11 year old daughter assessment

Hi everyone

Im new to all this and just would like to see other peoples opinions on this one as i feel a little bit alone. 

My daughter is 11. Shes shown signs of autism since a baby although we put it down to other things, she had hearing loss..hence the slow talking, she had a duplex kidnet...hence the bedwetting at night. Etc

As shes gotten older she is drifting apart from her friends. Although doing well in school she is suffering witb bad anxiety and still having meltdowns and "tantrums"  i know hormones are kicking in etc. She has her first assessment on monday. 

she masks her autism in school, and only has meltdowns with me at home. Or my sisters. She doesnt at her dads and shes told me kts because she cant let her dad and his wife see her behave that way. So she knows the behaviour is wrong. Theyre convinced shes just being naughty for me. Although i think its more deepseated. 

I suppose my question to you all is, can an autistic child mask it with certain people and let it out with others. If it was a sensory overload, would they not just have the meltdown with anyone? Or does she hold it in then likea bottle of pop, it explodes for me over a little thing. 

Any input would be great. Thankyiu

  • Some autistic people (though not all) can delay a meltdown, but a meltdown cannot be prevented. They aren't naughty or "tantrums".

    Autistic kids, like all kids, can have "tantrums" too, but there is a key difference between a tantrum and a melt down. A tantrum is manipulative; to get something. The kid who makes a scene on purpose to get sweets. The tantrum will stop at the point they are either given sweets or it becomes clear no sweets are forth coming. A meltdown NEVER has a motive and is NEVER on purpose. Something provoked it. It does have a reason; sensory, information processing, social or emotional overload. But the person in meltdown does not want anything from anyone, other than for the overload to stop.

    Girls in particular are known to manage to hold it together all day at school or in polite company, but the overload is building all that while and it hurts and it will purge sooner or later, because it must. That moment is often in their safe place: home. When it comes, it isn't a choice. The system must purge itself.  Your daughter may already have exercised extra-ordinary control to get in doors before it blows. If you can leave her and let it blow. She'll likely be exhausted afterward.

    The only way to lessen the melt downs is to try and identify the triggers and lessen and mitigate them, such that the system isn't overloading to begin with.

  • Meltdown can be very peaceful, quiet and motionless if nobody interfers with its progress

  • Yes, though that sounds more like either my shut downs, or puddle of tears type melt downs. As a toddler in doctors' surgeries I'd lock up and freeze. No one could get a word out of me or get me to respond physically. Of course, they are so quiet that no one recognises the terror that's causing it. They have happened in adult hood too in medical situations. That, or I've suddenly taken flight with no idea where I'm going or what is around me.

    The puddle of tears type, I feel coming, but don't remember much later. They are rare and I generally get to a quiet space and they are rarely seen by anyone. My close friend walked in on one once. We didn't know I was autistic then. She tells me it was like I was in physical pain with the distress and the tears and she couldn't get any sense out of me. She kept asking me what she could do for me and the only word I could produce was "nothing".

    The full on explosive wall thumping, self harming and swearing type I never had until I was in my 50s and they took my teeth. And then they were coming thick and fast. At a number of points I couldn't cope with the sensory bombardment in my mouth or escape it. And then there was the abject terror fueling it. It's a behaviour that just isn't little hippy peace lover me. I had no idea what was happening to me or why. It was like being taken over by a monster and I thought I was going mad...until I worked out I was autistic.

  • I know the feeling, years between 7 and 10 I was crying out oceans of tears into a pillow.

    and now my sarcastic nature makes me say: added bonus - you will never forget that,

    but that means as well that oceans are dry now, no more crying

  • My son masked in school and with other people but had meltdowns at home. The meltdowns happen when in their safe place where they can relax.

    We have had problems convincing others of his difficulties with friends and school and thinking he was misbehaving with us. Difficulties at home were usually linked with something that had happened at school or a challenging environment. This made it difficult to get to the stage of asking for a diagnosis but when he was finally diagnosed we were told there was no doubt. 

    It has helped to have a diagnosis now he is ot Secondary school for him to get the support and understanding he needs.

  • well done, you might yet save him from live where anxiety is your best friend, inadvertently leading to butnout at some point,

    my observations reveal it happens between 20th and 40th of age, for each of us who wasn't prepared for reality of adulthood and who wasn't shielded in childhood so couldn't develop normaly.

    if parents are not supportive we are screwed, and not all parents are .... my were not, one still alive still isn't willing to consider even.

  • Thankyou. Yes this is like my daughter. Her dad said its behavioural and attention seeking but its normally after.somethin small has happened in school etc. The other day it was a meltdown because she asked me.if my new psrtner hugs me. I said yes and she flew off the handle. Uncontrollably screaming, hurting herself etc. Her dad says "well shes never like this with me" but she said she feels sad when her dad hugs his eife but she cant show him....why wont she control this for me then? 

  • maybe it's protecting you from repeating previous mistake?

  • There is a difference between choosing to contain one's emotions as a conscious effect of embracing matters of being polite, of not burdening someone we're responsible for and simply holding one's breath. A parents one responsibility is to understand and affirm what they've been tasked to care for whether it's land or another human. 

    My guess is she'll slowly build resentment and emotionally distance her self from her father if she doesn't feel safe around him. In her 20's she won't go see him much and when she has kids they might not see him as often. If he's dismissive and cares little about getting to actually know her difficulties and matters of the heart, she just won't visit.  

    If you allow her intensity and emotion and help contain it for her, she will trust and respect you and as she gets older feel safe melting down on her own knowing you'll be there if she needs you. Help her identity the difference in stress and exhaustion, heartbreak and injustice. It is unbelievable we have to be put through this just to get along in modern society, though. 

    Misidentifying a child's natural response to split parents as attention seeking isn't just cruel and heart-less, it's gaslighting. Children experience being genetically one part each parent, so they end up feeling severed and betrayed with split parents. Eventually they may learn it was for the best and be happy their parents found someone more suited, but children are not grown ups and even most adults can be incredibly immature.

    I might suggest you stop telling him how she expresses her pain around you and simply respond that she trusts you. She doesn't feel betrayed but safe around you. Better a parent than a therapist (prevention better than a cure). This changes the narrative and might someday help her to have a relationship with her father. Currently, you're the better parent. 

    Men accusing women of wanting attention when there are so many detail at play crosses a line for me. It's a word used in sexual relations. Fathers shouldn't ever use this phrase to speak of their daughters.