubt that there are at least three perfectly logical reasons why a child can hold it together at school but lose it at home.

 

A 'systematising' outlook can provide a divergence ... school simply is not where they behave like that!

A desperate wish for friends can put the brakes on an outburst if it is perceived to make them unpopular.

A fear of rejection from respected adults (rather than loving parents who will forgive).

 

In fact our cases of parental inability to handle these complex problems is usually the opposite....the kids come off the buses in the morning ready to kick off because of the treatment they have received during the family breakfast.

 

Jester (gone but not forgotten...or is that forgotten but not quite gone??!)

 

 

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pearl   

All I can say bd, is that I said "could" in my original post. "Could" be what you said too.

 

JP was like this, & I can categorically say we weren't soft with him at home (far too selfish for that!) Having successfully parented our older NT child we knew we'd be making a rod for our own backs if we were. I do believe in his case that he was making such huge efforts to fit in the outside world that we did indeed get the downside at home. Interestingly enough, when he was no trouble at home I could almost guarantee there would be complaints about his behaviour at school.

 

What can I say? He's 19 now, holding down a full time job & is a pleasure to be around, so I guess we did something right.

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Thankyou for all of your replies.

I have been in a quandry all weekend and I suppose it's through fear of being told it's something we are doing wrong? and not being listened too.

Reading back on my post I know I look like a mum that just control her 3 yr old child but it's more than that.

Deep down though, I know there's something not right. I know that no 2 children are alike but when I compare my 12 year old to when she was the same age as Katie the contrast is huge.

It's so hard to ignore a meldown. I remove Katie from the situation and put her in her room. It then gets trashed, she KICKS the stairgate off the wall and screams and even swears in our faces. Is this normal timeout behaviour? She isn't able to calm herself down. Situations like this can go on for hours at a time. She screams her head off. I have no idea where the energy or the rage comes from. On one occasion she split my daughters lip when she deliberately kicked her in a rage. Incidents like this can be triggered off by anything sudden like dinner being dished up without prior indication, going out on the spur of the moment, wanting her to get ready foor school or doing things out of the norm without telling her 2 or 3 times what we will be doing.

Katie doesn't have any friends at school. She wont even look any of them in the eyes. She doesn't play with anyone and her social skills are terrible.

when we saw the consultant in Dec she compiled a long report about the assesment and concluded that the possibility that Katie may be on the spectrum should not be ruled out.

 

I know it sounds terrible, but she feels like a stranger to me. I find it incredibly hard to love her the way that I should and I'm struggling.

The thing that I hang on to is how I felt when she was born, the very first time I saw her and the rush of love that I felt for her then. I'm holding onto that and it helps to get me through the bad days.

Does that make sense?

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baddad   
Goodness!

 

Well, I'm just glad you weren't on the forum when I joined, 'cos I'm sure you'd have told me all my son's difficulties at school and his mental health problems were down to poor parenting! :lol::shame:

 

Bid :)

 

Not at all - I always reply taking the posted information into consideration. I just don't automatically assume things on the basis of dx - that's the dangerous thing, IMO.

I know you've always been a very firm advocate for concrete rules and boundaries yourself and have posted many times expressing that opinion, and for the need to avoid 'greys'. I don't think any child at three is capable of the complex social 'control' being suggested by Tony Attwood's theory... for most kids elements of control will start to appear at about 6 or 7 and they will build on those skills right through childhood and adolescence and late teens if they are in an environment which nurtures that sort of social expectation, emerging as (mostly) 'sensible' adults in, erm... adulthood. Obviously autism can have an impact on learning those social skills, which is why the concrete rules and boundaries of early childhood are so much more important.

All of the stuff Jester mentions could apply to an older child (who has developed the social understanding to differentiate environments in the ways suggested), but even here it should not be taken as a 'given'. And he does overlook the far simpler possibility that the children don't behave that way in school because there are consequences to behaving that way in school, while behaving that way at home is indirectly rewarded and reinforced.

Kids do manipulate their environment and do manipulate their parents, and that can apply equally to autistic kids as much as non-autistic kids... 'Supernanny', Freaky Eaters, Boot Camp Teens, It Never Hurt Me etc all show adolescents/young adults behaving in ways that - if they had autism - would all be explained away as part of their condition. On the one occassion (to my knowledge) that an autistic shild appeared on such a programme (super nanny, I think), the end result was that behaviours that had been assumed to arise from autism did improve in exactly tha same ways that improvements were seen in non-autistic children. That's also been my experience (after years of similar behaviours) and your own.

TBH I get slightly tired of these suggestions that I blame parenting for everything and deny that autism is without any behavioural complications. i don't do that, but neither do i accept that every piece of negative behaviour that an autistic child demonstrates arises as a direct consequence of autism and that traditional responses to those behaviours will not work because the behaviours are not triggered by traditional impulses. That's not popular, I know, but it's every bit as valid as the other views being expressed, and in my experience are far more honest assessment of the realities than the ones that do blame everything on autism.

Hope that clarifies my views, and I would reassure the OP that I am making no assumptions about them/their child specifically, just responding to the post made by bid. From the content of the OP, though, I do get the impression that this three year old is dictating the rules rather than complying with them.

 

L&P

 

BD :D

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bid   
TBH I get slightly tired of these suggestions that I blame parenting for everything and deny that autism is without any behavioural complications.

 

I'm sure that's not your intention...but TBH if you feel people keep suggesting this, maybe that's how your opinions come across? :)

 

And, going back to your original criticism of the idea that autistic children can be passive at school, you made it a general criticism, not specifically age-related.

 

Bid :)

Edited by bid

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Cat   
*Katie gets up and her 1st melt down of the day will be over how much milk is in her cup and how hot it is. (it's gotta be spot on!)

