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Just sad

Posted by on Feb. 23, 2015 at 2:12 AM
  • 9 Replies

Hi, I'm new here and my youngest daughter was born autistic. Shes going to be 10 tomorrow! Shes a beautiful girl and very very high functioning. She began with sign language and is still in speech therapy, but no one meeting her would ever guess that she was ever dx'd as autistic. Shes outgoing, makes great eye contact, loves to socialize, loves...well, just

She used to be hypersensitive and had issues with transtitions, and she rocked and often hid or ran away in public places...especially if they were busy. Now all of that is just gone and has been gone for a long time now. She'll still rock occasionally in private, but its not that compulsive rocking that can't be stopped and seems to consume all of her. Its in her control now and she doesn't seem to need it...its just something she enjoys now and then.

When she was little and dx'd, I read over everything I could, learned all I could, taught her sign language, bribed her into speaking, held her hands and made her clean up her own mess when she'd ignore all efforts at communication and then scream and throw her plate because she didn't like what you put on it. I spent an entire month traveling and staying in a different place each night...and she rocked like crazy to get through it...but she also had a lot of fun in between the rocking and afterwards she rocked less in everyday life. Well, except for at christmas...she loves christmas with all her heart, but when the tree came done and the decorations got put away...she would start rocking, rocking, rocking. The one year I felt so desperate because she wanted to rock non-stop for 2 weeks straight. The kind of rocking where she doesn't respond to you and when you pick her up and carry her to the tub or anywhere else...the second you set her down she goes back to rocking.

Now all of that is gone and when I look at her, I just see this absolutely perfect little angel. Shes a little more innocent then average...a little more naive...a little more rambunctious...a little more impulsive (she has actually tried to jump out of a moving car so she could beat her sister to the front door). She is just so sweet and loving and hard working. Shes enthusiastic and has learned to try to find her happiness when sad and shes one of those kids that is just see the world in a positive light most of the time. She seems so very very normal to me.

And I guess thats why I'm sad. I forgot to remember that learning to talk and no longer rocking etc is not the same as no longer autistic. I bought into the idea that shes not autistic and maybe never was, since she did overcome so much. So I didn't worry about her social skills. My older daughter was graduating and needed some extra mom attention, and I stopped worrying about my youngest...because shes smart and shes so close to just being a typical kid in most ways now. So fast forward to the present and I'm just realizing how much she needs social skills training. I worked to teach her all the behaviorial no-nos like not always trying to be first, not always wanting your way etc etc...I tried to teach her how to be a friend. But I didn't teach her how to make a friend. Or how to tell when a kids trying to avoid you without getting in trouble...or to notice how people react when you yell hi to them so happily. Do they look at you? Maybe pause so you can catch up and walk with them? Or do they avoid eye contact and rush away from you? When you talk to them, do they look happy and respond or do they fall silent and rush away as soon as they can?

My sweet beautiful girl is struggling so hard socially now. I'm kicking myself for forgetting that social skills are part of her special needs. Its the only area shes actually behind in every other way shes just a little quirky. I also forgot how cruel and unforgiving kids can be. Her school did anti-bullying sessions for her class and a therapist that would intervene with the worst girls to teach them not to do out right mean things...but thats not the same as the kids learning to like her or except her. Nor is it the same as teaching her the skills she needs to be able to enjoy that simple basic need for friendship. So shes no longer roaring like a dragon at mean kids...(now she tells them they're, but shes feeling very alone and doesn't know why. Some of the boys in her class are nice to her and accepting of her, but the girls call her annoying and sometimes tell her shes a disgrace to the class etc. Mostly they avoid her like she has plague though unless school requires them to interact. Not because she behaves badly...but because she never says the right things at the right time. She obsesses over her joys and tries to share them with other kids. They only find it weird. They don't seem to realize that her obsessions always start as a way to have something in common with other kids so that she can share it with friends do. Like well meaning adults have told her she should do.

I have registered her for social skills classes taught specifically for autistic children with similar skill levels as her. I'm looking at new school options for her and other social opportunities. I do know its never too late =) It's just been a hard year for her and I'm mad and sad and regretful. And I'm also worried that I'll fail her or make bad choices for her.

Anyways...sorry for the long rambling post. I just needed to dump a little and I thought here might be good. Maybe some other parents have gone through all this with their kiddos and have advice, thoughts etc to offer.

by on Feb. 23, 2015 at 2:12 AM
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Replies (1-9):
by Platinum Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 8:12 AM

Wow are you being hard on yourself. :( don't do that?!?!?! You sound like an amazing mom with an amazing daughter.. You can't tackle all issues at the same time... So now is the time that the social piece is falling in. She sounds like a great girl! And I'm amazed at your story. My sons social skills are great at home... He even says God Bless you if someone sneezes, makes clever puns, observations, says to my hubby "you look mad dad, everything ok? Just frustrated?" Lol... But he can't "take it all on the road" yet... He drops down in skill level.. (He is 8) and just can't be calm enough to fully engage and relate... 

