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Advice on getting alone time
  • Elise
    Posts: 1

    We suspect our daughter has PDA but has not been diagnosed yet (she is 2 years old and exhibits many common symptoms). One thing that is particularly hard is her strong attachment to me (Mum). Today when I tried to have a shower she had a full blow meltdown that lasted for 45 minutes, she was particularly disturbed seeing me in a towel rather than fully clothed. Does anyone have any advice for how to get the little one to cope better when I am not around?

    Many thanks in advance,

  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,151
    Hi Elise, welcome to the forum.

    I’m not sure how much help I can be, others may have better ideas, but have you tried leaving your daughter something of yours to cuddle like a t-shirt when you need to do something, so she can still smell you? Perhaps build up the time gradually that you spend away from her too ie. 5/10/15mins etc; whether it’s popping to a different room or going out and leaving her with family or friends.

    Two is quite young for a PDA diagnosis to be given by a clinician however keeping records of the behaviours that you see will definitely help you when going forward for diagnosis in the future. Here’s a link with further information:
  • webbwebb
    Posts: 2,577
    Hi, could it be that she dislikes the shower? Or something about the shower room?
    Is she the same when you have a bath? Does she like having a shower?

    Children who are on the Autism Spectrum have higher than average levels of anxiety and do not like to be separated from their 'main carer giver', particularly at such a very young age.
    They can also dislike strange noises, such as the shower water or the expel air fan or the echo in the shower room or even seeing mummy step into the shower and close a door!

    It can be hard to work out why a child can behave so extremely to something we find so ordinary but she is very young and if on the spectrum she will have her reasons.

    Could your partner sit with her in the shower room whilst you have a quick shower so she doesn't get distressed?
    OR could you take a bath or a bath with her? (Only till she is 4 or 5 years old)

    Hope you can find out what is causing the problem.

  • June67
    Posts: 812
    You are not alone in having your child have meltdowns when you leave the room, change clothes to have a shower etc. My youngest has had similar issues and obsessions. For a long time, I was not 'allowed' to go downstairs or get washed and dressed until he had had a suitably long cuddle with me in my snuggly pyjamas. At times I had to change back into my PJ's to move on. He was a little older about 5/6 at the time but could not move forward in the morning until he had ticked this box and was suitably distracted by his favourite kids TV show; which we recorded episodes of so he didn't miss it. It has taken a long time and him maturing a little to get to a point where I can now wake before he is awake shower and dress. We still have to go through complex routines to help him get through the transitions from sleeping to waking, waking to moving downstairs, moving downstairs to eating breakfast, breakfast to getting washed and dressed, coming down to brush teeth and hair and get ready to leave the house to go to school etc. Transitions from one thing to another are often tricky for ASD/PDA children and have to be handled carefully to reduce stress.
    They often need to take control in order to feel 'safe'. I hope you will have better luck as you daughter gets older and moves beyond the terrible two's but if she does have ASD this could be quite some time. I agree that she may need support to separate from you at this stage in her development as she is becoming increasingly aware that you and she are separate entities and may be scared by this, having other carers around to keep her busy/distracted while you shower may be a solution so she is able to be less dependent on you going forward. If not the bathing together could work for a while but might just 'kick the can' forward until she is older. Good luck keeping fingers crossed that this is a phase.

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