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flight or fight instinct
  • My son is 11 and undiagnosed with PDA as it is not a diagnosis in the USA. He is in a special behavioral unit but whenever he is upset and demands are placed on him, he escalates more and more when the teachers try de-escalation techniques. Then he tries to run away to avoid being placed in the 'calm down' room. Now the school police officer is being involved and twice my son has hit him to get away. They insist that they will eventually break through and teach him to sit and calm down, but I don't think it's ever going to work. His flight or fight instinct just overwhelms all reason at that point. Any advice? He also doesn't have an autism diagnosis but I think he is mildly on the spectrum as he shows many Asperger characteristics.
  • Holly59
    Posts: 1,896

    My son is 11 and undiagnosed with PDA as it is not a diagnosis in the USA. He is in a special behavioral unit but whenever he is upset and demands are placed on him, he escalates more and more when the teachers try de-escalation techniques. Then he tries to run away to avoid being placed in the 'calm down' room. Now the school police officer is being involved and twice my son has hit him to get away. They insist that they will eventually break through and teach him to sit and calm down, but I don't think it's ever going to work. His flight or fight instinct just overwhelms all reason at that point. Any advice? He also doesn't have an autism diagnosis but I think he is mildly on the spectrum as he shows many Asperger characteristics.



    Hi !
    Welcome to the Forum,

    Read through this link , there are numerous links to advise and support.

    http://www.pdasociety.org.uk/forum#/discussion/5529/getting-a-child-to-school-

    I presume you have have looked at the PDA Questionnaire ?
    Go straight to whoever you are dealing with. Explain the situation . Get them to research PDA and listen to your evidence .
    Get your MP / Councillor involved .
    Tell them about the PDA Petition going through the Scottish Parliament at present . Get them to watch the PDA Webinar .

    Make sure you get an urgent referral to CAMHS or out of area referral if PDA is not accepted in your area .

    This is Absolutly Shocking using the Police on a terrified , anxiety off the scale young man as as a way to sort out problem behaviour . Nothing shocks me anymore .

    http://www.pdasociety.org.uk/resources/awareness-matters-booklet

    Very useful all the information is in this booklet.

    Please come back and keep us updated.

    Presume you are in England ?

    http://www.pdasociety.org.uk/contact

    If you email the Trustees someone like Webb will pick this up and you can talk in Confidence to them about your appaling situation .

    Pat xx
  • webbwebb
    Posts: 2,385
    Hi cdelabedoyere

    Hello and welcome to the PDA Forum, I am so sorry to hear how your son is being treated in the Behavioural Unit. I hope we can give you some advice so that the situation for you and your son in the USA gets a whole lot better as quickly as possible!

    The behaviour Unit are treating your son like he has 'bad/naughty' behaviour - this is wrong.
    From what you have said he has a Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified - this is the closest diagnosis in the USA to PDA.

    PDD-NOS is diagnosed in America and this diagnosis may help you to get the correct support in a school for children with High Functioning Autism.

    I urge you to go to your local medical practitioner and ask for a referral to a Development Centre that diagnosis Pervasive Development Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
    Your son needs to see a Specialist that can Assess his difficulties that have probably been present since birth but became apparent as he grow and failed to develop like his peers.

    Only through accurate diagnosis will those involved with your child (like his teachers or Education Authority) begin to use the correct strategies to keep your son calm and stop him from going into anxiety and panic.

    Everything you said in your post about anxiety and fight - flight is correct.
    The teachers need to address his anxiety with strategies before he reaches panic mode.
    They need to reduce their demands and give him a quiet place to retreat to before he panics (not when he panics).

    More importantly, your son will have Autism traits as PDA is an ASD. He will have Social Interaction and Social Communication Difficulties, just like other children with Asperger's Syndrome BUT these need assessing so that those involved in his care and education can understand him and manage him much more effectively.

    Please-

    1. Get a referral for your son to a Specialist in PDD and ASD (a Psychologist? Not sure who sees children for these disorders in America)
    2. Print out a copy of our Leaflets 'Recognising ASD's in The Early Years' - 'A Teachers Guide to PDA' - 'A Parents Guide to PDA' ---Take the first 2 into his school and give to the Managers, Head/Principal Of School and his Teachers.
    Just say I would like you to look at this information, I am going to get a referral for my son to be assessed for PDD/ASD. Please look at the strategies for this disorder and please try to implement a few to see if it will make a difference to his reactions and behaviours?

    Read as much as you can about PDA and complete the Extreme Demand Avoidance Questionnaire on our website. Try to implement some of the new strategies at home to see if his behaviour improves/his anxiety lowers.

    Please private message me if you want to.
    Please contact this American Support Group for advice -
    'PDA Matters'
    A link to their website is on our Resources section.

    Your child is not Naughty - He has a condition on the Autism Spectrum that needs assessing, diagnosing and then he will need different strategies/support in school OR a different type of school.

    Take Care and Take Action x
  • PDA_ASD_Parent
    Posts: 3,397

    My son is 11 and undiagnosed with PDA as it is not a diagnosis in the USA. He is in a special behavioral unit but whenever he is upset and demands are placed on him, he escalates more and more when the teachers try de-escalation techniques. Then he tries to run away to avoid being placed in the 'calm down' room. Now the school police officer is being involved and twice my son has hit him to get away. They insist that they will eventually break through and teach him to sit and calm down, but I don't think it's ever going to work. His flight or fight instinct just overwhelms all reason at that point. Any advice? He also doesn't have an autism diagnosis but I think he is mildly on the spectrum as he shows many Asperger characteristics.



    PDA is actually an autistic spectrum condition. Your son could have both Asperger's and PDA as it's possible to have 2 subtypes. You can't teach a child to sit and calm. If someone is overwhelmed they are physically unable. https://planetautismblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/what-does-a-meltdown-feel-like/

    They are trying to bend him to their will and this is guaranteed to make his behaviour worse and be very counterproductive. Ask them to read these:

    http://www.aettraininghubs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/5.2-strategies-for-teaching-pupils-with-PDA.pdf

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