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PDA and schooling demands
  • mumof4
    Posts: 6
    Hi everyone

    I am new to the forum, I have 4 children, which all have different special needs. My youngest son has autism, adhd, semantic pragmantic disorder and has demand avoidance issues. He is due to have a full core assessment from his disabled social worker who thinks Marcus has PDA too.

    Today I have really struggled to get him to his special school (he attends 3 days a week and 2 days at a mainstream locally). This morning hes been very anixious and really didnt want to go - told me that he cant cope there - with the kids the teachers and the work. The noise for marcus is a big issue too as he has extremely sensitive hearing.

    I rang the school to make them aware that he isnt coping and needs support - so they are going to meet him off the bus today.

    The thing is if he isnt coping then he will become extremely distressed and that always ends in voilence - He needs restraining often at school which he doesnt like.

    I just wondered if anyone has experienced this and how they managed to over come it. We have a strong routine in the morning so he can cope with his autism but this doesnt help when hes like he is this morning.

    Many thanks

  • Hi Amanda and welcome to the forum.

    I just wondered if it was one school or both that he is having difficulties at? I get impression from your post that it is the special school that is the problem. If it is one school only then what is different at the other school? Is it much noisier at one than the other? or is it a particular person/ child that makes the noise (or a person that he does not like?) Does he get teased at the mainstream school, because he goes to another school? Then in theory his reluctance is because he is showing you he does not like it at the special school (but in an indirect way?) Not saying this is case, but we all know children can be cruel about things like that.

    Is meeting him off the school bus the only thing they have talked about doing because that is only going to work once or twice, especially if root of problem is not known.

    I have always tried to keep open communication with my sons school and asked them whether they have noticed a pattern of behaviour. This is sometimes obvious as his behaviour is generally worse at, for example, the start of the term. I try to speak face to face as they cannot easily avoid giving me more information this way. My son has a lot of problems at school and with violence - they are talking about positive handling training for staff as I think now he is bigger they struggle to cope with him when he is kicking and hitting out(can I have some of that training too please! :wink: )
    Sometimes, well actually quite a lot of time, we and the school find it difficult to see or predict when he will be happy and co-operative and when he will not co-operate. I think the only consistency is a need to avoid people directing him. :lol:
    This is probably not too helpful, but I can sympathise and hope you do find the answer to making him happy at school again soon...
  • mumof4
    Posts: 6
    Hi Debbie

    Sorry I didnt make it clearer. He has always had major problems at school which is why he needs a special school.

    For the good part we cant predict what sets him off he just doesnt cope at all in environments that make demands from him. Today he has gone to his mainstream school and again wouldnt leave his bed until last minute - he hasnt fought with me which is good as normally he freaks out and the voilence and the hiding under the bed start.

    Marcus isnt aware of kids at all and he doesnt tend to care about other kids unless for some reason he likes them (which isnt often) then he will be over the top with them. If they say anything to him then he will hit out and needs to be restrained. All staff at both schools have had training with handling him ( yes its not fair parents dont have it)

    The other week going home from school he flipped out and it took me three teachers and the head to get him into a taxi. He tends to have problems changing from environments too.

    take care

  • Pamela
    Posts: 205
    Amanda...we have found that one of the triggers for Olivia's outbursts are the transition times. She holds it together at school, and they report that she is happy while she is there. However when I go in, her body language and posture are very different to how she is with me. She looks tense and almost switched off. I feel she is actively passive while she is there and until she feels comfortable she releases the pressure and it comes like a steam train! Once that has happened she is then exhausted and then calm. If she cannot communicate to me the way she is feeling then we are in for a very bumpy ride. She will often tell me, and her keyworkers at the respite unit she attends that "no school. School closed!" When there is no school she is more relaxed. But yet when we talk about school and her teacher she tells me the best way she can that she likes the teacher. I really feel for her because, bless her heart, she gets herself into a tizz before she has even left the house.

