Thursday, 13 May 2010

Aspies Girl

Most people say we should not label our children or confine them to a specific box but when you're faced with symptoms that are often quite bizarre, heart-breaking and incredibly frustrating, you look for answers by googling and doing research.

When I read up on Aspergers Syndrome it is so typical of my four-year old Kaylin.  I was eventually so relieved to find information on the internet that explained why she does the things she does so that I can understand her more and that we can get less frustrated with each other.

You must understand Kaylin and I have a love / hate relationship.  She pushes my buttons and in turn she gets to control my reactions.  She is the only person that can do this!! At first, I thought she was just a strong-willed spirited child with manipulative nature.  We argued a lot, I smacked a lot, we yelled at each other, we ignored each other, I couldnt find a discpline technique that would work for her.  She would be defiant, agressive and completely out of control with me.

We went for play therapy from the age of 3 and sorted a lot of our issues out with a very patient lady called Lynne that KK immediately took to.  But the therapist said we couldn't diagnose her with Aspies until she was 6 or 7.   We left it but the more I read up on Aspergers, the more I understand about it, the more she slots in there.

Firstly, I need to tell you that my youngest girl-child has a few obsessions:  clothes and shoes is one of them, making piles and rows of stuff on a daily basis and her connection with animals (espeically our female tabby cat).  She terrorises our poor Pickles on a daily basis.

 6:30 am this morning I am awoken by my youngest girl-child who's walking around naked and frustrated because the clothes she wants to put on, she can't get on or she's chuffed with herself for puting on a completely ridiculous outfit which is nowhere suitable for the weather.  If I try to convince her that she'll be cold or that she can't wear knickers on the outside of her pants, the crazier she gets.

Kaylin sobs, she whines, she screams, she stomps and kicks, she wails and she creates such drama...she wants me to give in and sometimes I do.  I know I shouldn't, but sometimes I don't have the energry or the time to indulge her.  By then my ears are bleeding anyway.

This morning Kaylin had taken every single one of my pots and caserole dishes out of the cupboard and layed them on the kitchen floor neatly in rows, she was fitting the lids to the pots and saying out loud "Yes, thats the one that fits...maybe it fits another" and swapping the lids between the pots engrossed in her own little world.  I was frustrated because I wanted her to comb her hair and brush her teeth.  A lot of coaxing to get her away from her queue of pots...*sigh*.  Its tiring and draining...

In the beginning of the nursery school year, I spoke to her nursey school teacher about her and made her aware of the things she does at home so that we can monitor the things she does at school too.  Just so we can weigh up what she really has difficulty with and what she's just winding me up with.  Kaylin is a master at manipulating her Mummy, you see...

Kaylin is a smart little girl but the smallest of things freak her out.  She wants to be fiercely independent and yet when she can't get a simple task right she gets frustrated but she does NOT give up. She is a determined little girl.  She arranges her toys over and over into little piles or long lines.  She can do this for hours.  Sometimes she is silent in her play, sometimes she gives a running commentary on what shes doing and you'll often hear "Oh Come on!".

Kaylin loves her routine and likes to know what the programme for the day looks like.  Once you've told her the programme she will repeat it over and over again to me, to her sister, to her father, to herself until she has convinced herself all will be okay.

Liz, Kaylin's teacher called me aside this week to tell me that she noticed the first typical Aspergers behaviour with our Kaylin.  Liz had 3 or 4 children seated at a table ready to blow paint with straws.  All the other children got the hang of it immediately and Kaylin was struggling to blow the paint instead of suck it through the straw.  Normally Kaylin would throw everything down and give up and being in a foul mood the rest of hte day.

Liz encouraged her softly and showed lots of patience repeating what she must do everytime she did it incorrectly.  She was saying "You can do it, you're doing such a great job" and this got Kaylin so focussed and concentrating so hard on getting it right that her little body was shaking.  Liz said that her heart went out to her.  Eventually KK got it right and Liz made such a HUGE deal about this and all the other children applauded her.  Kaylin was thrilled to bits, appartnetly she was in an awesome mood for the rest of the day, no tantrums, no huffing, just joyous play with her friends and teachers.

It just shows you what an encouraging carer can do for a child.  I am so very grateful that someone else can see the greatness in Kaylin.  She's such an affectionate, loving, happy little girl most of the time and its how someone reacts to her, that sets her off.

I am so proud of her and how far she has come this year.


Sally-Jane said...

Sometimes knowing really helps you to be able to work with them. I am so glad she has a supportive teacher. Strength to you, must be very hard at times

Alet said...

Supportive teachers definitely are the best!!

(( hugs ))

kirstyb said...

it is best to know. i had this convo with a friend not so long ago xxxxx

Alan W. Davidson said...

It's great to have the co-operation of teachers and daycare people (enjoy in while it lasts for the school year because it will vary from year-to-year).

Brian Miller said...

i work with some AS kids...matter of fact i was out at the hospital until 2 AM with one of glad she is doing well...

cat said...

What a great teacher! My heart goes out to you. My one little boy is also into arranging things and not great socially - we have been warned to look out for forms of autism, also Apergers. We will stay on alert.

I guess you have read "The curious incident of the dog in the night time"?

Becca said...

I can so relate to this post. My daughter, who has been diagnosed bipolar, also is the ONLY person who can make me mean in 2 seconds flat. I have worked on it for years. If I let her push my buttons she then has the power in the relationship. I think that it is so wonderful you are researching and and discovering what makes her ticks. I think that it will make things easier down the road. I know that with my daughter I often think about how SHE must feel in having to deal with her disability. Thanks for the great post.

steveroni said...

This is quite an interesting post and comments. The near-last line sticks with me:

"...its how someone reacts to her, that sets her off."

That is just like SO many of us--well, me--but KK has it in great magnification. You are sure smart to seek information, wherever it is available.

Good posting, thanks!

Ami said...

Being aware and finding out all you can makes you both stronger and better able to face things.

It sounds like you've already figured out who her biggest advocate is.


The author of the book you featured up at the top there has a fascinating blog... not sure if you knew that.

Kim Williams said...

your story speaks much of the passion and compassion that you and your child's wonderful teacher have. bravo.

Blasé said...

"If I try to convince her". That is the problem. Children are not to be "convinced"...they are to obey.

"a master at manipulating her mum". Who's fault is that?

The Teacher was able to coax her to cooperate because she is an outsider. It usually works that way. She can't push the teachers buttons...hence, results.

It is almost humorous of how so many 'diagnosed names' have been given to children that disobey.

The 'professional' said my child has blah blah blah...Ridiculous.

ps-I didn't "censor" myself.. ;)


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