* Breakfast, Katie wont eat anything you offer her and then constantly says 'I'm hungry'. To avoid another melt down crisps is our only option.

* Bath time. Katie wont bath unless you drag her there. She go's mental if you wash her hair! Then she wont get out. When she does, she wont get dressed everything 'doesn't feel right' or 'Hurts' socks and pants are the worse. But she will wear them if they're inside out? This is a mega battle of wills and very stressfull for everyone.

* Lunch. again a no go.

* Getting her ready for nursery? well, that's at breaking point.

* Katie must be told everything in advance and with plenty of warning. If you spring anything on her she flips.

* At nursery apparently she's a model pupil???

* Dinner times. Katie wont eat anything other then chips, noodles, garlic bread or yorkshire puddings. If there is something other than that on her plate she flips out. I can't get her to eat anything.

At home she'll have a melt down over the tiniest of things. They can last for hours and she kicks, and is very agressive. It's like she's possesed, you can see the rage in her eyes and there's just no getting through.

You can't reason with her and the only way to calm her is to give in to her demands.

 

This was pretty much the same check list that I could of posted when my youngest son was 3 years old. I do buy into they can hold it all together while they are at school theory because both of mine did. I have two sons with autism and both presented very differently but both held it together in school, to the point that the eldest of the two had a total breakdown aged 11 which I firmly believe was a result of him being a model pupil for so many years. I am not a bad parent I had and continue to have very firm rules and boundries. Having supported many parents who have autistic children I have reached the conclusion that autistic children can and do hold it together outside of the home because other enviornments are alien to them and they cling onto any sense of sameness to enable them to cope. In the case of school although they appear to respond well to the structure and routine they often have no understanding as to why they have to do so and as a result can flip when they leave that setting and return home. I also believe that many autistic children will go with the script they expect and is expected of them in schools until they reach an age when they finally realise that they do not have to and that they can kick off at school. Year five appears to be a turning point in school life for quite a few autistic children.

 

 

Nothing prepared me for the way my yougest could kick off over nothing at all. Drinks were a nightmare. I could never be certain what he expected to see in his cup and if the level of liquid was not just right a tantrum would result. We had this to over the level of bath water in the bath if it was not quite right we could be there for hours with a 3 year old screaming at us 'It's not right!' while refusing to go to bed until he had a bath that he hated. He was rigid and inflexible and has multi-sensory issues which added up to one wild and troubled little boy. On the plus side he is now 12 years old and a truly lovely little lad who you would never believe has so many issues and tantrums when he was younger. We lived through it and came out of the other side older wiser and with a child who is now for the most part happy.

 

We can all tell you how it was for us and what we will and will not buy into but you know your daughter best and if you have concerns then go with your gut instinct and act on them.

 

Cat

Edited by Cat

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bid   
Thankyou for all of your replies.

I have been in a quandry all weekend and I suppose it's through fear of being told it's something we are doing wrong? and not being listened too.

Reading back on my post I know I look like a mum that just control her 3 yr old child but it's more than that.

Deep down though, I know there's something not right. I know that no 2 children are alike but when I compare my 12 year old to when she was the same age as Katie the contrast is huge.

It's so hard to ignore a meldown. I remove Katie from the situation and put her in her room. It then gets trashed, she KICKS the stairgate off the wall and screams and even swears in our faces. Is this normal timeout behaviour? She isn't able to calm herself down. Situations like this can go on for hours at a time. She screams her head off. I have no idea where the energy or the rage comes from. On one occasion she split my daughters lip when she deliberately kicked her in a rage. Incidents like this can be triggered off by anything sudden like dinner being dished up without prior indication, going out on the spur of the moment, wanting her to get ready foor school or doing things out of the norm without telling her 2 or 3 times what we will be doing.

Katie doesn't have any friends at school. She wont even look any of them in the eyes. She doesn't play with anyone and her social skills are terrible.

when we saw the consultant in Dec she compiled a long report about the assesment and concluded that the possibility that Katie may be on the spectrum should not be ruled out.

 

I know it sounds terrible, but she feels like a stranger to me. I find it incredibly hard to love her the way that I should and I'm struggling.

The thing that I hang on to is how I felt when she was born, the very first time I saw her and the rush of love that I felt for her then. I'm holding onto that and it helps to get me through the bad days.

Does that make sense?

 

I'm sure very many of us can identify with your feelings >:D<<'>

 

I would phone your consultant's secretary and ask for the follow-up appointment.

 

Bid :)

Edited by bid

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Hi, I have a teenage son who displays unwanted behaviour in school and at home-the difference is the way it is handled. At school (mainstream) he gets sent to different places (other classes, internal exclusion, study support or home) very confusing and makes the meltdowns last for ages at home he can be left to calm down and then go through what happened and I also can put firmer boundaries in place (being sent home isn't a punishment, taking his laptop off him is). So school reinforce the unwanted behaviour by sending him home. I take something he likes to do, even if I understand why he displays the behaviour he needs to learn other ways to deal with things-YES.... VERY HARD, but as long as there is the right support in place he has to learn.

 

I also work within early years and with children with ASD and they display different behaviour in the setting to home due to different things such as different boundaries, visual aids and expectations. At work we have a good routine and use lots of visual reinforcers and this supports all children. Don't get me wrong most of the children with ASD we have had -have also displayed unwanted behaviour at some point but the support helps.

 

What i'm trying to say is behaviour is a result to something else, so if there is routine, visual supports, boundaries, expectations etc then it may (and may is the word to use) help to support the child and lesson unwanted behaviour or the need to be in control.

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Hi Hertsmummy,

 

First, have some of these >:D<<'> >:D<<'> >:D<<'> >:D<<'> >:D<<'>

 

I totally sympathise with you. I have experience of 2 ASD children trying to keep a lid on it at school and then releasing it all at home. It is real and it does happen. My 3rd non-ASD son has his moments - sometimes those moments are more extreme than the autistic 'meltdowns'! - but his behaviour is totally different to his brothers - and for different reasons.

