Hello. I'm new to the forum. I hope it's ok to start a new thread on this as I've looked and can't find anything on this particular question. My 11 year old daughter has had to deal with frequent visitors to the house in the last 6 months and she is getting to the stage where she is highly anxious about visitors and refusing to let anyone come in. Is this a common thing? Any advice on how to handle it? My instinct is to respect her limitations but I don't want to get to a situation where no one can visit us. She has not yet been formally diagnosed but has a working diagnosis of HFA with possible personality disorders.
Such anxiety could indeed be a common factor. I'm 57, and I still get anxious about visitors, even if I know they're coming. Advance warning can help this - but for me, it remains a question of how best to handle social situations and disruptions to my routines. When I was younger and living at home, I never liked visitors and always kept to my room. Mum and dad were always having to apologise for my 'rudeness'.
Does your daughter have a behaviour therapist appointed to help her? Once she gets a formal diagnosis, such professionals should be available to support her. They could help by suggesting possible coping strategies. Advance knowledge through things like Social Stories (TM) or comic strips might help. These are just random thoughts, though, and others with more experience (I have no children myself) may be able to give you more information.
You can find details on Social Stories and comic strips here:
If you are interested in a book about one family's experience of bringing up an autistic child, I can recommend Susan Senator's 'Making Peace With Autism'. I gather it's pretty much a standard text now for professionals. You can find cheap used copies on Amazon:
hi, thank you for such a speedy and informative reply. I will certainly get that book. The issue with my daughter now is that she's not only getting upset about visitors but becoming adamant that no one can visit us ever again. She feels she has done her bit with visitors and that should be that. I will try social stories, as you suggest. She has so much anger and determination on the subject now. It's like I've pushed her past what she can stand.
KeepOnKeepinOn said:hi, thank you for such a speedy and informative reply. I will certainly get that book. The issue with my daughter now is that she's not only getting upset about visitors but becoming adamant that no one can visit us ever again. She feels she has done her bit with visitors and that should be that. I will try social stories, as you suggest. She has so much anger and determination on the subject now. It's like I've pushed her past what she can stand.
A huge part of coming to terms with these behaviours is having to accept that they aren't 'wrong' necessarily, but 'different'. Neurodiverse people see and interact with the world in ways that are different to neurotypical people - who make up the majority (it's estimated that 1 in 99 people is autistic). So, your daughter's behaviour may be 'right' in terms of her way of looking at the world - even if it's seen as 'wrong' to most others.
The analogy I like to use is that I'm a cat in a roomful of dogs. I'm doing my best to behave like a dog so that I can keep in with the dogs - but I'm a cat. Meanwhile, the dogs are all thinking I'm a pretty strange dog. They can't see that I'm a cat trying to behave like a dog.
I suppose I'm trying to say that you (and she) will learn ways of being able to accept things, and change may need to be effected gradually and in a different way to how it might be under normal circumstances.
Does she give you any reasons as to why she doesn't like visitors? Is it because of their 'strangeness' (i.e. unfamiliarity)? Or is it more about disruption to household routines? Maybe it's even connected with sensory issues she might have: elevated levels of noise, for instance. All of these factors can be causes of anxiety.
Behaviour therapists should be able to suggest strategies, both for managing and moderating behaviour - use of positive reinforcers, rewards, etc - and for coping.
We need our time alone, our house or room becomes our fortress. Even the presence of family members can cause anxiety when we want to be alone. Wee are highly intuitive and sensitive to all subtle energies. If she is not comfortable with guests.. Let her me alone.. Don't force it. When we are ready we will be sociable