Worried about 7 yr old DD

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2001
Worried about 7 yr old DD
5
Thu, 08-12-2010 - 1:26am

My 7 yr old DD was recently diagnosed with PDD-NOS. She has such a long, odd list of issues and I'm overwhelmed where to start of how to help her. Right now our biggest issue is that she complains every night of severe joint and knee pain and struggled to fall asleep. I have researched this on the internet and think it might be Restless Leg Syndrome, which of course (like AS) has no known cause or cure. Fabulous. She is already off of gluten and dairy, and takes fish oil and 5HTP for anxiety as well as 25 mg of zoloft from when the anxiety was really bad. IN addition to the aching joints and difficulty sleeping, she gets chronic sinus infections, is very clumsy and struggles to maintain social friendships. She is also acutely aware of the fact that she is different. She IS socially interested, she DOES initiate with others, and she can make strong initial connections but somehow can't seem to maintain them. Also at home she is so resistant and difficult to do what we ask of her. Brush her teeth, eat breakfast, blow her nose. All of it is like pulling teeth. I work two jobs and one I do from home at night and I can barely get anything done because she comes our of her room twenty times with various complaints.

Some nights I find myself lamenting that I don't have a "normal" kid like everyone else. Those times I feel very sorry for myself about how bad I have it. Other nights, I feel so terrible that my daughter cannot just have a peaceful, easy childhood like so many of her peers. Mostly I just am hoping any of you with similar issues can share anything you have done that has helped your child. I would just like to help her with her struggles because she is really a vivacious and wonderful girl who is sometimes held down by her problems. Thanks in advance for any feedback, especially from moms of girls.

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Fri, 08-20-2010 - 4:33pm
I just wanted to welcome you to the board.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2008
Fri, 08-20-2010 - 5:28am

Welcome to the board.


I think a PP has already pointed you in the right direction re: social stuff. Structured play and social scaffolding help a lot: identifying joint activities around a shared interest, or structured things to do, rather than 'free play'. Girl scouts, dancing, arts/crafts, baking/cooking etc. Also animal-related activities (for my DS this was very much in the snake/spider area, but maybe for your DD possibly more the cat/guinea pig area!) - eg visits to local petting zoos, or even a pet yourself if you can bear it - can be good on a lot of levels: teaches ASD kids empathy, responsiblity and calmness etc, and provides a social 'connect' to other animal-loving children.


On the joint pain etc: I would seriously get this checked out by your physician and not rely on the internet. There are several potentially serious childhood illnesses that this is linked to (eg juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, other auto-immune illnesses) for which there are good treatments and your DD does not need to be in pain unnecessarily (it's amazing the difference a good anti-inflammatory can make to a child who is really in pain!) so I'd get these ruled out before you look into other options.


On getting her to do stuff: rewards, rewards, rewards. Immediate and what they want (and truly, if this needs to be an M&M, go with it! although the irony of giving someone an M&M for brushing their teeth never escapes me :-). As your DD gets older the rewards can become more structured and more abstract (eg tokens, TV time). ASD kids often do not get the intrinsic reward of doing something to please you, which is why it can be so hard to get them to behave (and also the 'tricks' you use with NT kids to get them to behave often don't work on ASD kids). You need to make the rewards very specific to them and immediate.


Other things, like social stories, visual prompts, and very structured explanations for things, will probably also help: often she is probably not doing stuff not to be naughty but simply because she doesn't understand the point, or the task can be too vague or overwhelming. A classic one I found at this age was 'tidy your room'. I never understood for ages why my Aspie/ASD found this unmanageable and would descend into tears, whereas his younger NT brother would do it in 5 minutes, no problem.

"My definition of housework is to sweep the room with a glance"


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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2001
Fri, 08-20-2010 - 1:21am
That is SUPER helpful. Thank you! I wish everything were as easy as a trip to the health food store for Iron supplements. We'll try it. i hope it works. Thank you for taking the time to reply.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-19-2010
Thu, 08-19-2010 - 11:47pm
Hi, hattieo. My 7-year-old son has PLMD (Periodic Limb Movement Disorder), which is a sleep disorder related to Restless legs. it DOES have a treatment. often iron supplement (even when iron levels fall within the typical normal range) is often helpful. my son's Pediatric Sleep Doctor likes to see his iron level much higher than the typical normal range. my son was diagnosed with PLMD with a sleep study that included testing for PLMD, not just sleep apnea. hope that's helpful info. for you.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 08-12-2010 - 8:05am

Welcome to the board.