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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

12 Year old girl on the spectrum who thinks she is typical

Posted by on Aug. 6, 2013 at 9:40 AM
  • 10 Replies

Our 12 year old girlis on the autism spectrum, high-functioning. She has high verbal intelligence, very low social  intelligence. She has only recently been diagnosed (past 3 months). She has been in counseling but we are at a stalemate because her therapist has said that she refuses any kind of help/advice. She thinks that nothing is wrong with her and she doesn't need to work on anything. She is very inflexible in her thinking, very black and white (has always been like that). She thinks that her counselor is on the side of her parents (us) and doesn't listen to anything she has to say. We sat down with her and had a frank conversation with her about her being on the autism spectrum and the challenges that she faces. Her counselor wants her to come up with goals, even ONE goal for her to work on. She of course thinks that we are horrible and nothing is wrong with her. Again, we explained the challenges she has and how we can all help her. I guess my question to put out there is, how do you get your child to understand the challenges they have? And that you are there to help them? I could go on and on, but I would like to just hear thoughts. Thank you. So far, this has been an incredibly frustrating journey for me.

by on Aug. 6, 2013 at 9:40 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mypbandj
by Jen on Aug. 6, 2013 at 9:52 AM
2 moms liked this
She isn't going to work on anything until she is motivated and wants to. She must be very high functioning to have gotten by this long without a Dx and if she likes who she is, then what is wrong with that? If she were my child I would focus on celebrating her strengths and stop worrying about the things you are perceiving as deficits. They may be skills you wish her to have but she obviously doesn't agree. And that's ok.
I would let her go about her life and should an occasion arise where she is affected and expresses distress over it (like, "I wish I had more friends") then I'd take her to the therapist and let her get help on how to make more friends.
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smarieljlee
by Sara on Aug. 6, 2013 at 10:11 AM
1 mom liked this

Maybe try approaching it as if nothing is wrong with her. Because nothing is. To her how she feels and acts is her normal. She may not be ready to see the differences. So if she really does have something that is road blocking her maybe you and the therapist can come up with a goal. But keep it positive. Build her up

A_McCool
by Bronze Member on Aug. 6, 2013 at 12:18 PM
2 moms liked this

There is nothing wrong with her.  I think that is something incredibly important to remember.  Her brain is wired differently, and she perceives and experiences things in a way that is different from the typical person. There is nothing wrong with that. Approaching it as if there is something wrong with her will very likely not yield positive results. She is normal for her. Also, 3 months is really not a lot of time to adjust to diagnosis.  

Nothing about her changed with diagnosis and now suddenly everyone is trying to fix her.  I understand how she feels.  Had I been diagnosed at 12 (I was diagnosed at 27), I likely would have laughed at someone.  At 12, I was normal, and everyone else was completely nuts. I understood myself; it was everyone else that didn't make sense. This is because the only experiences we have are our own.  It is really hard for a child that young or younger to understand that the way she experiences things is not the norm.  It is all she has ever known. 

Anyway, I would allow her to process the diagnosis, and I would maybe get her some books written by autistics.  Perhaps, getting her involved in some sort of activity she enjoys would aid her social skills.  At that age, my "friends" were the people that I was in 4H with or played basketball with, and I only interacted with them during those specific activities.  I had no need or desire to speak with people outside of those activities. I was very happy with that amount of social contact.  I had a very immature (for my age) concept of friendship at that age.  My friends were still the people that I played with, and I had no need or desire to develop deeper relationships with them.  I think it is important to remember that she is likely at a different developmental point than a "typical" 12 year old.

 "I guess my question to put out there is, how do you get your child to understand the challenges they have?"

I find this an odd question. I guess I'm having a hard time trying to understand why Person A would have to explain Person B's challenges to Person B.  Wouldn't Person B have a better knowledge of Person B's challenges than Person A. Honestly, I'm not trying to be rude, and I hope I'm not coming off as that way.  However, I'm really having a hard time with that question.  It simply doesn't make sense to me.

If there are issues that absolutely need to be addressed right now, I would suggest you work with the counselor to come up with a positive plan to address those issues. 

kajira
by Emma on Aug. 6, 2013 at 12:43 PM
I agree with McCool - I was diagnosed as an adult too at 27 and pretty much couldn't write what she wrote better.
Bobcatridge
by Carol on Aug. 6, 2013 at 12:50 PM
1 mom liked this

I have a 12 yr old daughter with generalized anxiety disorder and aspergers. My daughter clearly recognizes that she is different. The aspergers diagnosis explained why she was different. The social skills therapist did several sessions with our daughter on what aspergers was and how it described her. I also gave her several books to read. Some times we back off the therapy if she is not co-operative. When she was having bullying issues we increased social skills therapy and it did help. There were times when she said she didn't need the social skills therapy group but she enjoys the group so she wants to go. We don't tell her something is wrong with her but that she is just different and that is fine. The issue is that 12yr olds want to fit in and being different is not completely desirable.