 

Sadly it can be very difficult to explain to people who reply 'oh all children do that'. I have encountered very many over the years but have found a rare few who have actually understood autism and taken it on board, or who have at least been prepared to listen to me.

 

Even the NAS uses Tony Attwood's analogy of the Jeckyll/Hyde character, you can visit the website and download a leaflet 'Behaviour different in school than at home'.

 

I agree that if you are concerned, go back to the consultant, ask for another appt if necessary. Trust your instincts.

 

Good luck!!

Lizzie x >:D<<'> >:D<<'>

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bid   

Jester here again!! :jester:

 

I don't want to be on any particular side in 'right or wrong', 'valid/invalid' discussions. Most arguments have at least 2 sides, but I am anxious about the good behaviour at school vs bad behaviour at home one.

 

I run autism outreach training for education professionals and a frightning percentage of them hold this position. Their blindness is astonishing in that they want strategies to deal with behaviour (seldom learning, just classroom managment) that affects them. They manage to hold the dual position that autistic behaviour in their classroom is due to autism and can be the result of a home situation but not that behaviour at home can be the result of their teaching practise.

 

I am certainly more willing to overlook struggling parents' who are often trying to cope with minimal support than I am to let professionals off the hook who are being paid to cope and for whom increasing amounts of training are available.

 

It is clear that these education professionals and play leaders do a bit of pseudo-science reading on sites like this, or certain newspapers and use it to justify their own unwillingness to think creatively and as such, we must be wary of a 'balanced' argument here.

 

I have no doubt from my own experience that there are more undertrained/prejudiced/malicious teachers and TA's who are ignorantly/unconsciously or deliberately causing spectrum dudes stress that blows at home, than there are parents who are doing the reverse. For sure, those parents exist in notable numbers, but we must guard against giving inadequate educationalists a stick to beat us all with!

 

Jester

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baddad   
I'm sure that's not your intention...but TBH if you feel people keep suggesting this, maybe that's how your opinions come across? :)

 

 

Bid :)

 

Hmmm... maybe. Or possibly the power of suggestion? Dunno, but you certainly know me well enough to know my views on this stuff, and you have in the past been a very vocal advocate for the kind of responses I suggested (firm and concrete boundaries, sanctions and expectations etc) so I do find it kind of surprising/confusing when the suggestion actually arises from your posts rather than from the posts of people who don't know me so well/haven't previously agreed with me.

I'll say again: This behaviour from a three year old does not seem likely in my opinion to have arisen from the kind of social understanding that has been suggested, and seems far more likely to have arisen as a 'control' strategy of the type typically enacted by children of this age.

I'm more than happy to agree to differ - as always - but I really would prefer if people don't want to do that that they responded to the points I make rather than making suggestions that there is a 'hidden' meaning to them.

My original post in this thread was made because i felt there are far less complicated (and very normal/natural) reasons for why a three year old might enact controlling/manipulative behaviours than some of the others being suggested.

 

L&P

 

BD :D

 

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bid   
I know it's not popular, but i really don't buy in to this 'holding it together and then giving parent's hell' preconception about autism, and it usually goes hand in glove with the idea that they can't help their behaviours/have no control over them in other situations (like home) which is completely self-contradictory

 

BD, above is the quote I was responding to...a comment which would appear to be a generalised criticism of the idea that autistic children can present differently in different environments, rather than age-specific to the OP. So I feel I was responding very clearly to a point that you made, and certainly not making any suggestions that there were any 'hidden' meanings...on the contrary, I thought your meanings were very clear.

 

Yes, of course I am always very vocal in favour of clear, firm boundaries for our kids. But I'm rather unclear as to why you should find it surprising that I agree with a raft of professional (and personal) experience about the autistic child at school/home.

 

It would seem to me that if the professionals (not just T. Attwood) identify the autistic child who is passive at school, which is something that I and (it seems) a fair few other posters here have experienced, then it does rather raise the question: are we all wrong?

 

Bid :)

 

Anyway, back to the OP: I hope you can get your follow-up appointment organised very soon, and find the support you need.

Edited by bid

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baddad   
are we all wrong?

 

Bid :)

 

It's not a question of 'wrong' it's more an 'all of the people all of the time' kind of thing. If you had originally posted the quote above i would have seen what you were getting at, and would agree that looked at out of context it does seem heavy handed. However - that's not what you originally quoted: the section above was preceeded by:

 

Model child at nursery could be an indication that she's 'holding it together' but could equally be an indication that she doesn't think she'll get away with it there.

 

(I've emboldened part of it for emphasis)

 

and followed by:

 

If they 'can't contain it' outside of nursery then there is absolutely no logic to provide that they can contain it within nursery, however convenient and reassuring that might be.

 

I've emphasised the nursery part, but also think this is relevant to older children (and adults) too depending on their general level of social skill development.

Again, you have commented on this yourself in many posts in the past and been quite vocal that autism should not be a 'get out of jail free' card etc etc...

And yes, I DO find it surprising when you suggest I'm blaming parents -as you have quite plainly done here:

 

Goodness!

 

Well, I'm just glad you weren't on the forum when I joined, 'cos I'm sure you'd have told me all my son's difficulties at school and his mental health problems were down to poor parenting!

 

and on several other occassions in recent weeks - when we have discussed these and other aspects of autism at considerable length in the past.

Do I think all autism's negatives arise from bad parenting? NO. Do I think all parents of autistic children automatically get it 100% right because they 'know their own kids' or because 'special children are given to special people'. Likewise, NO.

