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Exam problems - any advice welcome!
  • Hi. I'm new here and have a 16 year old with suspected PDA. Our child had coped well at school, we thought, and although we noted ASD tendencies, things were going well and excellent exam results predicted. Then our child crashed with fatigue and it became apparent the 'coping' was a front and had been taking a huge effort. School was unhelpful - why would an A grade, perfectly behaved student be on the spectrum, let alone PDA? Pure laziness or teenage typical behaviour was the school's belief. Difficulties got bigger, bullying became an issue, fatigue and anxiety got worse...so, now we home school and have seen a gradual improvement in health, confidence and less fatigue. However, even 5 minutes of formal study (eg. maths and English) lead to nausea, severe fatigue and refusal. It's really not put on, it's a genuine physical reaction. Our child says it's the association with school and having to do something that they haven't chosen. We've tried incentives, and our child has tried to do the work, but it's as though a mental/physical barrier comes down almost immediately. Our child can see no benefit in taking exams, and cannot understand why the world expects it as proof of ability. I've no idea whether to carry on trying to get our child to do minute bits, with a view to trying to sit just maths and English in the summer, or whether to back off entirely and hope that a complete break will result in mental/physical recovery, disassociation with school and a desire to achieve the qualifications themselves. I'm panicking that our talented, bright, witty, child is going to end up with no college place, no job, and no resources to support himself. Any tips? We are waiting for an assessment, but we are still 9 months down the waiting list and having read other peoples' experiences, I'm not sure how helpful a diagnosis will be.

    Thanks for reading! Xx
  • Holly59
    Posts: 2,586

    Lunar22 said:

    Hi. I'm new here and have a 16 year old with suspected PDA. Our child had coped well at school, we thought, and although we noted ASD tendencies, things were going well and excellent exam results predicted. Then our child crashed with fatigue and it became apparent the 'coping' was a front and had been taking a huge effort. School was unhelpful - why would an A grade, perfectly behaved student be on the spectrum, let alone PDA? Pure laziness or teenage typical behaviour was the school's belief. Difficulties got bigger, bullying became an issue, fatigue and anxiety got worse...so, now we home school and have seen a gradual improvement in health, confidence and less fatigue. However, even 5 minutes of formal study (eg. maths and English) lead to nausea, severe fatigue and refusal. It's really not put on, it's a genuine physical reaction. Our child says it's the association with school and having to do something that they haven't chosen. We've tried incentives, and our child has tried to do the work, but it's as though a mental/physical barrier comes down almost immediately. Our child can see no benefit in taking exams, and cannot understand why the world expects it as proof of ability. I've no idea whether to carry on trying to get our child to do minute bits, with a view to trying to sit just maths and English in the summer, or whether to back off entirely and hope that a complete break will result in mental/physical recovery, disassociation with school and a desire to achieve the qualifications themselves. I'm panicking that our talented, bright, witty, child is going to end up with no college place, no job, and no resources to support himself. Any tips? We are waiting for an assessment, but we are still 9 months down the waiting list and having read other peoples' experiences, I'm not sure how helpful a diagnosis will be.

    Thanks for reading! Xx



    Hi ,
    Welcome to the Forum .
    My youngest was written off as lazy and winging it and never referred . School was a total disaster ,it was not until the end of S4 that a referral to CAMHS was made . Guess who worked all the issues out , me a mum . College has been amazing to due a brilliant tutor who listened to the horror story . My youngest failed four out of five exams twice . He has gone onto pass a BTEC , twice , has just started a HND course . The least I say about DSA and funding the better , it's been a nightmare .

    My eldest sounds very much like your eldest , an extremly bright young man . It's taken three years slowly to un do the damage of long term misdiagnosis , being bullied between P2 and S6 , PTSD . We are slowly coming out of the other side of a very long tunnel .

    Unless the school is willing to put in PDA Stratagies ASAP the chances of School refusal are High . Schools are like exam factories , Demand after Demand to do well . Is there an alternative school who will work with you ? Have you asked your son his views ? Reducing the workload and demands will help to some extent .

    Have you checked out your local College as an alternative ? It might be worth a time out period . One of mine I would have home schooled the other not a cat in hells chance . It's the extreme lengths they go to to avoid doing things . The Webinar shortly about Education should help,you with home schooling techniques . English can be a difficult subject for those on the Spectrum . Is he having sleep issues . Could he be Hypermobile , this can cause fatigue , my youngest was diagnosed at 19!!