Eve-marie
by on Aug. 6, 2013 at 12:52 PM

I think she is right. There's nothing wrong with her. She has been herself for 12 years and only just diagnosed. I'm guessing a few questions arose recently leading to the diagnosis and she is undergoing puberty anyway so everything is difficult. I think you should encourage her to continue being herself. If in the future she has a difficulty that she wants help with she knows you're there to help her. But for right now she's obviously fine and to force her to accept unnecessary help will only serve to make her angry. I applaud her because there are some who would ride that diagnosis for all it's worth, I'm autistic so I can't type of attitude. Let her be what she can be. 

KatyTylersMom
by on Aug. 6, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Is she struggling in school?  Does she come home miserable over not having friends or getting teased or doing badly in a class?  Does she ever feel unhappy about her social skills affecting her life?  Basically IS there something wrong with her life as it is now? 

If she has friends (weird or not, they're HER friends and as long as they're not befriending her to take advantage and use her in any way that's her choice of friend and needs to be respected), is doing well at school, isn't getting written up for disobedience or foul language or other aggression issues at school, and is generally a happy kid (well, as happy as a preteen in our society can be since we're all supposed to look like supermodels, dress like millionaires, and all that) then maybe there isn't a problem for her just yet.  And maybe there never will be, or maybe one day she'll notice that there are things about herself and her life that she wants to change and then SHE'LL be the one to seek out help. 

I fully agree with providing her with books written by autistic people about their lives and experiences, and honestly I fully agree with you guys being very proactive about getting her counseling - many families view mental health therapy as taboo or worse, only for the truly insane and leave themselves and their children in a void with no ability to seek help.  But if she's not into it and she doesn't trust that therapist ain't nothing gonna happen there.  It needs to be at least partially her decision and desire to seek out help in dealing with the problems SHE feels are important.  If there aren't any now say "ok, no problem, our bad, but if you ever want to talk to someone who's not us, your super uncool parents, we will help you find that person - may not even be this person that we found for you now.  Just let us know".  And then LEAVE IT.  Love her, support her, and certainly watch her for signs that she's sad or depressed or overly anxious, etc. - the same you would for ANY NORMAL TEENAGER who you don't want turning to sex and drugs as a means of "feeling better/good".  And then be there for her and work with her to determine what kind of support she wants.  She might just want an autistic adult to talk to - and god knows with 1/88 going to 1/54 going to 1/22, there will be at least one who is open to the opportunity near you! 

bwd
by New Member on Aug. 6, 2013 at 3:31 PM

it does sound a little rude, but that's ok. You don't know me or my daughter or her backstory. I am going to reply to my original post to give everyone more backstory so if you could read that reply, that would be great. And if you have more insight, I would love to hear it. Also, if you can recommend any books for her to read, I would be open to that as well. Thanks.


Quoting A_McCool:

There is nothing wrong with her.  I think that is something incredibly important to remember.  Her brain is wired differently, and she perceives and experiences things in a way that is different from the typical person. There is nothing wrong with that. Approaching it as if there is something wrong with her will very likely not yield positive results. She is normal for her. Also, 3 months is really not a lot of time to adjust to diagnosis.  

Nothing about her changed with diagnosis and now suddenly everyone is trying to fix her.  I understand how she feels.  Had I been diagnosed at 12 (I was diagnosed at 27), I likely would have laughed at someone.  At 12, I was normal, and everyone else was completely nuts. I understood myself; it was everyone else that didn't make sense. This is because the only experiences we have are our own.  It is really hard for a child that young or younger to understand that the way she experiences things is not the norm.  It is all she has ever known. 

Anyway, I would allow her to process the diagnosis, and I would maybe get her some books written by autistics.  Perhaps, getting her involved in some sort of activity she enjoys would aid her social skills.  At that age, my "friends" were the people that I was in 4H with or played basketball with, and I only interacted with them during those specific activities.  I had no need or desire to speak with people outside of those activities. I was very happy with that amount of social contact.  I had a very immature (for my age) concept of friendship at that age.  My friends were still the people that I played with, and I had no need or desire to develop deeper relationships with them.  I think it is important to remember that she is likely at a different developmental point than a "typical" 12 year old.

 "I guess my question to put out there is, how do you get your child to understand the challenges they have?"

I find this an odd question. I guess I'm having a hard time trying to understand why Person A would have to explain Person B's challenges to Person B.  Wouldn't Person B have a better knowledge of Person B's challenges than Person A. Honestly, I'm not trying to be rude, and I hope I'm not coming off as that way.  However, I'm really having a hard time with that question.  It simply doesn't make sense to me.

If there are issues that absolutely need to be addressed right now, I would suggest you work with the counselor to come up with a positive plan to address those issues. 



A_McCool
by Bronze Member on Aug. 6, 2013 at 4:01 PM
1 mom liked this

Well, it certainly wasn't my intention to be rude; however, I rewrote that section about 5 times trying to make it comprehensible.  The first time it sounded less rude, but it had so many freaking pronouns in it that I didn't even know what I was saying.  

Anyway, I've concluded that most of time the act of questioning somebody in and of itself can be perceived as rude, and, quite honestly, I'd rather be perceived as slightly rude and possibly get an explanation than shut up and remain confused.

