My daughter was home schooled until mid 2nd grade. At that time we put her in school because she needed more interactions than I could give her because of taking care of my mom. She wasn't able to get out and do things as much as our older sons had. She did competitive cheer and had a circle of friends that way but she was always extremely shy, emotional, etc. She did great in school, loved it and continued to do her cheer. We got her dx as high functioning ASD in December but she still had no problems at school. Educationally she was great, she didn't melt down at school and actually thrived in the routine and structure. When we told the school, they said there was no need for a 504 because she had no issues. If she ever did, they would work with us right away.
This past summer she changed cheer gyms and while she was on a team with her age peers, the gym is very much into "building champions" as they call it. Meaning they work them hard, very hard, with physical conditioning. She would get upset during practice, but a lot of kids would too. One day, in early August, after a two hour practice, as punishment for it not being a good practice, the coach made the girls do 50 burpee / backhandsprings. My daughter made it through exactly 18 and then had a complete meltdown. Other girls were almost throwing up, some were crying, but none like my daughter.
From that time on, she would say she had a stomach ace on the way to practice, she would tear up when it started and during conditioning she would cry. She sat out a couple times. For a few weeks, it progressively got worse. She wanted to go, but she was so scared they'd have to condition hard again. Then, they started conditioning at the beginning AND the end of practice. My daughter lost it. She would be fine, but as we were driving there, she'd get nauseous, start breathing funny, and it got the point of her almost hyperventilating. She still wanted to do it, she just couldn't.
It all hit the fan the first week of school, along with transitioning to 4th grade, new teacher, new kidsâ€¦ all of which can throw kids with ASD off. At cheer, that week, she couldn't go to practice. I mean, she wanted to, even if she saw they weren't conditioning, she would cry if she started to walk to the floor. She'd watch them, but couldn't bring herself to go. If you tried to force the issue, breakdown. That Saturday, the coach took her out to the floor, was going to let her calm down but she kept losing it, parents complained, she screamed, I sat and cried. I couldn't take it and had to go get her and take her home. She was so upset, she barely slept for days, I mean like 3 hours in 3 days.
That Monday, we couldn't get her to go to school, she lost it. Again on Tuesday, she stayed home. We were in contact with the school trying to get them to help us, because remember, they said IF there were any issues that arose at school they would help. Right? Wrong! We tried for 1.5 weeks to get her to school, even to the point of forcing her out of the car and leaving her in a meltdown. The day they said she was being manipulative and would get in trouble if she cried again, we withdrew her. At that point, we needed to focus on getting our daughter back.
Meanwhile, cheerâ€¦. the owner called the Monday after her big breakdown (the same day she started avoiding school) and told us that our daughter was wanted on the team, they needed her because of her talent and wanted to make her comfortable (they know she has ASD). They offered that she didn't have to condition anymore if that would make her comfortable and able to participate. We talked with my daughter and she said yes, happily! The first practice back the same thing started to happen but she was reminded she didn't have to condition. She made it through 1 practice, barely. After that, she just couldn't get over the fear, anxiety, trauma, I don't know whatâ€¦ but we tried for another week or so, she just can't get past it.
So now, our daughter, who had come a long way socially, thrived at school and at her sport, is now back at homeâ€¦ schooling, she withdrew from her activity, is losing touch with her friends and is having a hard time sleeping and just seems very down.
We have been seeing a behavioral pediatrician and a psychologist for a while, the psychologist mainly just meets with my husband and me to work on strategies for her. Honestly, I don't think it's been helping much. The first week she avoided school, the behavioral ped put her on Trazodone to help with sleep. It did help but she's still been down and withdrawing more because of (we think anyway) anxiety. They took her off trazodone and she's been on zoloft since Wednesday.
Tomorrow we're meeting with another psychologist who deals with anxiety and does CBT. We are having a consultation with him and I'm really hoping this will help her. It breaks my heart that in the last 6 weeks, she has hurt so much.
I'd love to hear any thoughts, suggestions, success stories of you or your kids, prayers, anything. I'm truly hoping the zoloft is only temporary as that's kind of the thought process but I just don't know.
Thanks for listening!