    My son is the first student at Edinburgh College with ASD - PDA but we only have a Aspergers , ADD , diagnosis so far . By my experience it's been a much better environment for him overall . If you make too many demands the more they will rebel . You don't need a formal diagnosis in Scotland .

    It might take a year or two time out till he is a bit older , then regroup and start again .

    The Education Laws are different in Scotland . Presume you are in England ?

    100% yes to a diagnosis long term . Does your LA recognise PDA .

    I have only known one person on this Forum who has had no major issues with their child and exams . We have worked together at College to reduce as much anxiety as possible and do as much as continual assesment as possible . Unfortunately he still has to sit the dreaded exams .

    Pat xx
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,108
    Hi and welcome to the forum.

    I’m sorry to hear about your sons situation. Unfortunately my daughter is only 9 so I have yet to experience the exam pressures and so feel unable to offer meaningful advice to you at the moment. However I’m sure some families with older children and those home schooling will be in touch soon.

    Please don’t forget the support line is also available for advice. If you’d like to leave a message someone will get back to you.
  • You could get a Skype consultation for £95 with Help for Psychology to see if they think PDA is indicated and that would give you more confidence in expecting the diagnosis and communicating this to professionals. They do a screening questionnaire for ASD-PDA and the EDAQ which is specific to PDA and will give you the written feedback, which you can use.

    I always advocate getting assessment and diagnosis of ASD from when you first notice signs. What you and others see on the outside might not match up with the internal experience and an individual can be blaming themselves for their differences (which they will perceive) and pressuring themselves to be like others. Once a late diagnosis is received it can create all sorts of problems, one of which is whether the individual themselves will accept it.

    Regarding his exhaustion symptoms, it could well be this: https://planetautismblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/aspie-burnout/

    Someone on the autistic spectrum can have more than one subtype of ASD.

    It is a very difficult situation to be in, but remind yourself that learning is lifelong. There is always the OU and other distance learning options which can be undertaken at any time. He might need some time to have a change of view.
  • Hi. I am new here too. My daughter is taking her exams in May 2018. I have known since Yr5 at Primary school that something was not right. At parents evening there was no work in her books to see at all. When she took her YR 6 SATs she crumbled and was practically forced to do them and complete them with a teacher sitting next to her. She has hated High School since day 1. She begged me to Home School her through YR7 and YE8. I refused because I knew how very little work she did for her teachers! I refused. She went to school fighting me, being rude, moody, crying, every morning for two years. She was never organised, never completed homework, refused to do PE ( too stressful for her day), said she had no real friends, hated her teachers( they didn’t care anyway), didn’t see the point in any of it. I had a meeting with her teachers and SENCO in YR8 explaining how worried I was about her lack of work in her books and how she couldn’t do the work. I thought she was suffering from Oppositional Disorder. The teachers said they were not worried about her behaviour and said because she was good at English - this would carry her through to do well in her other GCSEs. I went to the doctor and asked for counselling help but my daughter refused help and said there was nothing wrong so the doctor could not proceed without my daughters consent. We’ve had self-harming problems but luckily that stopped. I counselled my daughter got 2 months afterwards. It exhausted me. My daughter was in a very dark place. Luckily, our talking helped and things did improve and she moved on. I dread to think how many days off school she has had. She says, “I’m not going in” and she won’t gwt out of bed. She’s always been rude about her teachers and her friends. She says she hates them and they don’t care about her. We’ve had friendship issues. She had missed so many invitations from a few select friends. She will not go out and stays at home. For her work experience this year she would only go to the one place that she wanted. I made sure she got her place because I was so worried she would refuse to go anywhere else. Anyway, now GSCEs are her. She’s doing good tech but has always said she can’t cook. She doesn’t cook. She’s doing art but does nothing and hates it. Choosing her GCSEs in the first place was awful. She hated every subject except English( she loved her funny crazy teacher so this was a huge plus) so we just chose the easiest ones because we knew she would find them so difficult. Right now, she is very anxious. Really, really anxious. My daughter is very moody, angry, negative and wants to quit school. I’ve just, by complete chance, come across a book about PDA and I just know my daughter has been dealing with anxiety and demand avoidance for 7/8 years. I am now going to speak to her teachers and ask how I can reduce her anxiety, can I eliminate the GCSEs that are really not essential and can I pursue a diagnosis. None of this is normal. She thinks differently and it’s worried me for a long time. I know she can’t do things. I know most thing cause her great stress I know she sees the world differently. I know have to help my daughter right now because this is probably going to be the worst six months and I have to make it better for her.
    There is so much more. But, I could see this coming years ago and the teachers at school - I feel - have let my daughter down because they are not trained to identify this as a real problem.
    Thanks
  • Holly59
    Posts: 2,586