I have no doubts whatsoever that autistic people can present differently in different situations, but equally have no doubts that non-autistic people can also present differently in different situations. I also have no doubts that this can be for a variety of reasons, and that the presence (or non presence) of autism can be completely irrelevant to that.

As I say - not a question of 'are we all wrong', but two equally valid considerations: 'are we always right', and 'is this the only explanation'?

 

L&P

 

BD :D

 

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bid   
It's not a question of 'wrong' it's more an 'all of the people all of the time' kind of thing. If you had originally posted the quote above i would have seen what you were getting at, and would agree that looked at out of context it does seem heavy handed.

 

If you look back you will see that I did use that quote in my original post.

 

Bid :)

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Kathryn   

This is an interesting discussion but it's in danger of developing into a personal argument and straying from the original topic. The opening poster is new and asking for support in a difficult situation - please bear that in mind.

 

Taking mod hat off now :) :

 

Hertsmummy, obviously none of us on the forum can analyse your child's behaviour and there could be several reasons for it. But as someone else said, go with your gut feeling. If you have concerns about ASD they should be explored. I think it would be a good idea to chase up the consultant and find out what's happening with the review. Seeing your GP is a good idea as well, perhaps they can bring some pressure to bear. As many people on the forum have found, when dealing with professionals sometimes you have to nag and nag and make a nuisance of yourself in order to make things happen.

 

You say that you have two other children, one younger than Katie and another one on the way: I think that would be a challenging situation for any parent to cope with even in "normal" circumstances. Don't be too hard on yourself and grab all the support you can.

 

Welcome, by the way! :)

 

 

(and Jester, good to see you popping in, despite hijacking your OH's account :shame::) )

 

K x

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Goody   

BTW, do we fully trust advice that we get on the net? I only collect many variety of informations on the net and I refer those informations and apply to the real life and situation. The only thing that we should avoid when we advice to others is that psychological approach. In other words, mind-control-like, I think.

 

The important thing is to have the knowledge of making the right decision communicating here and other websites.

Well.. this is my understanding and what I've been doing.

 

 

Goody,

:)

 

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Goody   

BTW, do we fully trust advice that we get on the net? I only collect many variety of informations on the net and I refer those informations and apply to the real life and situation. The only thing that we should avoid when we advice to others is that psychological approach. In other words, mind-control-like, I think.

 

The important thing is to have the knowledge of making the right decision communicating here and other websites.

Well.. this is my understanding and what I've been doing.

 

 

Goody,

:)

 

 

Face to face communication /voice to voice/ Letters are priority other than is unknown world and less important.

 

 

Goody, ;)

Edited by Goody

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Sally44   

I agree that it is a good idea to be consistent with all our children.

However inconsistencies and variations are are of the diagnosis aren't they. Well that is how it was explained to me anyway. For example a child with autism can frequently learn things and then lose that learnt 'thing' and have to learn it again. Therefore 'expecting' a child to always perform or respond the same maybe inappropriate.

And as most, if not all, those on the spectrum have sensory differences, part of that means that their reception and perception of sensory information varies greatly from day to day and throughout the day. So again their response to the same stimuli can and will be inconsistent.

And it is also well documented that autistic children maybe able to perform a certain task in a certain environment with a certain prompt, but be unable to perform that same task if in a different environment, or with a different person or with a different prompt. And this consistency is attributed to their learning styles and how they do not recognise the task as being the same if one small part of it is different.

My son is also very adamant that things to do with school should be done in school and not brought home because home is not school.

I do agree that we should push the boundaries. But it is an easy option for any professional to blame the parents - or more typically the mother. There are many parents saying the same thing and professionals (in my experience) also agree that there can a huge difference in behaviour from home to school.

The only example I have with my own son is how he tells me that he hates school and it is hard and it makes him feel sick etc. School say he never complains in school and that he is happy. However he has recently been sent home at least once every week for quite a while now. So something is making him sick in school. And as he has severe language difficulties along with the autism he frequently does not tell people how he feels because he cannot do that anyway. And if he does tell someone at school they tend not to listen anyway. But if he is not ill, and he is not making himself sick, then it can only be down to something like anxiety, stress or migraines that are causing the sickness. Which would point to him telling me the truth when he tells me how bad he feels in school.

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Sally44   
Thankyou for all of your replies.

I have been in a quandry all weekend and I suppose it's through fear of being told it's something we are doing wrong? and not being listened too.

Reading back on my post I know I look like a mum that just control her 3 yr old child but it's more than that.

Deep down though, I know there's something not right. I know that no 2 children are alike but when I compare my 12 year old to when she was the same age as Katie the contrast is huge.

It's so hard to ignore a meldown. I remove Katie from the situation and put her in her room. It then gets trashed, she KICKS the stairgate off the wall and screams and even swears in our faces. Is this normal timeout behaviour? She isn't able to calm herself down. Situations like this can go on for hours at a time. She screams her head off. I have no idea where the energy or the rage comes from. On one occasion she split my daughters lip when she deliberately kicked her in a rage. Incidents like this can be triggered off by anything sudden like dinner being dished up without prior indication, going out on the spur of the moment, wanting her to get ready foor school or doing things out of the norm without telling her 2 or 3 times what we will be doing.

Katie doesn't have any friends at school. She wont even look any of them in the eyes. She doesn't play with anyone and her social skills are terrible.

when we saw the consultant in Dec she compiled a long report about the assesment and concluded that the possibility that Katie may be on the spectrum should not be ruled out.

 

 

I know it sounds terrible, but she feels like a stranger to me. I find it incredibly hard to love her the way that I should and I'm struggling.

The thing that I hang on to is how I felt when she was born, the very first time I saw her and the rush of love that I felt for her then. I'm holding onto that and it helps to get me through the bad days.

Does that make sense?