  • Amanda,Sorry It may be just me who read it wrongly!
    Can Marcus not just go to the special school rather than to two separate schools?
    Just wondering if the change of school which occurs every week may make it a lot worse for him? And perhaps if he was able to go to one school they could think about how to change environment to make him more at ease? (

    With regards to adapting environment I mean things like sitting Marcus at a comfortable distance from others for a large amount of time, but giving limited time in group situations - James finds group situation very uncomfortable but is a bit more tolerable now that when he first started school. They did let James sit away from the others if he was really agitated - still in classroom but his own desk towards back). Or would other environmental changes help). James struggles with motor skills and has poor handwriting, he does not like it but he does like typing on a computer so if Marcus is like James could he not use a laptop to record work on?

    Do the school or both schools know anything about PDA or have you read the educational guidelines on the PDA website? With James it sometimes works that he will work better when he is not 'directed' but feels it is his choice.

    I have to say that I feel I am posting 'falsely' to your original question, as we have not overcome the issues at home or school. He is having particular difficulties at school at the minute (not so serious as the ones you have I think) but he is not learning much because he refuses to do work. We now have to see teacher and if he has not worked at school he has to do some work at home (writing or maths - he does not like both and refuses to do them quite often)

    Pamela, in some ways it must be worse if the school are not picking up that Olivia is affected and under a lot of stress at school - if her stress manifests itself in obvious ways then at least steps can/ are taken to try and overcome the issue. How can that be done if it seems like there is no problem.?And if it were me I would be really frustrated that they cannot see it, and that how Olivia is at school is not necessarily how she is at home or vice versa.
    Take care both of you
  • my son uses to just be very difficult at home and i was always trying to tell the teacher how hard things were, i felt like a liar, she would usually say - oh most kids are like that or he's probably just having a bad day. It didn't matter what i said. Then when he went into primary four - gosh, his behaviour really changed, he now answers back constantly, refuses to join in or take part in many of the class activities, such as burns poems, drama, music,dancing etc. \school are now very aware of his problems and actually phoned me on the second last day of term before christmas to get me to come and take him home as he was being very challenging. It was the school christmas party. So i would say that yes they can and will hold it in, but it will happen, it will come out and they will get a shock!
  • mumof4
    Posts: 6
    Hi all

    Thanks for the replies. Sorry not been on for a long time but we had been having a really hard time til the last week or so.

    Unfortunately Our NOT so wonderful LEA insist on a dual placement to keep him in with his local community school.

    I had actually been opposing this as i am not happy as change for marcus is extremely hard - a child that cant change rooms unexpectedly was expected to change schools every week - special school 3 days and mainstream 2 days then back to special after the weekend off. It hasnt been working and last week we had the first week that was smooth in transition. Tonite was not so good he was scared of going back to the special school and one of his class peers as this boy turns the others against him when hes away for his 2 days. so not expecting a good time in the morning.

    Yes Marcus does work on a laptop at his special school and his mainstream have said they cant get him one til he reaches year 7. I am going to ask at his 6 monthly review about this as it seems out of sorts for him to be expected to do one thing in one place and another in the other. Marcus is dx with developmental coordination disorder, hypermobile joints and very low tone muscles. Things like writing too much hurts his hands therefore hes had one to one and for the most of the time they help him with his writing.

    Thanks for all the helpful comments. i hope we have a good week like last week but i cant see us being that Lucky! lol

    take care

  • westd_Moderatorwestd_Moderator
    Posts: 1,292
    Hello Amanda, welcome back

    Sorry to hear your LEA is being so stubborn, I hope that Marcus does not get too upset about going to the special school tomorrow and that he has another good week
    Take care
  • First time logging onto site. Wonderful to read that I am not alone and that there are other parents out there feeling that we are stuck inside a fishbowl while the rest of the world carries on around them. I am interested to know if any parents have had assistance from secondary schools and LEAs regarding placement in Year 7. My daughter is high functioning autistic with PDA. The problem I have is that she is progressing well at school (apparently) and has been taken off the schools special needs register. Obviously she still has social issues and her PDA has never been an issue within the school; such is the case with children taking on "another personality" whilst at school. I am interested to hear news on how similiar children have settled in secondary schools and if parents have had an up hill struggle getting the teachers to understand the issues concerning Autism & PDA.
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