Aspergers vs ODD ...and Slapping Self in Face

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by allhaileris, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    Quite a few of you have suggested that Eris may have Autism or Aspergers. We mentioned this to her teacher and she agreed, and as I learn more abotu Aspergers I'm thinking she's at the super high funtioning end of it all. But, I'm wondering if there are any tell tale signs of the differences? What are the things that stand out between the two?

    And then...
    Last night husband turned on the TV and Link was on showing some weird tribal dance stuff that had hundreds of mostly naked men on it. husband is a nudist, Eris has been comfy nude until just recently. When this came on she freaked out about it. Before I could go over and pull her away she slapped herself in the face a couple times. This is the first time I've seen it, but when I looked it up there were (yet again) some references to Autism. She does pick at herself a lot and I'm pretty sure she's a sensory seeker. I did tell husband that the show was inappropriate and I probably would've had the same reaction at the same age, mister nudie doesn't get it but tried to understand. So anyway, does anybody have any insight to this trait?
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My very high functioning Aspie has gone through stages of hitting himself in the face, hitting his head on the wall, hitting himself with rocks and sticks, etc.... Not sure if it is Aspie or Sensory, but he did it.

    Can you ask Eris how the nudity makes her FEEL? There are various charts about feelings you can use to help her communicate her feelings. Just a suggestion.

    Please help your husband to understand that nudity around the house, esp if it makes a child uncomfortable (and it will for many kids) IS a matter that teachers (or tdocs or other people) WILL report to CPS. I am NOT saying he is abusing her, just that if she mentions it to a mandated reported you may have to deal with CPS.


    Oh - we used risperdal to help my difficult child with the aggressive feelings that led to hitting himself and others. (On a positive note he is almost 17 and functioning pretty much as a totally normal teen!!)

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    ODD rarely if ever stands alone. Sounds Aspieish to me to slap herself. I'm not sure about the nudist stuff around an Aspie. They tend to be very morally righteous. Part of the disorder. Plus it could scare her. Frankly, nudist or not, I wouldn't want my naked hub around my female child. I think he could get in trouble with CPS, and you too. Is this her father? He's a sitting duck to be accused of sexual abuse. In fact, I'm not sure that walking around nude in front of a minor child, even if he doesn't touch her, wouldn't be seen as sexual abuse by a social worker. Don't know for sure, but it seems silly. He can at least wear shorts.
    Aspergers is my choice for the child. in my opinion she has the traits.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Nudist stuff around an Aspie - it's much the same as any other child, it really does come down to the child, how it's dealt with and how 'normal' it is in the child's environment. I'm speaking here purely in terms of how the child reacts to it.

    This reaction doesn't seem normal, under the circumstances especially. It could have been the quantity - OK, it was National Geographic stuff, I wouldn't have turned it off around my kids even though husband has been scrupulously careful to NOT be seen naked especially by his daughters. It does sound to me that several things are happening simultaneously:

    1) She's Aspie, or has Aspie traits;

    2) She felt very uncomfortable very suddenly, in ways she probably couldn't verbalise or express any other way;

    3) At some level she wasn't necessarily trying to punish herself, so much as distract herself from both the visuals and the feelings they raised;

    4) Which all means that maybe she is now beginning to have a problem with husband walking around naked, but doesn't know how to say it or deal with it.

    I stress - this is just my opinion, my 'vibe' if you will.

    I was possibly a borderline Aspie myself - I read everything I could get my hands on, stuff that kids just don't read these days. I really would read the phone book if there was nothing else. I would often read a dictionary. So naturally, I read every version of Dr Spock that came through the house - I had a lot of nephews and nieces who often stayed with us for extended periods, especially if they needed a bit of respite or my sisters needed some parenting classes from the resident expert (our mother).

    I remember Dr Spock discussing this - he found it an interesting topic. I cannot recall which edition this would have been, I do know he changed direction sometimes completely across his writings in child care. What I read on nudity in the environment and its effect on children - they often grew up to be more prudish, more restrictive. He said it was if the pendulum had to keep swinging. A restricted upbringing often had the next generation being far more permissive, with the pendulum swinging back. So a child raised with nudity would, at some point, insist on privacy, on covering up, on modesty. But if they continued with the modesty stuff as parents, they might find themselves struggling with children who happily disrobed to play in the mud.

