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Tell me about your childrens behaviour
  • Bea46
    Posts: 1

    I wondered if any users would share their experiences, particularly of four/ five year olds. Our daughter has some odd behaviour some of which seems to fit PDA and I am wondering if we should push for or pay for assessment. D is a June baby, started school in September and has always been what I would describe as shy and a bit whiny.

    On the one hand she wouldn’t be described as “naughty” and our family time isn’t dominated by her behaviour nor does she really have what I would call a meltdown. On the other hand she absolutely refuses to do some things, has no huge drive for independence and some of the strategies we use to get round her refusal align to a number of PDA strategies.

    The biggest example I have is potty training. It has taken about 18 months to be reliably dry in the day and she still poo withholds, doing the majority of her poo in her nappy and is medicated for constipation. The PDA flags are that in hindsight she simply would not ask us and in particular nursery to go to the toilet. It took over a year to get her to do this and she would not engage with us to discuss or explain her feelings at all, just lots of silence, refusal to look at us etc. The only strategy that really worked was saying to her she was in control and could make decisions in when she went and then stepping back all focus on it.

    Other red flags are dressing, which she is still reluctant to do (often trying to persuade me to do,say, one sock, if she does the other - when she can do it perfectly well). She also took a really long time to settle at nursery, lots of tears and clinging when we dropped off.

    However it’s two events which have really worried. Me. First, School (which is a small private one so they are quite focused) have said she is behind in writing and some phonics (–but advanced in maths and swimming). What struck me is that the former are things she doesn’t like t do and so practicing at hone has been difficult - I’ve spoken before to school about “stealth” approaches to homework, if I try and engage her directly she wil more often push the paper away with a loud “no”, and would hit out if I tried to keep her at the table. She may well do the activity of her own accord later.

    Second, we and all the parents attended school yesterday so the kids could show us their workbooks. She refused point blank to come and see us and when I eventually got her on my knee, she buried her face in me, wouldn’t look or speak to us. After some attempts at bribery and lots of us discussing the book, she finally answers some questions, no other children behaved like this and it was such a sad moment.

    She does like role play to a degree, although it’s not a big part of her playing and she does like making up stories with her dolls and figures, which is a large part of her play.
    She also doesn’t like in anyway being asked to perform in front of others, she was slightly better in this years achool play (she sang some of the group songs) but didn’t say her line and chewed her hand and sleeve - same at nursery last year and in ballet.

    As a baby and toddler she was neither behind or ahead in milestones. She wasn’t super outgoing but the only oddity I noticed is sometimes refusing to participate in an activity she had previously sonse hasherself to a particular cuddly toy (ie one that comes to bed with her every night in the way her brother has).

    She doesn’t seem particularly troubled by new scenarios (will quite happily play at a new soft play if we visited) -and has had drs and hospital visits where she has been pretty compliant.

    She’s ok with food - can be fussy at times. Today I bought a brioche bun that looked different to ones I had bought before. See had a series of shouty “No”s and stomped feet as well as whiny “I don’t want it, but whole bun was then eaten when I offered to put some chocolate spread in it.

    Sorry for long post but wanted to share, would be very interested in your stories.

    Needless to say I have worked myself up into quite a state !

  • June67
    Posts: 812
    Hi Bea46, glad you found us. First things first; be calm and take a few deep breaths. Some of what you describe could be PDA but at her age it could also be a lot of other things like settling into school etc. As a teacher with early years experience and specialist reading and writing expertise I would say begin by ruling out obvious easy to check issues for her phonics and writing e.g. hearing, eyesight and fine motor issues. If these are all fine and you/school are concerned it would be a good idea to ask for a health visitor, GP or school referral for assessment which could take time to get. In the meantime keep a record of your concerns/ observations as these are useful to refer to when any assessment comes and you need to give examples of behaviours. It's amazing how your mind goes blank when you're asked questions. If you a very worried help4psychology do a free questionnaire service to see if PDA could be a possibility and follow up chat for a small fee before formal assessment so there are avenues open to you. Talking with school is always a good idea to get a picture of things they are going to put in place to support her there. As a June born child she may just need extra time to develop and find her feet.
    Best thing to do is ask for help and advice if you are worried, but do not panic. It doesn't hurt to be assertive though, remember if she does have issues the earlier appropriate help is in place the better her outcomes will be. Hope this helps, good luck June
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,151
    Hi Bea46, Welcome to the Forum.

    It can be a very emotional time trying to work out why our children are behaving in certain ways, but June has shared some excellent advice and please do also have a look at our website regarding diagnosis, as this will offer some guidance on what to expect from any future assessment and the information that you may wish to start collating. As June rightly points out, it's very easy to go 'blank' when we're asked questions on the spot.

    Please try not to worry and perhaps take each day one at a time. I'd always recommened that parents contact their GP if they have any concerns about their children and discuss a paediatric referral, as this can often be a long process within many counties.

    In the meantime, please do keep posting and asking any quesions that you have.
  • This sounds like my daughter too. I personally have just found this forum because I strongly suspect I am on the autism spectrum so I've been doing a lot of reading hoping to shed some light on things (and get some support) and reading the page about PDA was like a lightbulb popping up. I actually's so me.

    And with that in mind, I'm fairly certain one of my daughters is on the spectrum too (I have twin girls, aged 5). Obviously I recognise me at her age in her. I have near eidetic memory from that period as those extreme events tend to sear into the memory. Ditto asking me to get her dressed where her sister can do these things, and as such coming across as very needy and demanding. "Daddy, help me with this". When pushed she can do the thing, she just doesn't want to or perhaps more, doesn't think she can and is thus afraid to do it.

    She was very late potty training and still has trouble overnight (she's still in night nappies where her sister is significantly better). She has significant sensory issues, from clothing to touch, smell, taste (the classic beige food), loud noises etc. She tends to hyper focus on certain things and will do them repetitively, like video games or watching YouTube videos, but she gets very very upset when her sister has a turn to chose and she is no longer in control. This often results in a meltdown and violence, throwing things, slamming doors etc.

    She can role play, but she tends to gravitate towards being bossy/controlling...the teacher or Queen Elsa etc. There was mention of a quite whimsical mode of refusal in the info on here, about pretending to be *something* in order to avoid a situation, which for her is often a cat. "Will you get ready for bed please?" "I can't I'm a cat, meow". Asking her to do something is often met with delaying tactics or outright hostility.

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