    LeeCelloMum said:

    Hi. I am new here too. My daughter is taking her exams in May 2018. I have known since Yr5 at Primary school that something was not right. At parents evening there was no work in her books to see at all. When she took her YR 6 SATs she crumbled and was practically forced to do them and complete them with a teacher sitting next to her. She has hated High School since day 1. She begged me to Home School her through YR7 and YE8. I refused because I knew how very little work she did for her teachers! I refused. She went to school fighting me, being rude, moody, crying, every morning for two years. She was never organised, never completed homework, refused to do PE ( too stressful for her day), said she had no real friends, hated her teachers( they didn’t care anyway), didn’t see the point in any of it. I had a meeting with her teachers and SENCO in YR8 explaining how worried I was about her lack of work in her books and how she couldn’t do the work. I thought she was suffering from Oppositional Disorder. The teachers said they were not worried about her behaviour and said because she was good at English - this would carry her through to do well in her other GCSEs. I went to the doctor and asked for counselling help but my daughter refused help and said there was nothing wrong so the doctor could not proceed without my daughters consent. We’ve had self-harming problems but luckily that stopped. I counselled my daughter got 2 months afterwards. It exhausted me. My daughter was in a very dark place. Luckily, our talking helped and things did improve and she moved on. I dread to think how many days off school she has had. She says, “I’m not going in” and she won’t gwt out of bed. She’s always been rude about her teachers and her friends. She says she hates them and they don’t care about her. We’ve had friendship issues. She had missed so many invitations from a few select friends. She will not go out and stays at home. For her work experience this year she would only go to the one place that she wanted. I made sure she got her place because I was so worried she would refuse to go anywhere else. Anyway, now GSCEs are her. She’s doing good tech but has always said she can’t cook. She doesn’t cook. She’s doing art but does nothing and hates it. Choosing her GCSEs in the first place was awful. She hated every subject except English( she loved her funny crazy teacher so this was a huge plus) so we just chose the easiest ones because we knew she would find them so difficult. Right now, she is very anxious. Really, really anxious. My daughter is very moody, angry, negative and wants to quit school. I’ve just, by complete chance, come across a book about PDA and I just know my daughter has been dealing with anxiety and demand avoidance for 7/8 years. I am now going to speak to her teachers and ask how I can reduce her anxiety, can I eliminate the GCSEs that are really not essential and can I pursue a diagnosis. None of this is normal. She thinks differently and it’s worried me for a long time. I know she can’t do things. I know most thing cause her great stress I know she sees the world differently. I know have to help my daughter right now because this is probably going to be the worst six months and I have to make it better for her.
    There is so much more. But, I could see this coming years ago and the teachers at school - I feel - have let my daughter down because they are not trained to identify this as a real problem.
    Thanks



    Hi
    Welcome to the Forum,
    Reading this you are a brilliant mum . To overcome and support your daughter the way you have is just amazing . It's the professionals who have totally failed you and your daughter .

    https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/families

    I presume you have no diagnosis at present . This link explains all you will need to know . You need to collect as much information as possible . Her school reports will highlight the issues .

    Watch the Webinars , it's the easiest way to learn . I agree with reducing as much anxiety as possible .Your main aim is to try and keep her in Education as long as possible .

    There is a Webinar today about Education . I would certainly highlight this to the school as a matter of urgency. It will be recordered so they can watch it later. There will also be an inclusion officer who you should speak to in your LA . If the school are not using the correct techniques this will have a huge impact on her anxiety state.

    https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/resources/webinars

    I had to smile reading your post. My youngest said at his College interview “ I hated school and they wouldn’t help me . That was true ! He has also said I don’t like human beings only musicians . When it came to choosing standard grades ‘ I’ll drop English and Maths . It did make a huge difference if he had a nice teacher on board . Homework was a disaster from day one . Not one of the so called Policies or Stratagies in place helped us . All I came up against was a close ranks and cover up the truth situation . Hence the Petition to the Scottish Parliament .

    http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01625

    If they say PDA does not exist tell them to read the submission on the 9 th November . Scottish Ministers have accepted that PDA is on the Spectrum and can be diagnosed within the system we have .

