Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

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Astolat
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Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby Astolat » Tue Aug 31, 2021 12:04 pm

Hi

Can anyone recommend someone to help us understand our 5 year old please? I’d like an assessment and advice.
Our 5 year old girl us really struggling. She gets into all these routines that must be stuck to. She really struggles with clothes and shoes, has about 3 outfits to wear (all sleeveless dresses with no frills or anything). Her tantrums are getting worse not better.

I really need to know if she has any special needs we should do something about and can support her with or if it’s just a phase of being resistant and wanting to be in control.
Thanks
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Vista321
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Re: Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby Vista321 » Tue Aug 31, 2021 5:34 pm

Hi Astolat

Is your daughter at school yet? If so, seek out the school's SEN teacher and arrange to have a conversation so they can help.

Assessment for Autistic Spectrum Disorder requires a referral to CAMHS (NHS) via a GP or by the school usually. They will also 'screen' first before placing you on a (long) waiting list for a full ASD assessment, if it is felt it is required.  If and when you do receive an assessment, and maybe a diagnosis (if that is what you are seeking) you get little or no help from the NHS, as there are no NHS funded services for ASD.
Your best bet is to seek out any help you feel is needed now, using the school's SEN to guide you and also the local branch of the National Autistic Society. Paying privately for speech and language therapy can help (for social skills, self regulation etc) as can counselling.  Be warned, in that you'll need to pay for pretty much everything yourself.

You are not alone and there are many others who have similar issues, but you can find help and support for your child and also for your family to help to cope/manage. 

All the best

 
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2009Kat
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Re: Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby 2009Kat » Wed Sep 01, 2021 11:57 am

Agree with pp about speaking to her school.  Also note that if she is under 8 the route to an autism assessment in Wandsworth is via St Georges not CAMHS (older children).  So if a concern, speak to your GP for a referral (schools can also do I believe). They'll send you to a developmental paediatrician first and if they agree further assessment warranted then you go on the waiting list (long).

As pp says Speech and language therapist may be helpful.  Although she may speak fine, does she fully understand, how are social skills etc.  Also an occupational therapist may be helpful if she's quite sensory (eg the clothes thing).  My ASD kid has some fairly rigid routines - they tend to relate to anxiety and the more stressed he is the more inflexible he becomes.  Whilst we try to teach him to be flexible but sometimes we just have to go with it.  

Might be helpful to keep a record of what happens before an incident, what happens during and what happens after.  That might help you to understand why she is behaving in this way.  Then you can see what you can to do help her (ie change the before, reduce the triggers).  Is it a "tantrum" or really is she communicating that something is really bothering her? All depends on your child and what they need of course.

Obviously she may not have any SEN she may just be a more sensitive child than others.  
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redpsychology
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Re: Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby redpsychology » Mon Sep 06, 2021 7:08 am

I agree with the replies that you would ideally get a referral for a developmental assessment. In Wandsworth the CAMHS service has a specialist neurodevelopmental clinic based at Springfield Hospital. It depends how urgent you want to get the diagnostic assessment as wait times can be long.

If you have an urgency, I offer ASD assessments in my practice and am listed on the National Autistic Society’s (NAS) website under registered assessors. I work and live in Wandsworth. I worked in CAMHS for over 20 years before this so know the systems. It’s vital that school are on board as they will be part of any assessment. If you want more info please message me at Redfernpsychology.
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ronich
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Re: Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby ronich » Mon Sep 06, 2021 7:34 am

Hi,

I am a local speech and language therapist and would be happy to have a chat with you.

We have autism specialist therapists in our team and I have a few good connections as well.

Please feel free to contact me on 07951228557.
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Sometimeslovely
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Re: Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby Sometimeslovely » Mon Sep 06, 2021 9:16 am

Hi,

I posted on here not so long ago about my 10 year old daughter and someone suggested she might be on the spectrum. After this I researched it a bit more and realised she did, indeed, have many of traits - more so than most of us going "Yeah, I do that sometimes too, we're all a bit on the spectrum". 

So I discussed this with the school who advised that initially I send in examples of behaviours so they could "build a case" to make a referral to the local unit. I discussed this with a GP who gave me the best advice: write your own report. He stated that the GP will not be able to add much as they see the child for a few minutes and are unable to build a picture based on the child's behaviour in that session -  especially with girls as they can mask a lot of their behaviour. 

I compiled a table of diagnostic criteria and examples of daughter's behaviour next to each, as well as other behaviours that were not necessarily that common. The school thanked me for this, saying it really helped expedite the referral. However, in our area the wait is still about 18-24 months. 

Already, she has become more open with her feelings and we are able to discern (most of the time) between her struggling with a situation due to the way she experiences life, or if she's just pushing the boundaries (sometimes both!). 

I think you're right to seek a formal diagnosis as you will then be able to access other services as and when you need them, your daughter will grow up knowing that she's not a freak or a weirdo and hopefully be more comfortable in herself and will be able to communicate her needs and challenges as you all go through this together. 

A book that we found really helpful (although there might be other books more suited to your 5 yo, but this is still rich in info and insight) is "The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic" by Siena Castellon. Siena herself is a young girl that was diagnosed at the age of 10.

Good luck and remember that your daughter will have tantrums regardless of age, she will experience the world differently from you, some things you can help, other things you can't. Cherry pick the advice from everywhere, choosing what resonates with you and your family. As long as your daughter feels loved and supported she will be fine. 




