Hello everyone, I’d like some advice regarding my niece.
She is seven. My sister and I suspect that she might be on the spectrum due to some issues in her behavior. She gets very confused and overwhelmed when meeting anyone, including children considerably younger than her. She’s been in nursery then school since she was 3, but has not made a single friend to date. She does not respond to her name being called sometimes, she refuses to talk sometimes, she prefers to play alone rather than with her 5 year old sister, and recently her teacher complained about her sitting under the table in class rather than on her chair. When asked why she remains silent and doesn’t give an answer. There are other things that we noticed.
Our main problem is with our brother, her father. To him she is perfect and there is nothing wrong with her and we are interfering in the child’s life.
Now he is her father and we have no say in it, but we love her and worry, so what I need to know is: how important is it for a child like her to be diagnosed? Will it make a huge difference? Will she still be OK without being diagnosed? Considering the hiding under the table for most of the class time, and an incident on the bus only a week ago when she turned red, got very confused, look at her feet and pushed her body as far back as she could because a child (my guess is he was 2) smiled at her and waved his hand, considering this, can she manage without help?
Is it worth interfering in my brother’s decisions or should I just leave them alone?
I appreciate any input on this, especially with regards to the girl’s well being that is the main issue here.
Welcome to the forum, alot of the behaviours you are describing certainly sound like she may be on the spectrum,
Are school concerned with her behaviour? Maybe if the suggestion came from them your brother might be more open to it.
My partner didn't want our daughter diagnosed when she was really young as he didn't want her labeled but through alot of research he has realised that not only is she on the spectrum but he probably is as well, he is now frustrated at the length of time diagnosis is taking for her!
As for your question alot of people are not diagnosed until they are adults but have spent years wondering why they didn't fit on and struggle with things.
Personally I feel diagnosis early is better as she will not end up wondering why she thinks and feels different to others, It can lead to other problems with mental health such as depression. If she knows and has a positive view of autism some things maybe easier to understand.
What does her mother think? Would she be more open to discuss the possibility? There are alot of resources on this site that can help.
I've just been diagnosed at 47. I think I can honestly say my whole life would have been easier had I/we known I had ASD from when I was a child.
Think of it this way:
If she's on the spectrum, it's not a label... it's a fundamental part of who she is and the sooner this is identified, the better it will be for her and all those close to her.
From "Very Late Diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder" (Wylie, Philip)
Knowing that I was different to other people, but not knowing why, has done serious damage, and possibly irreparable damage to my self-esteem… Nobody, whether disabled or otherwise, comes into the world with poor self-esteem. The damage is done by other people through their attitudes and their reactions to us. (Beardon 2011, p.142)
You probably need to start by addressing the gap between her father's understanding of what being 'on the spectrum' means and what it really means.
Welcome to the forum, I am a 50 something with the condition as yet undiagnosed but awaiting the full suite of tests.
Can you chat with your sister-in-law about any School support (This is much more recognised now since the 90's than for us older "unknown then", Diagnosed as an Adult or as yet undiagnosed) and/or GP referral?
NAS39248 - I am afraid that, from my network of friends (School teachers too) then it is up to the Parents to broach the subject with the school first, not ideal but that is the current situation.
Diagnosis is so much easier to then be able to help with knowledge, trigger identification, coping mechanisms, recognised support and the ability to identify the unique strengths the person can provide to everyone.
Yes, people view their child as perfect, the apple of their eye, yet the simple things (glasses, etc) are allowed but hidden conditions (mind, allergies, intolerances, flaws like heart, lung and/or bowel disease) seem to be a mix of accepted/ignored.
Hi, eccentric1 was not aware that a school could not highlight symptomatic behaviour.
Schools generally raise any concerns with parents just my experience, (I work in a primary school)
That is my understanding and from Mental Health First Aid then the subject of bringing up any condition is awkward because people do not have the "non-judgmental" listening skills as well as the diplomacy to broach the subject with those that will just hear "disabled"/"impairment" rather than helping to address the behaviours for an easier life as well as identifying the strengths that the person possesses.
Just think of the famous people on the Spectrum (Dan Ackroyd, Daryl Hannah, Chris Packham, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Elon Musk with other possibles in Einstein and Nicola Tesla) as well as Stephen Fry (Bipolar), Tom Cruise (Dyslexia), Keanu Reeves (Dyslexia).
Sorry think I gave the wrong impression in my first post I meant have school raised behavioural concerns
That is difficult for anyone in school to broach with the parents as I have replied. It is as I said - Judgemental from the school and from the parents (my little jimmy is NOT DISABLED/IMPAIRED, No he has a condition that affects him in good "special talents" ways with an impact that too much information - any of the senses - changes his mood), Trying to think of some analogy/useful examples for others to think/use
Also, when I was in school those different were the naughty kids, banished to the remedial class (or isolation hut), expelled, etc because of how society was in the years before 199* when these conditions became more aware in education.
When I was at school it was a similar story (I'm 10 years below you) I got told I was just difficult (severe anxiety)
I always just assumed all teachers do discuss behaviour as my childrens teachers always do, they certainly never suggest any conditions.
Luckily opinions in schools are alot different now,
I'd say that it's very important for her to be diagnosed because the diagnosis unlocks any support that she may be entitled to. It is far better than she gets all the early intervention support as a child rather than waiting until she's an adult to get a diagnosis by which time there is little if any support available. I was diagnosed last year when I was 37 and I really wish that I'd been diagnosed as a child it would have made my life so much easier.