    What I strongly recommend, at least until you get a handle on what is happening with Eris, is perhaps a modicum of moderation. She has just demonstrated a rather alarming reaction which could indicate she isn't as comfortable with husband's nudity as he might like to think.

    It's sad for him, I understand the desire for freedom, but his freedom shouldn't be at the expense of ANY child's peace of mind.

    I say this as a former nudist. husband & I used to regularly visit a local nude beach, in the days before we had children. Naturally we didn't go after we had easy child, because you don't expose a young baby to the fierce Aussie sun for the amount of time it took us to get to the place. It was a long way to walk, down a cliff path which would have been difficult to negotiate with a baby capsule. Then the babies came so quickly that it just never happened. By the time we would have headed back there, the kids would have been grossed out, they weren't used to other people nude and by that time, husband was paranoid about childrens' services people being called.

    However, in our childless days we were at the beach a few times when a couple turned up with their daughter, a lovely girl of maybe ten or a bit less. The little girl would wear a sarong, I recall, not so much to cover up but more as a plaything. She would strip off unselfconsciously, then maybe partly cover up in her play, just as unselfconsciously. Most of her cover-up was to protect her shoulders from the sun, rather than protect her body from eyes. I remember thinking, I hope we can raise our children to be as unselfconscious. Of course, we couldn't. I also don't know how much longer they were able to manage it - they were visitors from the country, not people I knew.

    One thing about nudity at this beach - it was very asexual. The people there would chat together, there was no touching, not even between married couples. Maybe a hand held out for support when climbing over rocks, but nothing more. Nobody ogled on the nude beach, but we would often be walking together back along the main beach (we had to walk past it and around the cliff to get to the nude beach) and the men would be leering at all the bikini-clad women. Nudity isn't sexy; it only becomes sexy when you cover bits up. It was quite bizarre.
    But that is the effect on adults. The effect on children, I can't say. Apart from that one time with this young girl, there were never any children on this beach. I do know that nudist clubs out in the country often had whole families there, including underage children. The clubs had a vested interest to ensure the safety of the children - they were watched carefully, guarded closely.

    Nude parents shouldn't be seen as abuse, especially if it is something the child is accustomed to and comfortable with. But unfortunately, if someone wants to make trouble, they will use this to do it. All it takes is an over-zealous teacher or social worker asking awkward questions. Let's say that at some point, Eris is caught up with a case of a teacher molesting a student - maybe not her, maybe someone in her class. They bring the kids in and ask questions. Has she ever seen an adult man, naked?
    Or maybe not Eris - maybe at some future stage, she brings a friend home for a sleepover, and friend reports (falsely) something which alerts authorities to ask questions. It might begin with a trivial, false accusation retracted minutes later, but if it alerts anyone to the news that husband walks around naked in front of under-age girls, he could have problems.

    I know that legally they SAY a person is innocent until proved guilty, but where little girls are concerned, naked men do not get much faith in their innocence. It's sad that something that truly IS innocent doesn't get much chance. But then - if a pair of undies can provide so much more reassurance to authorities, then maybe that is preferable. It would be a lot better than the upheaval which could result, if CPS get sent in with guns blazing.

  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It's clear that Eris is not comfortable with-nudity. She may not ever be. Your husband has to understand that and work with-it. It's not about him. It's got to be about her, or anyone else in the household who is uncomfortable about it. Living with-other people means just that--living with-other people and respecting their space and boundaries. It seems like you two may have to just wander around in your bedroom with-the door locked until the kids are grown and out of the house. And if he wants to go to a camp, don't invite Eris! :)
    My kids were okay with-it until they got to be about 4, and then got very uptight, which is developmentally normal from what I've seen and read. easy child is 17 and only now is coming full circle, probably to prepare herself for the yrs of studio life drawing she will have to go through as a college art major. (She will not be posing; she will be drawing others.)

    difficult child did the slapping-himself-in-the-face thing a few yrs back but he outgrew it. At the time, I thought of it more as a boy thing than an Aspie thing. It really irritated me; I don't like physical violence and the loud sound that goes with-slapping, and I found that the more I protested, the more he did it so I'd simply ask him to leave the room or I would get up and leave. I think he was just experimenting. husband made a joke out of it--"Hey, that's MY job!"
    But I don't think it was a reaction to anything in particular, and he stopped doing it.

