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High functioning autism

(35 Posts)
grannysue101 Wed 07-Dec-22 15:21:06

I realise I should have started a new conversation with this question, but I'm here now! My DGD has just been diagnosed with high functioning autism. She is 13, very bright, but finds it almost impossible to make friends. She therefore hates school and is very unhappy. My son and DIL are totally on the case and she is about to start psychotherapy once a week and they are also seeing someone about how to cope with the situation. It has obviously come as a shock although not totally unexpected.
I just wondered if any other Gransnetters have experience in this sort of situation? Is there anything we can do to help without interfering? I adore this girl as she is my first DGD and we are going there for Christmas.
Any pointers gratefully received

Hithere Wed 07-Dec-22 15:34:14

Hang in there!
Getting a diagnosis this fast is key

As soon as coping skills are in place, it will get better

Theexwife Wed 07-Dec-22 15:47:28

Treat her the same as you always have done. Having a label does not change who she is, it just allows her access to learn coping skills.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 07-Dec-22 15:48:36

Our GC is a high functioning autistic teen.

Just love your GD and accept her and her ways, take her lead.

Getting a diagnosis is a good start, she will now be entitled to extra help where needed at school.

We had problems with teachers, usually supply not being aware of GC and their autism, our DiL laminated a sheet with a full explanation, her and DS’s contact details and GS’s keyworker

When GC is feeling exceptionally stressed in a lesson they just let the teacher read the sheet.

The main problem they encounter is with their peers as they are not part of any friendship group, fortunately their sibling attends the same school and is there for lunchtimes and the walk to and from school when necessary.

grannysue101 Wed 07-Dec-22 15:52:11

Thank you all. It's just a shock at first but so much better now they k now what they're dealing with. I'm just so sad that she hasn't any friends and probably won't have until she's a bit older and has learnt to adapt and socialise with 'normal' kids.

Hithere Wed 07-Dec-22 16:02:06

We are all normal, neurodivergent or neurotypical

I would stop putting importance in making friends so part of the pressure is off

The hardest thing about making friends with this condition is vibing with other people, it is so much harder

How about she concentrates in activities she likes?
Are there any clubs of an interest she has that she could join?
I bet there are many other teenagers in her situation and having a common interest may help them bond

MiniMoon Wed 07-Dec-22 16:10:03

My granddaughter is 15 and was diagnosed as high functioning autistic a couple of years ago. She had made friends with like minded people of her age. She belongs to a kayaking club and made a couple of good friends there.
She recently went back to school after having been home educated for several years. She has found herself a friend in another girl who has hearing loss.

Nannylovesshopping Wed 07-Dec-22 16:15:05

My dear granddaughter is also autistic, now eighteen and still has problems with friendships, she tries so hard to say the right thing at the right time, unfortunately some eighteen year olds are as mean as younger people, we keep telling her it will be alright eventually and it will be, for her, it can’t come too soon, she has an amazing family with great support for which I’m thankful 🙂

Ali23 Wed 07-Dec-22 16:29:17

Jessica Kingsley publishers produce some great stuff for children with autism and their families. This might be a good place to start.
There are sooo many people of all ages and stages on the autistic spectrum in both my and DHs family. In some way or other, each has found their niche. As a granny, the best advice i can give is to accept her as she is and remember if she chooses to go off on her own at xmas, it’s because she wants to and is happier that way . Good luck.

BlueBelle Wed 07-Dec-22 16:34:44

nannyloveshopping ❤️
Granny Sue treat her the same as you ve always treated her she’s the same young lady you ve always known and loved
She will be taught ways of handling situations its certainly a good idea to join a club or group of anything shes good at or I ntetested in

Aveline Wed 07-Dec-22 16:38:10

What do you mean by psychotherapy? That particular approach is actually contraindicated in autism.
Addressing the underlying anxiety and thus managing the autism is more useful and practical.
She's still your DGD. Nothing has changed.

Grandma70s Wed 07-Dec-22 16:39:07

My 13-year-old grandson has also been diagnosed with high functioning autism. He seems pretty ‘normal’ to me, but I don’t see a lot of him, because we live at opposite ends of the country. I tend to think it might be a fashionable diagnosis for those who don’t quite fit the norm.

The only unusual thing I have ever noticed is that he doesn’t get excited by the things that most kids get excited about. He takes life very quietly, rather as if he is outside looking in.. He was at a very high-achieving school (private) but found it too stressful, so he has been moved to a good comprehensive where he is less conspicuous and seems much happier so far. When he was at the previous school he missed quite a lot of days - he just wouldn’t go. The school was very helpful and sympathetic, but he couldn’t cope with the competitive atmosphere.

He enjoys sports, especially football and go-karting, and he loves his cat.

Aveline Wed 07-Dec-22 16:45:11

Have you see the book 'All cats have Asperger's?' Also 'All dogs have ADHD'.
Both spot on.
I'm being facetious but cats are particularly good pets for people with autism. I have also heard very good results from a small charity that matches ASD people to specific dogs. Cats and dogs are uncomplicated friends for people.

grannysue101 Wed 07-Dec-22 17:05:46

Thank you all for your helpful comments. It's just so good to know there are plenty of others out there. Funnily enough, she wants a cat but they already have a dog so will have to tread carefully there. I will certainly look at those books. I may have got the word psychotherapy wrong. I think she is a child psychologist. She is also at a pressurised grammar school and is changing schools anyway after Christmas. She hates her present one so much that the new one can't be any worse! Thanks again for all your input. It is so comforting and I'm sure we'll all come out the other side. Anyway, I can't wait to see them all at Christmas.
One final thing, DGD has a younger sister who is beginning to play up as she isn't getting so much attention. Families eh?!

