Is my daughter autistic?

First time on here so good evening to all.

My daughter is 8 years old. Having worked in special needs for over 10 years, I am confident enough to say that she does not present with significant traits of ASD. However behaviour over the years that myself and wife have been aware of have been presenting more and more in recent months. I read more frequently that ASD in girls presents much more subtlely and we're not sure if we have genuine concerns or are neurotic parents.

As my little girl is making progress at school, class teacher is not overly concerned. My daughter does access a weekly sensory bus as she finds it useful to self soothe and re-regulate. During parents evening I asked if they had concerns over ASD and they did not. Anxiety is a huge problem at the moment. A school production has sent her anxiety through the roof. Every morning has been a battle and whilst we want to encourage her to take part, the visible signs are going beyond normal. Sleeping is huge issue at the moment. It's almost 11pm and she is still calling down from her bedroom. It seems that physical touch/contact from us is the only method of soothing her.  

Any changes to her daily routine cause distress. Whilst she can cope at school behaviour wise, she's vey keen to follow the rules, when she returns home from school we see a very different picture. She frequently goes into meltdowns and similar to a lot of ASD children, she bottles up emotions in the day but once the top is off, we see an eruption.

She has been motivated at school to achieve success through a points system. However she has achieved all available to her and she s very confused as to why this cannot continue. We have tried to explain but her rigidity in thinking cannot compute what we  saying. She is often vacant at home. She frequently spins and asking her why, she says it relaxes her. She will watch TV stood on her head as it is comfy.

She struggles with friendships and emotions. Children will ask her to play but she does not know how to respond and appears rude.

She obsesses with interests for months on end until complete over saturation.

Advice appreciated.

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  • My daughter as diagnosed at 12 with high functioning ASD. Your daughter sounds very much like mine was at that age. 

    There were no real issues at school during foundation phase (infants) apart from a dislike of the noisy dinner hall- so I used to bring her home for lunch as we lived close. The only indicator then as how easy she found learning, esp maths and were concerned she would get bored. She loved rules and hated people breaking them! In reception she knew everyone's lines for the Christmas play and even nudged one or two as a prompt on the day. People laughed then, but it showed her excellent memory and recall.

    It wasn't until she was in key stage 2 (juniors) that things began to feel odd- she was in and out of friendship groups, she didn't socialise at break/lunch- perferring to run around the perimeter of the school yard, counting how many times she could do it. Then in year 4 we moved house and school and she really struggled with that. For months she would only communicate by an 'eek' or 'hoot' (owls being an obsession) to the point where the class teacher told her off. Changes in routine were catastrophic - she'd be fine in school and 'explode' at home.

    Year 5 teacher was the senco who spotted it straight away and her gentle suggestions came at the same time as I began to think we were looking at Aspergers. 

    She saw an ed psych who suggested a referral to CHAMS but I spoke to my GP who said it was more appropriate to refer her to the community peadatrician. It was the community peadatrician who made the diagnosis for us. 

    High school has been a nightmare and I wish we'd done things sooner for her, but like yourself I doubted what I felt. 

    I don't think you're being neurotic, you know your daughter best, go back to your GP. Get the ball rolling now 

    good luck to you all x

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