 

 

 

I did have times when I felt like that about my own son. If your gut feeling is that she is responding inappropriately then that is what it probably is and not your parenting skills. So if that is suggested just be strong enough and say that you don't agree and that you do have experience of raising other children. You have mentioned alot of her difficulties are around sameness and rigid thinking and transitions. Is it possible to keep things the same in areas where it really does not make any difference. Eg. if she has a preference for a certain cup, or a certain bedsheet or going somewhere a certain route then keep to that. It is hard to feel that you are constantly meeting a child head on who, for whatever reason, is finding is very distressing to do things differently. That may sound like a cop out. But you need more information yourself from your own research and professionals and definately need a multi disciplinary team assessment of your child.

For a while (a couple of years), I did have to do things in a certain way because my son could not cope with any alternative. And their was no point pushing it at that stage because it just meant meltdowns that could have repercussions for the whole day and on the whole family. And TBH it is exhausting. I have even spent a night in hospital because my son reacted so violently to something I took off him that he was violently head banging and then was sick - so NHS direct told me to take him to A&E where we had to stay overnight.

That did lead to my son being allowed to occupy himself rather than me trying to organise things for him. But you can always 'join in' with what they are doing and I found that worked best.

I never turned the TV off halfway through a programme and I had to organise myself around 'windows of opportunity' to actually get him out the house. That may seem like bad parenting, but I guarantee you it wasn't.

My son is now 8 and is so much better. So hold onto the fact that things will get better because she will grow up and she will learn new skills, and you will get a better understanding of how she ticks and professionals will give you some help and advice on that.

If she needs lots of warnings beforehand then stick to that. And you have to pitch it at the level she can cope with. So one child might just need a verbal warning, whilst another might need frequent verbal and visual warnings and a count down clock to show when the next thing is going to happen.

Before his diagnosis my parents did question whether I was disciplining him enough. But over time they can see that it isn't being naughty. All the things that they have attempted to do have not worked. All of the autistic specific approaches have worked. They now understand and respect what I have had to deal with and what I have achieved so far.

And it is worth saying that during a meltdown (if that is what is happening), they are out of control and will say and do things. There is evidence that their brains are different and that the frontal lobes which control emotion and inhibit behaviour are affected. That isn't an excuse. And it doesn't mean that the behaviour she is demonstrating now will remain. But I just wanted to say not to take it personally. My son has said all kinds of things to me and has been really mortified and upset and angry with himself afterwards about what he has said.

It would have been really useful to have been given a 'manual' at birth about how to proceed. But unfortunately that doesn't happen. Don't be hard on yourself. GO and push for assessments.

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baddad   
If you look back you will see that I did use that quote in my original post.

 

Bid :)

 

I did - actually highlighting that the second version had been edited:

 

However - that's not what you originally quoted

 

I'll not apologise for expressing an alternative view to what is obviously popular opinion by suggesting that three year old's might test boundaries, and that behaviours that occur in one place but not others might arise because the consequences might be different in each location. If it's all the same, though, I will defend myself from the accusation that I 'blame parents for everything', which several other members now seem to have interpreted from the cherry-picked quote from my original post.

I've looked back at my original post, and absolutely nowhere does it deny the possibility of autism, or target 'bad parenting'. What it does do is refer to the OP's own indications that when the 'child goes into meltdown' she gets her own way, and that these behaviours are not universal (i.e. they occur at home but not in nursery school). I've also questioned the suggestion put forward by others about 'stress/anxiety' from holding it together at nursery as the root cause of problems at home because that is inconsistent with everything I've ever learnt about the social functioning of three year olds - autistic or otherwise.

When offering suggestions on strategies I've quite clearly acknowledged that autism can complicate things:

 

The only difference that autism may make is that the lesson might be harder for her to learn and/or that her determination not to allow the necessary changes to take place may be more deeply ingrained. The answer is not to relax boundaries, but to reinforce them even more rigidly so that no 'greys' exist to confuse her.

[NB: please note that the 'only' above refers to the specific point of a child learning the appropriate dynamics of the parent /child relationship - it was not a general suggestion that this would be the only effect of autism on functioning. We don't want another misunderstanding cropping up now, do we!?]

 

Oh - and just in case this has been misinterpreted too I wasn't suggesting in any way that the OP shouldn't seek professional input or help.

 

L&P

 

BD :D

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Flora   

Interesting exchange of views :lol:

 

Can only add my own experience. Bill as a 3 year old was a nighmare in nursery. He didn't care what his peers thought of him so was quite happy to have tantrums and reactions to things not being the way he wanted them. He had none of the usual social pressures of being embarrassed about crying or kicking off in front of the other kids.... right up until the age of about 11!!!! It wasn't until he got older that he managed to keep his reactions in check until he got home and yes, that's when the real problems started. It was his lack of care of peer opinions and sanctions at school that actually drew attention to his problems in the first place and got his teacher to instigate the road to diagnosis. He was a lively handful at home but never really badly behaved.

 

I'm not saying that the OP's child doesn't have issues... it certainly sounds as if she is causing problems for all around her so there's certainly something going on. Whether that 'something' is autism or not is not for us to judge or decide, only time and professional assessments will determine that.

 

I hope the difference of opinion ( and the misunderstandings ) in the thread doesn't deter the OP from continuing to seek help and to find answers. However, it's very difficult at first to seperate the issues of HFA/AS from the usual toddler behaviours. Possibly why many high functioning/AS kids aren't diagnosed at pre-school age, compared to those with more severe autism who tend to get in the diagnosis system a lot quicker due to missed mile stones that high functioning kids tend to meet (speech and language being one that springs to mind).

 

However, that being said, I think all of us with kids who weren't diagnosed pre-school will agree that we had very big worries and anxieties about certain aspects of our child's development; the problem lies in that in DESCRIBING those problems they do come accross as sounding similar to many of the negative toddler behaviours and until a child misses certain expected levels of maturity it's a very difficult thing to diagnose. I spent years with Bill hoping he would eventually mature and grow out of it... I still do!! :lol:

 

Flo' :D

 

 

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Thankyou to everyone for your posts. I apologies if I may have sparked off a bit of contraversy?