    You do NOT need a formal diagnosis for an CSP in Scotland , it's the same in England .

    https://www.gov.uk/children-with-special-educational-needs/extra-SEN-help

    You can ask for an assesment of your daughters needs .

    I sincerely hope you get the help and support your family requires .

    Pat xx




  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,108
    Hi LeeCelloMum, welcome to the forum.

    I agree with Pat that you are a brilliant Mum and it's so disappointing to hear how you've been let down by the professionals. Pat's highlighted several good things to look at which I hope will help. Meeting other families can be a real source of inspiration too, so do check-out the Society's support group link: https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/resources/Support-and-advice

    Wishing you all the best. xxx
  • @LeeCelloMum for the same reason the GP previously said he could do nothing without your daughter's consent, you are likely to face the same obstacle over seeking a PDA assessment. It's not right but that's how they are. Your daughter has to accept she has issues that need investigating. But ironically, the denial is because of the condition itself so it's catch 22.
  • Hello RhanH/PDA_ASD_Parent and Pat - thank you so much for links, advice and positive comments.

    I’ve just had a meeting with the SENCO at school and form teacher. I had to wait 10 days. I took in a list of problems/incidents and examples of behaviour linked to my daughters anxiety and send them via email in advance. I also sent a long email about the Food Tech GCSE exam issue requesting it to be removed from my daughters timetable as it was causing her stress and she was refusing to go to school because of it.

    The school sent out a request to her teachers asking for comments which the SENCO had provided. It had 10 written statements (definitions of a PDA profile child ) - and teachers commented if they recognised any of these types of behaviour at school with regard to my daughter.

    So we discussed them.

    Her maths teachers comments greatly upset me. I quote, “She lacks a lot of ambition. There is little here that I feel I agree with. (the PDA profile statements on the form). I do think that mostly she is a lazy child who just has lost all impetus with her mathematics education because she feels that she is getting nowhere with it.’

    And this, “She avoids many basic tasks, but I attribute this to laziness than anything else. She does distract herself and others. She does like to tell others what to do, I attributed this to the fact she likes to show dominance over others in intelligence, especially those who are doing less well than her. She takes no responsibility for herself. I wouldnt say she lacks understanding. She is sociable when it doesn’t involve work.”

    So, I’m still taking that in.........

    So, I am taking that feedback to the Doctors tomorrow with a few more dribs and drabs from 2/3 other teachers plus my own comprehensive written points about her anxiety.

    The school has let her drop Food Tech GCSE( they told me this is quite rare) and were not interested in my suggestion on a shorter school week.

    My daughter has just had a week off school because of the demands of the Food Tech GCSE. I told her about the GSCE being taken off her timetable and asked her if she was going to go to school tomorrow. She said, “No - I’m not ready.”

    So, Doctors tomorrow.... the SEND lady rang me back and told me the Norfolk County does not recognise PDA.

    Best wishes all,

    Thank you LeeCelloMum
    X

  • And Pat - at my daughters interview for college( a completely difficult day) she told me all she wanted to tell the interview lady was that, “She hated people and only liked animals.” I told her about ten times that she really mustn’t say that!” But she did anyway!

  • LeeCelloMum said:

    Her maths teachers comments greatly upset me. I quote, “She lacks a lot of ambition. There is little here that I feel I agree with. (the PDA profile statements on the form). I do think that mostly she is a lazy child who just has lost all impetus with her mathematics education because she feels that she is getting nowhere with it.’

    And this, “She avoids many basic tasks, but I attribute this to laziness than anything else. She does distract herself and others. She does like to tell others what to do, I attributed this to the fact she likes to show dominance over others in intelligence, especially those who are doing less well than her. She takes no responsibility for herself. I wouldnt say she lacks understanding. She is sociable when it doesn’t involve work.”



    The maths teacher clearly doesn't even understand ASD letalone PDA. She will be saying to him that she isn't getting anywhere as an excuse, which is a PDA tactic. He's spelling out PDA behaviours but then giving his own spin on them!

