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could my daughter have aspergers?
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could my daughter have aspergers?

Hi, my daughter is 8 years old and i think she may have aspergers syndrome. have made an appointment with the gp to discuss this. she already sees the OT for dyspraxia. its so hard to explain how she is without rambling on. she really struggles socially, she makes friends easily enough but just doesnt know how to be around people so other kids pick on her alot :( people say that she is weird and annoying she gets really frantic over little things and has started having panic attacks, she scratches herself all the time and pulls her own hair and squeezes her face if she cant do something, she is oversensitive to touch and the feel of certain textures, she cant read other people and doesnt get jokes or sarcasm and takes everything you say literally...i could carry on with a list as long as my arm :( i am so so worried for her, and when i shared my worrys with a friend she admitted that she thinks my daughter has autistic traits???
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Hi there!

I am no Dr but I am a mother with a child with ADHD and ODD.  I know all too well the problems that can arise at school for especially a girl.  My daugther sounds very similar to your daughter in their struggles.

First off, kids are mean!  Just mean!  Remember that! So its not JUST YOUR DAUGHTER!  ok? Your daughter sounds like she is kind.  Other children have problems too, a big one is being mean! Being mean to others is a much worse characteristic to have than our daughters have.  ((hugs))

Secondly, there are so many labels out there I would tell you to not get caught up in a label or diagnosis as much as I would get caught up in getting her into a friendship.  Friendship is going to be so important to her.  Can you invite someone over ot your house where you can supervise?

At the same time, if she is having difficulties in her school work, than I would suggest getting her evaluated with a pscyhologist for a diagnosis so that the school district has to get an IEP started (Individual educational plan) where the school district/school will provide her with the help she needs to do better in school.  

Which also would include the other children being watched and notified if they are being mean.  The school will be required to set up a "safe zone" for her. That is a person(s) she can go to that will help her with her struggles at school with the other children and that person(s) would also work with her classmates to help them to all get along and treat each other with kindness.  No matter what.  Tolerance goes a long way if taught at a  young age.

These two things will definitely help to boost her confidence.  Along with always always telling her she is just fine and that nothing is wrong with her and you are going to help her to get the help she needs to understand and believe that.  Tell her always how beautiful and kind she is and how smart and sweet she is and how much you love her.  Hug her all the time and don't be afraid of loving her too much.  That is going to help the self harming.  Be sure to emphasize that she isn't or never has done anything wrong.  This is not wrong - it is perfectly and uniquely HER.  

I wouldn't instill too much discipline on her at this point.  She sounds like she needs sheduling and organization so she knows what to expect next.  
She needs more love than discipline.

There are medications out there and tools to use to help her feel better about herself and more confident in situations.  Please, just know that help is there and it is better to search it out sooner than later because it will only become harder for her.

One more thing - on a personal note about my daughter.  I got her into acting lessons.  Private ones because she was scared of being around others.  The teacher will come right to your house if you want.  Its not that expensive (ours is $29 1/2hr).   Let me tell you - that is the best thing for them, it will help with their self esteem and boy - that confidence will go through the roof.  So they won't be so hurt by others and it will also help them learn different emotions and facial expressions, voice tones etc so it will be easier for them to determine what is a joke and what is not etc.  

good luck - God bless you and your daughter

Jean
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Hi Jean,
Thank you so much for your reply. The school have been fantastic, they have already got an IEP for her so that she gets the help she needs, and her teacher has been amazing with the kids being mean side of it and is always there for my daughter and deals with each incident appropriately.
the acting lessons sound like a fab idea and i really think she would enjoy that, they did a class play on the tempest a few months back and she loved it. and yes she is a very kind little girl so full of love for anyone. it breaks my heart how mean children can be, my poor girl has had a few panic attacks at school over incidents that made her feel uncomfortable, and one of them bless her she was trying to defend another child and got turned on her self :( i worry so much for her and just wish i could make it all go away :(
Cher
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Hi Cher,

I am an Autism interventionist / Special Educator. I would suggest (irregardless if she has aspergers or not) to bring up your concerns relating to her social skills and request social skills training as a service on her IEP. Since Autism is the "hot new thing" there should be someone trained in the school to provide such a service, typically it is the speech and language pathologist or apecial educator if they do not have a designated professional. There is also ways to help desensitize children who have tactile (or even food) aversions. Schools will often have a school psychologist that can document these type of struggles if for some reason the IEP team needs more tangible proof. The earlier you can help teach your daughter different strategies on how to handle these anxiety-provoking social situations, how to recognize sarcasm, etc the better she will be.

"Aspergers" does not have to be the diagnosis on the IEP in order for her to receive services to help her in this area. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease so the more you advocate for early intervention the better off you both will be.

I have witnessed great success with peers being more accommodating, understand and less "mean" when parents (or the child themselves if they are old enough) are very open with their struggles or disabilities, offering information and answer questions that students may have. This is not always comfortable or possible depending in the child and the situation, but it takes away the unknown or 'weirdness' factor in the other students.

Regarding the scratching, hair pulling, and face squeezing I would teach her more appropriate behaviors to replace these ones. First you need to nail down the function of the behavior, then you can't just work on getting rid of them or you will get the tissue box effect, you get rid of one and another one is pops up in its place. This is something the IEP case manager (special educator) can help with also. Visual Schedules, predictability, and two minute warnings before transitions are always helpful with managing anxiety/panic attacks.

I hope my disorganized ramblings helped a little!

-Brittany
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