    Wish I could help more.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Terry, I love your post. It says what I tried to say, but probably didn't get across. Shows what a smart lady you are :)
    Children are conservative, and we can't change that. They prefer parents who follow the rules and it can scare them if they don't. I actually think both of my kids would be freaked out by a nude male walking around. My daughter is 12 and it would horrify her. She's not an Aspie, but I know she'd be begging husband to stop...and she wouldn't be bringing any of her friends home, so I wouldnt have a clue who she was hanging with. Aspie son still covers his face when he sees sex in movies (and he's 15). I reiterate that in the US, this a CPS sexual abuse case waiting to happen even if there is no sexual abuse. I was told that forcing a child to watch an XXX rated movie is considered Sexual Abuse--you are on unsteady grounds here. Frankly husband sounds a bit too stubborn in an "it's all about me" way in my opinion. It's not. He either has two children or he has married a woman with kids. He needs to practice his nudism away from the children and I agree NOT to bring the kids to the beach with him. They have plenty of time to decide whether or not to be nudists when they are eighteen. You can't have daughter slapping herself--in Aspie language that means "I hate it, but I don't know how to express it so I'll take it out of myself." It's not good. And I also agree that kids were made to rebel. You have a nudist in the house, you are likely to have the most anal, modest child as a young adult (not a BAD thing in my opinion). If you raise the chid with too much strictness, you can almost bet the farm that the child will be a hellion and break every rule you put into place. That's why the Preacher's Son has such a bad reputation :)
    Terry, again, wonderful way of explaining. You rock. But I already knew that :)
  7. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Yup! Been there done that! difficult child 1 does it when he's stressing, angry and can't verbalize what's bothering him (which has resulted in an ambulance ride to the psychiatric ER!), etc.

    I want to put your mind at ease. Since you're at the beginning of the "diagnostic trail", you're probably reading tons of stuff and getting at least a little nervous (most likely considering slapping yourself to see if it might releave your OWN stress! ;)).

    Quite often, Aspies eventually learn to adapt and function beautifully in this big ol' world. Although they're on the dreaded spectrum, there's a lot to work with via training, therapy, intervention etc.

    Just wanted to brighten the picture for you! Talk to her about her feelings when your see her getting so upset. With our kids, it turned out that they couldn't differentiate between anger, frustration, fear or anxiety. They just "felt bad" or had a "bad feeling". We didn't discover this via the professionals by the way (I'm on a "I hate the psychiatric world" binge right now), it was being diligent and alert to what was impacting them at the moment.

    One of the best pieces of advise that I can give you is: try to identify the trigger - What set her off? What was going on that may have gotten under her skin? This way you can decide if it's a good idea to avoid something (sensory - a certain sound, fabrics, visual stims, etc.) OR if it's gradual tolerance (another child that has some sort of issue) OR "let's find a way to deal with it (certain loud noises would trigger difficult child 2 to run like H-E-double hockey sticks - so we tried different things to do if something startled him) OR "beat them at their own game" (difficult child 1 would rock on the back legs of his chair so far that it scared the prunes out of his teacher - I got a "travel pillow" that we tucked behind his backside so he couldn't slide back enough in the chair to tilt it).

    The hard part is that teachers, administrators etc. RARELY have to opportunity to identify triggers, whether it be too big a class, or another child having issues, etc.

    Keep in mind - it's hard, but not impossible!

  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Something that might help - we were given a poster with cartoon faces on it, like a lot of little circles. Each face has a different expression, there must be over a hundred on the poster, and each little face is labelled to help identify the expression. With something like this I could ask difficult child 3 to point to the face that matches his feelings.

    Something else difficult child 3 had - his aide at school made it for him - was like a toy clock made from a paper plate. Only instead of the cardboard hands pointing to the time, there's only one 'hand' and he can move it to indicate his feelings at that moment. We had this stuck up on the kitchen cupboard so he could go to it and change it to whatever feelings he wanted to express.

    Another version of this that can be fun to make as well as fun to use - get that craft fridge magnet stuff, the flexible black rbber type. Then draw a whole lot of different facial features - smily mouth, angry mouth, narrow eyes, happy eyes, frowning eyebrows, arched eyebrows. Again, set this up on the fridge or freezer, but the child chooses the elements from the available options to make a face on the fridge to match the current mood.