  • That’s exactly what I thought.
  • Haymo
    Posts: 2
    Hi,

    I'm new and I'm also here for exam problems.
    My son D is diagnosed ASD, on the PDA quiz he only gets 38 but as he has an incredible imagination (he's written a sitcom for example and his childhood bear has a series of comics) and his avoidance are really strong characteristics for him I am inclined to think it's factor in his struggles.
    He doesn't ever boss his peers, he pretty much only interacts with adults and occasional couple of boys with special needs in his support block. However he does manipulate in a charming manner to get out of things that make him anxious or uncomfortable.
    When the humour doesn't work, he will then just cry and get annoyed with himself for not being able to be like other people.
    I have described PDA to his main teaching assistant and she laughed and said yes, that's D.
    She also said he's like Peter Pan.

    He is 15, intelligent, funny, and verbose but he has no independence at all and it really affects our life. He won't walk the 4 minutes to school alone, he cannot buy something in a shop or talk to anyone he doesn't know. It's like having a 15 year old and 5 year old at the same time.
    He has strong political views and knowledge, yet panics about pouring out a cup of juice himself in case he spills it.
    He has told me that the minute he turns 18 he will do all these things but until then he's still technically a child.

    The bottom line is he is scared of doing things wrong and this makes him very anxious. He's already anxious being at school with all his unpredictable peers but he's learnt to cope with it just about with a lot of support.
    Extra anxiety on top of this due to what people expect of a teenager is asking too much of him right now.
    He doesn't understand how people cope with normal everyday activities without freaking out. He is in no way capable of going to college in a year.
    As mentioned in this thread for him too just choosing his GCSEs was an ordeal. Any choice is an ordeal for him, even nice ones like choose any sweets you want.

    Today he had his first GCSE prelims today and it turns out he has decided it's best to not write a single thing because he can cope better with already knowing he failed because he didn't try. The thought of not doing well when he has tried is too much for him to handle.
    We have talked at great length but I am really at a loss about what to do, I understand his reasoning completely but don't know how to combat this perfectionism.
    All the other things he avoids others can do for now, until he is ready to do them, but we cannot do his exams for him.

    He has all the special dispensations in place but still, nothing was written today.
    He says it's a flawed system (as an Alfie Kohn fan I can't really disagree), he doesn't see why he should do exams in the subjects he doesn't wish to do in the future, he says you can't put people into boxes and he is an individual (with a cheeky grin), knowing they are important to his future makes him too anxious. He would rather be in denial of the future (these are his words) because then he doesn't have to feel anxious.
    He's also annoyed with himself that he disturbed the exam for the others when he got upset during the exam.

    The school are frustrated because they think he's lovely, intelligent and very capable. This anxiety means he cannot reach his full potential. Trying to persuade him that he needs to do certain things is exhausting and hilarious. He always has an amusing comeback, I do too but I run out of them before he does.

    He is getting CBT through an EP and I've been trained by EWMHS in CBT for autism... but this boy... I'd love to see him host Question Time, he never backs down.

    Due to my limited earning abilties because he isn't ready to be left home alone (there's no childcare for 15 yr olds) I cannot afford any other therapies I have found that may help him.

    I have looked around at PDA resources but I've yet to find anything about teenage education, exams and transition to adulthood.
  • Holly59
    Posts: 2,586
    I'm new and I'm also here for exam problems.
    My son D is diagnosed ASD, on the PDA quiz he only gets 38 but as he has an incredible imagination (he's written a sitcom for example and his childhood bear has a series of comics) and his avoidance are really strong characteristics for him I am inclined to think it's factor in his struggles.
    He doesn't ever boss his peers, he pretty much only interacts with adults and occasional couple of boys with special needs in his support block. However he does manipulate in a charming manner to get out of things that make him anxious or uncomfortable.
    When the humour doesn't work, he will then just cry and get annoyed with himself for not being able to be like other people.
    I have described PDA to his main teaching assistant and she laughed and said yes, that's D.
    She also said he's like Peter Pan.

    He is 15, intelligent, funny, and verbose but he has no independence at all and it really affects our life. He won't walk the 4 minutes to school alone, he cannot buy something in a shop or talk to anyone he doesn't know. It's like having a 15 year old and 5 year old at the same time.
    He has strong political views and knowledge, yet panics about pouring out a cup of juice himself in case he spills it.
    He has told me that the minute he turns 18 he will do all these things but until then he's still technically a child.