Perhaps your DDs skills at home were deceiving you as well? So you didn't see it, or notice it was an issue? Perhaps over the last 3 years the social demands of her peer group have changed and she was not able to "keep up" nothing to blame yourself of at all!!!! 

I'm glad she is getting some SS training in a class. That will be good for her. You may want to check out Jed Bakers Soical skills book... It's pretty interesting.. I'm gonna post a page from the book- but it's like "how do I end a conversation"--- then it gives some examples on what to say.. How to has how can I tell if someone's bored, or other helpful "non verbal" cues our kids don't get. 

It may make you feel more empowered... As you sound so sad. You've been such an active participant in your DDs progress... Perhaps this book and helping her with thse skills will make you bridge that gap between KNOWING youve BEEN an awesome mom... And BEING an awesome mom hands on!!!!???

or sit back and enjoy her. She sounds just great! 

by Platinum Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 8:13 AM

by Carol on Feb. 23, 2015 at 10:16 AM

I have a 13 yr old daughter and your daughter's positiveness sounds so wonderful.  My daughter also has major depressive disorder besides ASD and GAD - she is not happy.  But the social skills issues and bullying I am very familiar with.  The exclusionary bullying can be very devastating.  Having waited too long to move my daughter to a new school - well my recommendation is explore that new school option.  For us, the bullying got worse as my daughter became a tween.  Middle school girls are the worst.  My daughter now goes to a hybrid school - 2 days regular school and 3 days homeschool.  This is so much better. My daughter still has emotional problems with the past bullying but at least she is with nicer kids who accept her.

I also feel sad that I didn't do more sooner.  Anyway, I understand and have been there.  Hugs!

by Platinum Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 10:20 AM

I agree you are being hard on yourself and dwelling on the wrong end of the journey.  Look at all you listed in paragraphs 1-4!  That is huge, and you should be so proud of both of you for coming this far.  It's ok if social skills are still to come, and you work on them now.  Some of the other probably needed to be addressed as a prerequisite to social skills, and that's ok.  You're doing a great job.  She's doing a great job.  This too can work out.  Hugs, and welcome to the group!  Very supportive here.

by on Feb. 23, 2015 at 1:09 PM

Thanks guys...I'm ok really. I tell myself the same things I tell my kids...mistakes are just another word for learning =).

I'm just hurting for her and hoping like crazy that she doesn't get hurt too badly. I don't want her to lose that outgoing, friendly, happy personality shes had.

I was on the fence about changing her schools unil recently. We picked this one so carefully and the middle school and then highschool she'd feed into from it was part of it. But hopefully a year of social skills training will help alot and then she can take her new skills into a different group of kids. If we're lucky, maybe a new school will also have some girls that like to be highly active as well. All the girls at her current school like to sit and talk rather then run around and play physically. Shes in 4th grade if we make her school changes going into middle school then she has a year of learning to help her out as well.

Thanks so much for the support and the ideas....I do feel much better now. =) I've never heard of the hybrid schooling and find it interesting. That could be very good for her if middle school turns out to be as bad or worse. Definately much better then having her lose confidence in herself. Hugs to you and your daughter Bobcatridge...I hope she makes it through the depression and I'm glad shes in a better place now.

I'll look into the social skills books too...I can use all the help I can get on those Your son sounds adorable SamMom912...and your very right about the difference between home and 'on the road'.

by Silver Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 7:01 PM
You have an amazing daughter because you are an amazing mom. lots of love! Welcome to the group.
by Darby on Feb. 24, 2015 at 5:22 AM

Welcome to the group!  Give yourself a break're doing a wonderful job!

by Silver Member on Feb. 24, 2015 at 12:46 PM
Cut yourself some slack. She is 10, preteen and teen years are social nightmares for neurotypicals and worse for ASD kids.

Ds sounds like your daughter with the gains. Social skills are also his hardest obstacle. He used to be so shy and antisocial. Now that he is social, he is outgoing and friendly and way too forgiving. He's dealt with bullying and punched a kid in the face. My guy is like a care bear, it takes a lot for him to hit someone. He'a more likely to hit himself.

This challenge is not because you didn't do something. It's anther phase of your daughters development. I'd say go for the activities. Drama club if she's that outgoing. Maybe art, music. It sucks when you know how incredible your kid is and how evil other kids can be to someone so pure.
by Carissa on Feb. 24, 2015 at 9:50 PM

Welcome to the group! I love your honestly and passion and I think you are doing a great job.  I hope you let us know how the social skills class  goes. Hugs!

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