Lynda is a Mum from the Vale of Glamorgan whose child has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). She has been doing well at school until recently when she started to get distressed about a scratch on her hand. She’s asked A Problem Shared… for advice.
My daughter Kim has Autism and has started to focus on a scratch on her hand for the last week. She tells the teachers it’s hurting and has also been seen biting her hand this week – we’re worried about this type of anxious behaviour, and how she’s fixating on it.
Unfortunately, her memory and speed at which she can re-call words that she used to know has also deteriorated. What should we do?
Our FamilyPoint advice to Lynda
We’re sorry to hear that your daughter has been unsettled by the scratch on her hand this week, and that you are concerned about a possible deterioration in her re-call. In the first instance, you might wish to make an appointment with your GP in order to rule out any medical causes. If the GP cannot find any obvious under-lying medical causes, you might want to ask for a referral to a relevant assessment service in your area.
You mentioned that your daughter’s focus on a scratch and the biting of her hand is a new thing, you could check with staff at her school if there have been any changes in routine that might have triggered this behaviour. Perhaps a teacher with whom your daughter feels comfortable could speak to her about the scratch on her hand and why it seems to be causing her distress. An adviser from the National Autistic Society suggested that some people with ASD can become alarmed at very small changes, including visible physical ones. She felt it might be helpful to explain the process of a cut or scratch, how it scabs over, and eventually heals and goes away, if you feel this is an appropriate thing to do.
I have listed a couple of organisations that may be useful, apologies if you’re already aware of them:
The National Autistic Society Cymru
The National Autistic Society Cymru works with people living with autism across Wales. We provide a wide range of quality, personalised support services. You can call them on 029 20629317.
NAS Cardiff and Vale Branch
The NAS has a local Cardiff and Vale branch. They are a voluntary parent group that meet every couple of months on Saturdays in Barry (Pioneer Hall) – the next meeting is at 10am on 16th April. You can see their Facebook page here or email them at Nascardiff@nas.org.uk
Another very active parent group is Autism Puzzles which has up-to-date information on their Facebook Page and lots of activities for parents and for children.
We are open Monday – Thursday 6pm – 10pm and Friday & Saturday 10am – 2pm.
Do you have any advice for Lynda?
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