    Our fridge is covered in various magnets. The freezer has fridge magnets from every place we've been to, but the fridge has educational/therapeutic magnets. And fun ones. So we've got the magnetic dress-up dolls on the fridge, the magnetic poetry lines, magnetic games and photo frames.

    I guess this is also connected to husband and his love of nudism needing to be compromised for the benefit of the children; we have compromised on the "Home Beautiful" magazine ideal for instead a cluttered, busy place which was kindly described by one therapist as "an enriched learning environment" and by another friend as "napalm the lot and start again - it will be easier."

    But it IS an enriched environment, we have allowed this 'mess' for the kids, to meet their needs. Behind the toilet door is the intensive learning space - if difficult child 3 needs to check the Periodic Table, he goes into the toilet. It's also where we have a rotating stack of Escher prints on display.

    If you can provide an environment like this for Eris and if husband can come on board this much - then putting on a pair of knickers will be an easy next step.

    I think it's time to cover up, at least around the kids. At least for now. She will be grown and out of the house in 15 years, husband can wait until then to channel Terry Jones. In the meantime - get husband to rediscover some long-forgotten Scottish heritage and put him in a kilt.

  9. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    Thanks all, this pretty much summed up what I was thinking. I think she's also getting the virus I had last week which made her extra cranky that night.

    I'm SOO not a nudist. I don't care what others do around me (I've gone to Burning Man a couple times, campouts that are clothing optional), but I am always clothed. It's interesting the comparasion between a modest parent and a nudist child and vice versa. My parents were "open" with their bodies and it did freak me out a little, but eventually they covered up. I'll have to ask husband if his mom always stayed clothed.

    I did talk to her without husband there and comforted her and let her know it was okay to feel the way she did. I'll have to remind husband to keep his shorts near the bed and put them on if he needs to talk to her before getting ready in the morning. He just doens't think about it (I guess).
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Can you show him this thread? I can sympathise with him feeling that not only does he not want to feel restricted, he doesn't want the children to grow up feeling unnecessarily inhibited either, but we can't always have what we want in this, because human nature is far more complex and we have to also deal with the many people who make the rules, NOT having been brought up as he has.

    Also, I think the main lead here, especially from husband's viewpoint of freedom from inhibition, has to be Eris and how she is reacting. If she reacted like this then despite husband's openness, she IS inhibited by it and the very opennesss is causing her distress.

    Her extreme reaction may be an Aspie thing - they do pick up 'rules' very quickly and not just from home - or it may simply be the usual reaction of a kid starting to swing the pendulum back towards conservatism.

    I suspect my husband will want to comment on this also, if he gets a moment today at work. Maybe from one male (if former) nudist to another, there could be something of value for your husband?

  11. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    Sorry, people, I haven't a clue what to say.

    I DO think a man has be very careful these days, especially in these times when our cultures are so sensitive to anything that smacks of sexual impropriety around children. I don't believe your husband means any harm but he is nevertheless causing it but by distressing your daughter.

    It's a behavioural extension of my approach to offensive language. By my definition anything that offends your listeners/readers is offensive language. There are words in common Australian usage that I am careful not to use in this forum because they are considered offensive elsewhere.

    I won't offend anyone here with my behaviour because there is almost no chance that we will ever meet, if we did meet, I might albeit unintentionally.

    Your husband IS offending your daughter's sensibilities by wandering around in the nude, therefore he needs to stop it or at least keep 'it' in the parent's room. If she walks in on him there then it's her fault, if she meets him the family room when he's naked it's his.

    Marg's Man
  12. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    K hits/slaps herself when she is overstimmed or under a lot of stress. She is not on the Spectrum. But she does have sensory processing disorder (SPD). I think a lot of our kids may do it out of frustration regardless of the diagnosis. If k has too much chaos in her head she will slap herself in the face.
    Our kids our OK with being naked. We have never made a big deal out of it. We don't hide it, but we do not flaunt it. I walk around my room, or I will help the girls shower etc, if they need it... But husband will walk out to get dressed and they are in the room. He just quickly gets dressed. We try not to draw attention.
    We make them wear clothes now if people are over when swimming. If it is just us, they swim naked some times! They love it...
    But we talk about respecting out bodies and comfort etc.
    When K hits herself, I ask her if she is upset, if not, did it feel good, hurt... why is she frustrated.
    Try not to get her more upset but find out why...

    Ahhh Burning Man!!! so long ago...
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008