 
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Astolat
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Re: Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby Astolat » Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:28 am

Thank you all. After a back to school morning full of Facebook photos from friends outside front doors whilst my daughter’s in total hysteria over wearing her school dress it’s good to hear what we can do.

I don’t think there’s a language issue, she’s very articulate and does understand what we are saying / asking it’s much more a sensory issue. Putting on her summer school dress really was the most horrible experience. It just felt ‘crinkly’ under the arms. You’d think I was torturing the poor child. Our neighbours probably do think that.

I’ll talk to school again. We asked last year but They have no issues there so it may be hard to persuade them to be active. I think maybe a private route would be better, just to know what to do for the best. I’m scared I’m either going to indulge standard bloody mindedness or really damage someone who can’t help how they feel and react by forcing stuff.

Thanks again everyone.
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Napval17
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Re: Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby Napval17 » Mon Sep 06, 2021 12:23 pm

Regarding your daughter struggling with the feeling of specific clothing on her skin, could you take her out to a shop to find a little body suit, vest, or shorts that are a soft material (or one she can handle) and see if that makes any different under her school outfit?

Sensory issues like that can actually feel painful. So, when she is reacting like she is in pain she may actually feel like she’s in pain. So, if you could go out together to find something, or if you purchase multiple things and get her to try them at home it may be helpful! I’m not sure if shops are overwhelming to her or not!
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NeuroMum
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Re: Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby NeuroMum » Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:05 pm

The thing to keep in mind is that autistic folks experience the world differently to neurotypical folks, and as someone pointed out, sensory discomfort can be genuinely painful. It’s hard to wrap your head around if you’re neurotypical but just imagine this: it’s Christmas Eve, you’re sat on your sofa relaxing expecting to spend it alone, and the shops have just closed - then, your family call you and tell you that they’ll be over at 8am the following day. Nothing is ready, and you have no way of preparing. That’s what life can feel like for a person with autism - a constant sense of impending *something* and feeling like you’re out of the loop. That’s enough to cause anyone anxiety and tantrums.

I have an autistic son and one with ADHD, and I have ADHD myself, so whilst I’m no expert i do have a fair bit of experience in raising ND kids and in being ND myself.

It is really challenging sometimes - my eldest struggles a lot with school (it’s very common for autistic kids to find it very hard to have their time taken up doing things they don’t enjoy - nobody loves going to school but for an autistic person, it can feel like being robbed - they would rather be spending time on their special interests than being forced to endure a sensory and emotional nightmare for 6 hours a day five days a week). You may find that once you have had her assessed and diagnosed, and she can receive the reasonable adjustments she’s legally entitled to at school, it may make things easier for her and therefore you. My sons school will sometimes let him take a month off of doing homework (school needing to stay out of the home is a very common need for autistic kids) and it makes a big difference to how adaptable he is elsewhere in his life.

When things are stressful and challenging and I find myself feeling so helpless that I just find myself wishing that things were different and that my parenting journey was easier, I remember that my autistic sons gentleness, creativity, kindness, openness, empathy and just the beautiful way he sees the world isn’t the problem - the problem is that the world he’s forced to live in isn’t set up for people like him, THAT is the challenge. I hope we are moving toward a kinder world in which autistic people are automatically considered and accommodated at a base structural level but until then, you’re doing the right thing by looking into assessment. If waiting for an NHS assessment isn’t possible and you can afford it, check out the registered assessors on the NAS website and look into getting an EHCP so your daughter gets the support she needs at school - if your school aren’t forthcoming about assessment and support you may need the latter (and you don’t need an official diagnosis to get an EHCP). Good luck!
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parentpractice
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Re: Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby parentpractice » Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:23 pm

Hello Astolat

I suggest you start by reading The Out Of Sync Child by Carol Kanowitz, as sounds to me like a sensory processing disorder.

If the book resonates with you, I would seek an assessment from Kiki’s clinic asking to see a sensory specialist.

Your daughter is not BEING a problem re her tantrums , but she’s HAVING a problem and once you have more understanding for what she’s struggling with, then you can use all the positive parenting tools to help her self regulate.

In order to get an ASC diagnosis you need to get a multi disciplinary assessment ( MDA) as others have described here, and it’s a very detailed assessment process. I would start by looking at helping her with her sensory issues through an occupational therapist, and seeing what results are before seeking an autism assessment.

Hope that helps.
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Zoieart
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Re: Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby Zoieart » Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:50 am

Can highly recommend Des @ O’Connor assessments- call and have a chat through options- oconnorassessment dot com
He was head of special needs at Eaton square school for 10yrs and is so great with kids he’s assessing x
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faybian
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Re: Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby faybian » Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:10 pm

I certainly agree that getting her soft underclothes or a uniform made out of 100% cotton might be helpfull. My ASD son not only disliked wearing scratchy polyester but it actually brought him out in red welts! All uniforms were cotton after that.
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ronich
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Re: Assessment for 5 year old (wondering about autism spectrum)

Postby ronich » Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:04 pm

If you need recommendations for occupational therapists to help with sensory processing or assess for this I have a few great recommendations.

Also I have a couple of Speech Therapists in my clinic who specialise in Autism, to support with social/ emotional difficulties/ regulation. Social thinking by Michelle Garcia winner has great curriculum as well, targeting from pre-k through adults. One of our therapists is trained with this and uses this a lot.

Speech therapists extend beyond just language and speech and help with any difficulty that disrupts the communication process including the social interactions.

Emotional regulation / interactions can be disrupted for a range of reasons, so it is a good idea to rule things out.

Good luck and it sounds like you’ve been given a lot of great advice already.

Best wishes,
Rosie
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