Aveline Wed 07-Dec-22 17:35:43

There isn't 'another side'. Autism is for life. It's not necessarily a negative thing. With the right support, environment ultimately job and potentially partner, she'll be fine. Don't worry. Accept her as she is and be a consistent loving Gran.

Lathyrus Wed 07-Dec-22 17:50:17

I think friendship is a bit different when you’re autistic. Often what is meant is someone alongside you, doing the same thing. Or not even alongside you literally. Computer games websites where you can play a game with people, talk mostly about the game and also turn them off when you want are good friendships.

Or getting together with people doing an activity together works when the focus and the talk is on the activity.

It’s been a real learning curve for me to realise that withdrawal isn’t the same as rejection and that togetherness can mean just knowing someone is there, rather than communicating with them😬 I think the big challenge has been to realise that my idea of what makes my life good isn’t the same as theirs.

Aveline Wed 07-Dec-22 18:00:58

That's the key Lathyrus

LadyHonoriaDedlock Wed 07-Dec-22 21:42:44

Any experience? I lived it, when I was 13!

It's a very difficult few years around that age. It will get easier, just give her as much support as you feel able, without forcing her. There are support networks for young people like her that didn't exist 55 years ago. Therapy may or may not work but don't be too disappointed if it doesn't.

Fleurpepper Wed 07-Dec-22 21:56:11

My brother was 85 last week. A absent minded, wonderful professor- who did a PhD at Grenoble Uni in 1963-64, when we didn't even know what IT was?

No diagnosis then- but he clearly was different. He didn't like sport, prefered classical music and wrote and read poetry. Hugely intelligent, as no one else was- and it was what it was.

It is only when I watched Rainman that it 'jumped on me' that he was the same (but not so evident). It has made his life sometimes difficult, but also amazing in so many ways, and he is much loved and admired by many.

Hope you can see all the positives, stay calm and encourage without forcing 'normality'.

Fleurpepper Wed 07-Dec-22 21:57:01

Have you read 'the curious incident of the dog in the night time'- just such an eye opener.

nanna8 Wed 07-Dec-22 23:14:58

It is good that they can help these young people now. I have a daughter who would come into that category and she is very, very bright. Bright enough to realise things were NQR and she is married and living a good life. It is hard on the parents when they are young, really hard but you get through it with a great deal of heartache and stress in our case. That daughter became a Christian and that made a huge difference. I can’t explain it here but she became loving, gentle and considerate of others almost overnight. Praise the Lord. Hard to explain and I know that opens this post to the usual ridicule and scorn but that was how it was.

LadyHonoriaDedlock Wed 07-Dec-22 23:15:55

By the way, it's important to remember that there's nothing wrong with being autistic. It's just a different way of perception. Regard it as a gift, not a disability.

BigBertha1 Thu 08-Dec-22 07:22:58

My granddaughter is high functioning autistic too and teenage years were difficult. She is a young woman now with a university degree, a job, her own flat and a fiance. It does get better. I hope the psychotherapy goes well.

MawtheMerrier Thu 08-Dec-22 08:25:36

My brother was 85 last week. A absent minded, wonderful professor- who did a PhD at Grenoble Uni in 1963-64, when we didn't even know what IT was?
No diagnosis then- but he clearly was different. He didn't like sport, prefered classical music and wrote and read poetry. Hugely intelligent, as no one else was- and it was what it was

Not sure of the relevance of IT (which was in fact first given its name in 1958) but whether or not your brother was high functioning autistic is very little to do with autism. But perhaps you just meant to emphasis it.
My DH was very much what you describe as are many men and women I know. Preferring music and classical music to sport is hardly a diagnosis!
Whether Rain Man did the understanding of Autism any favours is debatable. It is a film about two conditions — autism and Savant Syndrome. Not all autistic persons are savants, in fact only one in 10 autistic persons have any savant abilities, let alone the prodigious skills of Raymond Babbitt.
From The Guardian
”Many say that Rain Man is now damaging to autism awareness, and I see their point,” says the autism advocate Chris Bonnello of Autistic Not Weird, who has Asperger’s syndrome. The film, he believes, “should be regarded as a piece of history now”. When I put this question to Bonnello’s Facebook community, views were mixed. Although some enjoyed Rain Man, many found it “dated” and “inaccurate”. One individual on the spectrum called it “the Apu of autism ... despite not being malicious in its portrayal, it’s still a poor representation and a stereotype.”

Aveline Thu 08-Dec-22 08:40:57

The problem with Rainman was that he displayed all the possible signs of ASD. Most people on the spectrum reflect that it is a spectrum with an infinite variety of combinations of behaviours and, sometimes, none. I've seen people who at first sight I didn't think had autism then some form of life stress appeared and, bam! the obvious signs reappeared.
In our diagnostic service the average age of referral was 38 and the oldest diagnosed was 84. I actually prefer to say recognised rather than diagnosed which 'medicalises' a condition. Note condition not disease or illness. Not is it necessarily a disability. Some people on the spectrum have called it, for them, a superability. It certainly predisposes some to particular careers of which IT is one but also engineering and architecture although people with autism can be found in all walks of life. 1:100 people. Chances are we all know several people with autism and the world is the better for it.