 

I know that some of you have mixed views, and I know how it all sounds But I'm going to go with my instinct. I am a good mum and something is not right.

It's been 3 hours of hell here this morning she's been flippin out over everything no matter how insignificant it may seem to us it's totally huge to her.She is is currently sitting completely naked as 'Nothing feels right' everything gets ripped off . I've got no idea how i'm going to get her nursery this afternoon. I just can't take it anymore. I'm sick of it and I'm sick of her.

 

I called the consultants secretary this morning and explained we have been waiting 3 moths for a follow up appointment. I was told that she's not working today and there is a backlog for follow ups. I have told her there's been a drastic change in K's behaviour and we need to see someone A.S.A.P so am now waiting for a phone call tommorrow.

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I don't know if it makes any difference but Katie is actually going to be four next month. So she's along way off the displaying the classical terrible two's and she's not a toddler.

When K is tantruming she absolutely hates it when people look at her. She will shout at you 'Don't look at me'. If she was doing it to control and seek attention I could understand but she hates being looked at. I think this may possibly be why she wont flip at school. When she's there she will go bright red if approached and you can see that she's embarresed and feels pressured just to say hello so why would she want to cause a seen if she knows everyone will look at her?

 

Just thinking aloud as to why the contrast between home and school.

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Cat   
I don't know if it makes any difference but Katie is actually going to be four next month. So she's along way off the displaying the classical terrible two's and she's not a toddler.

When K is tantruming she absolutely hates it when people look at her. She will shout at you 'Don't look at me'. If she was doing it to control and seek attention I could understand but she hates being looked at. I think this may possibly be why she wont flip at school. When she's there she will go bright red if approached and you can see that she's embarresed and feels pressured just to say hello so why would she want to cause a seen if she knows everyone will look at her?

 

Just thinking aloud as to why the contrast between home and school.

 

My youngest sons tantrums were at their worst between the ages of 4 and 5 and then they did begin to subside. My son still continues to hate anyone looking at him to this day, and like your daughter if they looked at him while he was having what we called a melt-down he would become much much worse. So no it was not that he wanted attention either. I well remember him screaming in his buggy 'Don't look at me - Don't look at me' as people passed by. If we are out anywhere and my son thinks that someone is looking at him we have to move. We were in a restuarant not so long ago and he was convinced that the people opposite were looking at him and we had to change tables.

 

Cat

Edited by Cat

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Mumble   

Hi hertsmummy,

 

I hope you haven't been put off by the exchange of opinions - I think there's actually a huge amount of useful information in here coming from different people's experiences and perspectives and hopefully it will allow you ways into thinking about your own situation and make it clearer what you need to discuss with your consultant.

 

I will admit that I haven't read through everything in this thread in detail but one thing I would suggest is that, if you haven't already, you start to list (in as fact based succinct way as possible) the different behaviours that are a concern: maybe keep a file on your computer that you can update as and when required.

 

One thing that has struck me with a few of the recent posts on this thread (and maybe behind the different ways people have looked at this? :unsure:) is that it's quite possible that several things are going on or happening for you and your daughter at the same time. It's unlikely that she's 'just' being autistic, or 'just' being a three year old or 'just' responding to your reaction or just this or just that. It's far more likely that, as we all are/do, she is displaying a complex interaction of everything that she is. The reason I brought this up was because of these quotes:

 

When K is tantruming she absolutely hates it when people look at her. She will shout at you 'Don't look at me'.

 

And it is worth saying that during a meltdown (if that is what is happening), they are out of control and will say and do things. There is evidence that their brains are different and that the frontal lobes which control emotion and inhibit behaviour are affected. That isn't an excuse. And it doesn't mean that the behaviour she is demonstrating now will remain. But I just wanted to say not to take it personally. My son has said all kinds of things to me and has been really mortified and upset and angry with himself afterwards about what he has said.

Sally is right about the lack of control - I have meltdowns occasionally and it is literally the case that it has to run its course and that no intervention is going to stop it nor am I aware of doing what I am doing. In your quote (where I think, rightly, you refer to tantrums rather than meltdowns) you talk about your daughter making demands ("don't look at me") which suggests some control and awareness of environment. Might it be useful to you to separate out what is meltdown and what is a tantrum and what leads to each putting you back in control?

 

everything no matter how insignificant it may seem to us it's totally huge to her

I can very much identify with this and it's something that's very difficult in talking to others because it does seem irrational but others' reactions that 'it doesn't matter' or 'you're just being silly' really don't help when I have to have something a certain way or something seems insurmountable when others say it's just a little thing.

 

I think the advice you have been given to seek professional support is the right way to go and I would read as much as you can about ASDs and look at implementing certain strategies. If she is ASD then you've got a head start, if she isn't it won't do her any harm and the routine and continuity would probably help any child.

 

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pearl   

No need to apologise hertsmummy >:D<<'> whatever the differing opinions robustly expressed here we all want to offer you support. One thing I meant to say in this whole arena of worrying verus "normal" pre-school behaviour - you are an experienced mum. I was an experienced mum when JP's behaviour started worrying me, & like you it was a gut feeling that something wasn't "right" compared to my older child. I felt a complete failure when told he was fine at pre-school & that I was an over-anxious mum.

 

He was eventually dx'd around 5, but in the meantime we were told that it would do no harm (and probably a lot of good) to put strategies in place both at home & at school as if he was autistic. In those days there were no parenting courses so we made it up as we went along, (and yes it did involve a lot of firm boundaries & no grey areas) but it might be worth finding out if the courses available to parents of newly-dx'd children are accessible pre-dx.

