Anxiety help for a 7 year old

Hi all,

my daughter is currently on the last part of her ASD diagnosis...

But her anxiety is taking over her life, I am hoping someone might be able to point me in the right direction for help.

most recently she was so worried about going to school her whole body came out in a rash and she was scratching at her skin like mad, I took her to the drs who said this was caused from her anxiety, but given her age there is nothing they can do to help, but if I do find something she would be more than happy to help me.

She pulls her hair out on a regular basis, more so when shes worried about something

She hardly sleeps, and I have to stay with her until she falls asleep (this can be up to 3 hours!) and then I have to sleep with her, she is worried someone will come into her room at night, we have tried everything possible to help this and reassure her but nothing seems to work.

She has got fantastic at support at school with incredible teachers. 

Its always a struggle to get her into school, and sometimes I physically cannot get her in.

Her teacher has to meet her at the classroom door otherwise she will not go in.

she doesn't go out at school, she is worried about the weather. her teachers do encourage her to go out but she normally will sit in, in the office on her own!

She has lego therapy at school once a week, which does help.

She was having ELSA, but because she wasn't talking, they wasn't wiling to continue.

Can anyone please help me with anything that could help? could play therapy help?

Thanks for reading

  • Hi.

    It sounds like she has a lot of control points where she is asserting her (typical) overblown needs for control to overcome her anxiety about stress & chaos.  Young girls can be particularly skillfull in the art of control & manipulation.

    Autistic kids need stability and predictability because 'life' is chaotic and the constant change causes them stress.

    It does appear though as if your daughter is totally controlling you and manipulating your life - but even that is not really giving her what she wants - so she's likely to add more random control points and rituals until she makes herself look like an OCD case - and your life a misery.

    You need to take control and carefully reduce all these pinch points - try the bedtime one first.

    This will be easiest on the weekend - take her to places she likes early in the morning and later in the afternoon - wear her out - get her to play games with you until she's absolutely knackered.

    Tell her when bedtime is going to be so she has time to wind down - and then a quick cookie & small drink and then off to bed.  Have a CD player in the bedroom playing gentle music very quietly (so there's always some sounds going on and you don't accidentally make a tiny noise that wakes her up) and give her lots of comics & cudldly toys in bed with her so there's always something to entertain her if she wakes up.

    Tell her that mummy is really tired too and you need your bed.

    If you present it all as logic and reasonable, she will probably accept it - and then see how far you can push it over the following weeks.

    Your success will hinge on your ability to be firm & constant and to maybe accept a few tantrums & tears as she tries to re-assert her authority.

    Be very careful about remaining calm, cheerful, unemotional and give her the understanding that this is just the way everyone else does it.

    If you get a pattern of success, reward her (something small or she's get demanding) but try not to get frustrated and don't punish her if there are lapses.

    Another way to break the cycle is to change the location - like going to stay with relatives where the subtle change in social rules means she's a bit off-balance so has no built in rules to follow - then assert the new Junta while there - she'll be less able to take control with a different set of people. 

    It's a battle of wills - and you must win for your own sanity.

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