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My Daughter was Diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism

Updated on February 5, 2019
Charlotte Doyle profile image

Charlotte likes pretty things, and she loves the beach, sushi, coffee and seashells.

My Daughter’s Symptoms

My daughter had a few symptoms that I never understood from infancy to her childhood. She is currently ten years old. When she was a baby, she used to bang her head on her mattress to fall asleep. I was a new mom, so I wasn’t sure what was normal or what wasn’t, and I just assumed it was a way that she used to help her fall asleep. She used to walk on her tip-toes quite a bit. She even had some special shoes created for her that were supposed to help her prevent from toe walking. At school, I would get calls from her teacher that she was crying because some frilly part of her shirt was bothering her, or was ‘too itchy’. I had to come to the school with a new shirt for her to wear. My daughter was also painfully shy. If I ask her to get a napkin from someone when we’re in a fast food restaurant, she has a very intense fear of speaking to someone else and won’t approach the person. When she is busy on her tablet or watching television, she rocks back and forth for a long period of time. I noticed that she has been pulling on her hair and sometimes even pulling it. When we went to events that were a bit loud, she would seem really disturbed and full of anxiety. When I took her for her child wellness test, the doctor gave me a diagnosis. They told me that without even fully assessing her, and just viewing her rocking motion, they felt that she had high functioning autism. I didn’t know that this was, so I had to do a bit of research on it.

High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s?

High functioning autism isn’t a diagnosis that is considered official. It may mean that the person has mild symptoms on the autism spectrum. It may mean that the person has an intelligence quotient higher than seventy. (I haven’t had my daughter’s intelligence quotient rated yet, but will be doing that soon). A person with high functioning autism can navigate their school and work life in a progressive, successful way with a bit of extra work. And sometimes high functioning autism can mean someone who at some point had Asperger Syndrome. People with high functioning autism may have anxiety or sensory issues that may affect their daily life. I was confused about the difference between high functioning autism and Asperger syndrome. Apparently, people with Asperger syndrome have anxiety more often than those with high functioning autism. I feel as if my daughter has severe anxiety to the point where she is pulling her hair, so this needs to be addressed as well. From what I understand, my daughter doesn’t have any significant delays in language or speech.

How to Raise Her

It’s important for me to be aware of the sounds that are surrounding my daughter. It’s important for me to show love and affection in ways that are comfortable to her, even though she’s not much of a ‘hugger’ or as affectionate as my son. If she is good at something, it’s essential to nurture that. At this time, my daughter love coding, origami, and drawing, so I make sure that she has access to a game online for coding called Scratch, and paper for origami and pencils and colored pencils for drawing. If she is disturbed by something, I am careful about how I approach her so that she doesn’t feel more stressed. I give praise when she is doing something well, and try not to talk loud or in a distressed voice when I need to redirect her behavior. I try to give her privacy as well. I don’t force social situations, but I have started to homeschool her and involve her in church activities on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings so that she can socialize a bit without feeling overwhelmed. I feel like the best thing I did for her was start homeschooling because she is able to pace herself with her work, and she is able to challenge herself as she feels comfortable without being bullied by her peers or without having to compare herself to others.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Charlotte Doyle

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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      18 months ago from UK

      It is good that you are aware of your daughter's situation now. I have friends who only found out their children were like this in their teens or even at 18. The earlier you know the more support you can give. Your daughter is very fortunate to have a mother who is so caring and supportive.

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