 

Hope you get that phone call tomorrow.

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nellie   

Welcome to the forum hertsmummy, huge hugs to you and yours >:D<<'> >:D<<'>

 

I agree, I think you should go with your instincts. Observe your daughter and document any difficulties and behaviours, good and bad. Use a dictaphone if you don't have time to write. It will not only be useful for professionals but it may help you to understand what is going on.

 

I can relate to your situation. My child displayed the Jekyll and Hyde behaviour from a very early age and still does at the age of 30. Having to ‘pretend’ has and still does have a huge effect on his physical, emotional and mental health. He still presents with this behaviour now he is living in a residential setting. If he does have to pretend for long periods he can become ill and end up in a catatonic state.

 

Unfortunately it can have an effect on parent/professional relationships. They may not understand and you end up wasting time and energy trying to convince them, when all you want is an explanation and some support.

 

The following information relates to the Jekyll and Hyde child, I hope this helps with finding the reasons for the contrast between home and school even if it is just to rule it out.

 

I started this topic some time ago, have a look, you will see you are not alone.

Although it talks about the passive child I don't believe it's only passive children who can display this behaviour.

 

Do you have a child who is passive or attempts to, Do you have a child who is passive or at

http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.ph...&hl=passive

 

There's also a forum poll on the subject.

http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=198

 

This has also been well documented by professionals experienced in autism/AS.

 

Meeting the Needs of Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders

By Professor Rita Jordan and Dr. Glenys Jones

 

When life at school and home is going well for the pupil, and parents and staff are receiving positive reports from each other, it is likely that parent-staff relationships will be easy to develop and maintain. However, both staff and parents need to prepare for times when the child's behaviour or performance might be viewed as a problem either at home or at school. Staff-parent relationships might then be more difficult. It is possible, for example, for each to blame the other for something they are doing or not doing with the pupil. It is important in these instances to gather information on the nature of the problem and on the factors which might be contributing to this at home and school. It can be easy to take the quick route and guess what the cause might be, without making adequate enquiries and getting clear, factual information from all involved. Engaging in speculation is not helpful and is likely to lead to the apportioning of blame and ineffective solutions. This is particularly true when the child's behaviour appears to be very different at home from his or her behaviour at school. Pupils may pose no major behaviour problems to staff and be very undemanding and well behaved in school. When they arrive home, however, they may engage in challenging behaviour towards their brothers, sisters or their parents. It seems as if the pupil manages to contain all the anxieties and difficulties experienced at school and releases these on returning home.

For some children, the reverse scenario is true, particularly when the child first starts attending school. The child may be relatively easy to manage at home, perhaps because the environment is fairly constant and familiar and there are few demands to be sociable or to engage in tasks which are not interesting to them. In school, they find themselves in what is to them a noisy, confusing, social environment where people attempt to communicate with them in ways which they often do not understand. In addition, they are encouraged to engage in tasks which may hold little interest or meaning for them. Their reaction is to try to sabotage the activity or to escape or to do nothing, all of which challenge the teaching staff. When parents and staff hear very different accounts about the same child, they may find it hard to believe or they can be quick to blame the other. It is important to acknowledge that very different behaviour at home and school is a phenomenon found in some children with ASD (as it can be in others).

 

 

Be aware of two characters

page 39 of Tony Attood's book – Asperger syndrome - A guide for Parents and Professionals.

 

The child may be very conscious of the necessity to follow the codes of conduct in the classroom and to try to be inconspicuous and behave like the other children. This pressure to conform and retain self control can lead to enormous emotional tension, which, like a compressed spring, is released when the child reaches home. Here the child is a different character, almost a Jekyll and Hyde. This is a feature of some children with Asperger syndrome and not necessarily an indication of the parents being unable to manage their child. It will help for the classroom teacher to have a range of relaxing or solitary activities for the child just before they return home. Parents may also consider a period of relaxation or energetic activities when the child comes home to dissolve their tension from a long day at school.

 

 

"Health Issues" books entitled "Autism" by Sarah Lennard-Brown chapter 5, page 53:

 

Encouraging communication

'We have several children with Asperger's(sic) syndrome at the school. As a rule, they are very law-abiding and little trouble. In fact it is very easy, I think, to underestimate how difficult they are finding school. Certainly some of the children we have do not display their anxiety at school. They appear to be coping most of the time, but can become very distressed when they get home. It took me a while to grasp this idea. If teachers are not seeing signs of distress at school, they can easily assume that tantrums at home are nothing to do with them. Now I realise that children with autistic spectrum disorders take a while to process what happens at school. They may not react to anxiety, which started at school, until many hours later. We now have a policy of encouraging parents to let us know about any anxieties that may be building up, so that we can nip the problem in the bud.'

(Malcolm, senior school headmaster)"

 

An article about a child's experience

I felt like my head was exploding.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2006/dec/12/schools.uk1

 

Hope you get some answers and support ASAP.

 

Nellie xx

 

 

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Sally44   

My son also did not like to be looked at.

He had problems in nursery because staff always accommpanied the children to the toilet. He would scream and kick and shout and vomit 'because they were looking at him'. He could not bear it. He wasn't seeking attention. He wasn't trying to control the situation either. The nursery were adamant that a member of staff had to accompany him. So I suggested they turned their backs and didn't look. He was okay immediately.

He also used to have problems if you laughted at something funny he did (he wasn't trying to be funny). Again he would demand we stopped laughing.

Much later on alot of these difficulties are boiled down to language issues and understanding social situations.

And over time I did manage to pinpoint what the trigger was.

Another one was that during breaktime because he did not interact with the other children and did not want to go outside, they used to hold his hand and walk around. He hated that because it hurt his hand and also made it sweaty and sticky. He had a thing about sticky fingers etc.