Quoting bwd:

it does sound a little rude, but that's ok. You don't know me or my daughter or her backstory. I am going to reply to my original post to give everyone more backstory so if you could read that reply, that would be great. And if you have more insight, I would love to hear it. Also, if you can recommend any books for her to read, I would be open to that as well. Thanks.


Quoting A_McCool:

There is nothing wrong with her.  I think that is something incredibly important to remember.  Her brain is wired differently, and she perceives and experiences things in a way that is different from the typical person. There is nothing wrong with that. Approaching it as if there is something wrong with her will very likely not yield positive results. She is normal for her. Also, 3 months is really not a lot of time to adjust to diagnosis.  

Nothing about her changed with diagnosis and now suddenly everyone is trying to fix her.  I understand how she feels.  Had I been diagnosed at 12 (I was diagnosed at 27), I likely would have laughed at someone.  At 12, I was normal, and everyone else was completely nuts. I understood myself; it was everyone else that didn't make sense. This is because the only experiences we have are our own.  It is really hard for a child that young or younger to understand that the way she experiences things is not the norm.  It is all she has ever known. 

Anyway, I would allow her to process the diagnosis, and I would maybe get her some books written by autistics.  Perhaps, getting her involved in some sort of activity she enjoys would aid her social skills.  At that age, my "friends" were the people that I was in 4H with or played basketball with, and I only interacted with them during those specific activities.  I had no need or desire to speak with people outside of those activities. I was very happy with that amount of social contact.  I had a very immature (for my age) concept of friendship at that age.  My friends were still the people that I played with, and I had no need or desire to develop deeper relationships with them.  I think it is important to remember that she is likely at a different developmental point than a "typical" 12 year old.

 "I guess my question to put out there is, how do you get your child to understand the challenges they have?"

I find this an odd question. I guess I'm having a hard time trying to understand why Person A would have to explain Person B's challenges to Person B.  Wouldn't Person B have a better knowledge of Person B's challenges than Person A. Honestly, I'm not trying to be rude, and I hope I'm not coming off as that way.  However, I'm really having a hard time with that question.  It simply doesn't make sense to me.

If there are issues that absolutely need to be addressed right now, I would suggest you work with the counselor to come up with a positive plan to address those issues. 





bwd
by New Member on Aug. 6, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Thank you for replying. I actually did a new post because I had too much to write. If you could read it I would appreciate any comments on it. It gives more history on her. If you know of any books that I could get to read her, I would love that as well. I just want her to be happy and able to function in this crazy world.


Quoting A_McCool:

Well, it certainly wasn't my intention to be rude; however, I rewrote that section about 5 times trying to make it comprehensible.  The first time it sounded less rude, but it had so many freaking pronouns in it that I didn't even know what I was saying.  

Anyway, I've concluded that most of time the act of questioning somebody in and of itself can be perceived as rude, and, quite honestly, I'd rather be perceived as slightly rude and possibly get an explanation than shut up and remain confused.

Quoting bwd:

it does sound a little rude, but that's ok. You don't know me or my daughter or her backstory. I am going to reply to my original post to give everyone more backstory so if you could read that reply, that would be great. And if you have more insight, I would love to hear it. Also, if you can recommend any books for her to read, I would be open to that as well. Thanks.


Quoting A_McCool:

There is nothing wrong with her.  I think that is something incredibly important to remember.  Her brain is wired differently, and she perceives and experiences things in a way that is different from the typical person. There is nothing wrong with that. Approaching it as if there is something wrong with her will very likely not yield positive results. She is normal for her. Also, 3 months is really not a lot of time to adjust to diagnosis.  

Nothing about her changed with diagnosis and now suddenly everyone is trying to fix her.  I understand how she feels.  Had I been diagnosed at 12 (I was diagnosed at 27), I likely would have laughed at someone.  At 12, I was normal, and everyone else was completely nuts. I understood myself; it was everyone else that didn't make sense. This is because the only experiences we have are our own.  It is really hard for a child that young or younger to understand that the way she experiences things is not the norm.  It is all she has ever known. 

Anyway, I would allow her to process the diagnosis, and I would maybe get her some books written by autistics.  Perhaps, getting her involved in some sort of activity she enjoys would aid her social skills.  At that age, my "friends" were the people that I was in 4H with or played basketball with, and I only interacted with them during those specific activities.  I had no need or desire to speak with people outside of those activities. I was very happy with that amount of social contact.  I had a very immature (for my age) concept of friendship at that age.  My friends were still the people that I played with, and I had no need or desire to develop deeper relationships with them.  I think it is important to remember that she is likely at a different developmental point than a "typical" 12 year old.

 "I guess my question to put out there is, how do you get your child to understand the challenges they have?"

I find this an odd question. I guess I'm having a hard time trying to understand why Person A would have to explain Person B's challenges to Person B.  Wouldn't Person B have a better knowledge of Person B's challenges than Person A. Honestly, I'm not trying to be rude, and I hope I'm not coming off as that way.  However, I'm really having a hard time with that question.  It simply doesn't make sense to me.

If there are issues that absolutely need to be addressed right now, I would suggest you work with the counselor to come up with a positive plan to address those issues. 







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