You might find it useful to look at sensory integration disorder as well. That can accompany an ASD but can also be a diagnosis on its own.

Would she respond to a timeout strategy? I also find that when my son is getting upset that talking to him or touching him actually makes him worse. He needs some time on his own to calm down (and usually for me to calm down too). Then you can talk about it afterwards. And until you have definate knowledge through assessments that her language skills are within the typical range, I would keep language short and simple, use the same words and give her extra time to respond to any language demands.

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Mum of 3   

Hi Karen, welcome to the forum, and congratulations! >:D<<'>

 

I was in the same situation as you (without the twelve year old!) two years ago, when I had my third. G was 3 years 9 months and BB was 16 months. G is the DS who I am having all the difficulties with, and is currently undergoing assessment.

 

G was incredibly jealous when BB was born, and was very aggressive towards him. So much so, that I put a lock on my bedroom door and lokcked BB in there whilst he was asleep because otherwise, G would go in there and jump on him, push him onto the floor, roll on top of him to crush him, etc...He was dreadful :o . He used to come up when I was feeding BB and grab hold of his head and 'snap' it back. I was sure he'd break his neck one day. I found it very difficult to give BB the care he needed and keep him safe from G. In the end, I arranged for G to go to the local pre-school for 3.5 days a week (using the free place, subsidised by me) just to get some peace.

By the time T came along, I was ready for it! I bought a sling, and carried T with me everywhere, so G couldn't reach him unless I let him! :devil: Because I could still see to G's needs when T was in the sling, G accepted T much more easily, and actually says he loves T now :wub: , but he never 'loves' BB :( !

 

I'm thinking that, for you, your immediate and most pressing problem is how to create the calm and peaceful home environment you would like to bring your new baby into! I would definitely look into getting a good sling (pm me if you want more info...I don't sell them or anything, but have tried alot, and can advise!), so that when your dd sees you with the baby, you won't look much different to how you look now, with a bump. You will be 'hands free', so can still give her attention, play with her, etc, but you know baby is feeling you, smelling yoy and feeling your heartbeat as well. In addition, seeing to baby's needs is much quicker and easier when slinging, baby tends to be more contented and quiet...all good stuff with an ASD-type older child to deal with.

 

In addition, whatever the reason for your DD's tantrums, meltdowns, whatever, you need them to stop, or at least reduce for a while. Whether or not she has an ASD, you need her to calm down so you can relax a bit and the baby can settle in. I would suggest that now is not the time to tackle your DD head on. that is not to say you should give in to her, but if you can, 'don't sweat the small stuff'. Relax with her as much as possible, so if she wants to spend the morning naked, why not? If she doesn't want to wear clothes to nursery, you may still want her to put something on for modesty B) . Does she enjoy dressing up? Many's the time I've taken G to nursery in his Father Christmas outfit (yes, in June!!! :whistle: ), but at least it gets him there! I've had many,many battles over clothes, but found that when I genuinely (as in, not getting angry , exasterbated or throwing my hands in the air with a 'you've won!' expression!) gave up fighting and said 'OK, you choose...see you later,' and walked away from the argument, those battles got fewer and fewer. :thumbs:

 

There's something very liberating about saying 'yes' to your child, even when it seems that they are asking for crazy things (FC outfit in June?). For some time now, I've tried saying 'yes' as much as I can...so long as it's a request, not a demand, and it will do no harm, or go against 'house rules', and I find that he accepts 'no' much more easily as a result (or maybe because he's older, or I'm more sure of myself in dealing with him...).

So, for instance, he's going to school, running late, and he says 'I want a banana!'. Now, he's just had breakfast, and he isn't allowed to eat at school, so there are reasons NOT to have a banana, but if I say yes to that, he can find out for himself that there's a rule at school about it, and he will be so interested in the banana that he might forget to throw his usual strop when we walk (the 400yards!) to school instead of going in the car (which we've never done, but he screams for most days!). It's a case of finding the easiest route for YOU, at this point!

 

*However, if he'd refused his breakfast, no way would he get anything till lunch!*

Saying 'yes' is about weighing up the situation and making a judgement. So long as it's not reinforcing an unwanted behaviour (which allowing the banana after not eating breakfast would be), it can go a long way towards rebuilding the relationship between yourself and your child, and making your DD feel as though she has some say in what happens to her

 

I must stress, I'm NOT advocating you give in to her every demand, I'm suggesting you allow her to make SOME choices, so that she feels that she has some contral, and will accept you having some control as well!

 

I, personally, don't allow deviations from the norm at meal times. I might, at a pinch, allow a choice between two carefully chosen breakfast cereals for breakfast (bought brown cardboardy stuff or home made :devil: ), but generally the House Rule is you eat what's on the table or not at all. No snacks (apart from fruit, if I decide it's 'snack time'), and definately no child is allowed to access food by themselves, or to have a food that is not appropriate for the meal (like jelly for lunch, etc!). Yes, they might go hungry for a day, but they soon get the message if you stick to your guns. If there's an issue about a certain type of food being favoured over all others, I just take it off the menu until they get over themselves! (I'm really mean like that...I used to keep chocolate in the house until BB started demanding it for tea!).

 

One more thing I've found really helps with tantrums/meltdowns...I use a 'cold compress' of cold water and lavender oil on a flannel, which I press on his forehead when he's trying to calm down. I also make him drink water with a couple of drops of Rescue Remedy in it ( I have some too!). I sit quietly, and hold him/rock him while he calms down, and he comes round much quicker and more effectively than if he's left alone. This could work as an interim measure while baby is tiny. You can work on the 'challenge' later, when you're all more ready for it! >:D<<'>

 

I hope this helps, Karen...I'm thinking of you & looking forward to your Birth-Story post! >:D<<'> >:D<<'> >:D<<'> >:D<<'>

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