    The bottom line is he is scared of doing things wrong and this makes him very anxious. He's already anxious being at school with all his unpredictable peers but he's learnt to cope with it just about with a lot of support.
    Extra anxiety on top of this due to what people expect of a teenager is asking too much of him right now.
    He doesn't understand how people cope with normal everyday activities without freaking out. He is in no way capable of going to college in a year.
    As mentioned in this thread for him too just choosing his GCSEs was an ordeal. Any choice is an ordeal for him, even nice ones like choose any sweets you want.

    Today he had his first GCSE prelims today and it turns out he has decided it's best to not write a single thing because he can cope better with already knowing he failed because he didn't try. The thought of not doing well when he has tried is too much for him to handle.
    We have talked at great length but I am really at a loss about what to do, I understand his reasoning completely but don't know how to combat this perfectionism.
    All the other things he avoids others can do for now, until he is ready to do them, but we cannot do his exams for him.

    He has all the special dispensations in place but still, nothing was written today.
    He says it's a flawed system (as an Alfie Kohn fan I can't really disagree), he doesn't see why he should do exams in the subjects he doesn't wish to do in the future, he says you can't put people into boxes and he is an individual (with a cheeky grin), knowing they are important to his future makes him too anxious. He would rather be in denial of the future (these are his words) because then he doesn't have to feel anxious.
    He's also annoyed with himself that he disturbed the exam for the others when he got upset during the exam.

    The school are frustrated because they think he's lovely, intelligent and very capable. This anxiety means he cannot reach his full potential. Trying to persuade him that he needs to do certain things is exhausting and hilarious. He always has an amusing comeback, I do too but I run out of them before he does.

    He is getting CBT through an EP and I've been trained by EWMHS in CBT for autism... but this boy... I'd love to see him host Question Time, he never backs down.

    Due to my limited earning abilties because he isn't ready to be left home alone (there's no childcare for 15 yr olds) I cannot afford any other therapies I have found that may help him.

    I have looked around at PDA resources but I've yet to find anything about teenage education, exams and transition to adulthood.


    Hi
    Welcome to the Forum .
    First of all the positive is that you do have a ASD diagnosis so you are half way there and that you have managed to get this far is amazing .
    Exams are so challenging for PDAers .
    Don’t forget the Questionnaire needs a massive update . This was compiled some years back and to be honest fits extreme cases of PDA .
    PDA is like Aspergers , no two cases are the same .I have two young men , both undiagnosed PDAers and they are like chalk and cheese but the underlying issues are the same .
    Look for extreme Demand Avoidance , the lengths they go to to be in command ,not writing a word in an exam, and don’t forget often they are the teacher / parent . Don’t forget some might be quite subtle like hiding car keys , others can be totally outrageous , like he has just proved , not writing a word .
    My eldest was asked to write an apology letter at school . He never wrote one , why should he , he was in charge .
    You need to be firm with the school . Go back and explain you really believe your son has PDA . Give them evidence at the lengths he goes to to avoid situations . The more demands , exam time is full on , the worse the issues become .
    You need a referral back to CAMHS . What you don’t want is for this to escalate to full School refusal.
    Under special circumstances I believe a Head Teacher can give permission for a pupil to resit prelims .

    May be the school would consider watching the Webinars .

    The plan is to think totally outside the box with PDAers . Reduce the anxiety as much as possible . Mega important use PDA Stratagies and techniques consistently at school and at home .

    Have you tried asking him “What makes your anxiety worse “. You will be surprised what they can tell you . It could be a case of dropping a few exams to reduce the pressure and anxiety . My youngest main tutor and I work together tweaking as we go . What works one week won’t work the next . We do as much internal assesment as possible . He is a Classical musician and if he does not want to play as a soloist he doesn’t have to .

    As a matter of interest was the Prelim an English Exam? The excuses are brilliant . They would make great Spin Doctors for Governments .

    It’s choosing the battles carefully . If you met my two they are charming , eloquent , polite , well mannered young men . It’s the Jeckyl and Hide behaviour , one minute an angel next the devil . It’s like a switch . Normally everything that goes wrong is Mums fault .

    Don’t give direct praise it just makes them worse . They have to do better next time just heightens the anxiety even more . If you give praise it must be indirect as to a group . Didnt t your class do well today .

    My youngest is the first PDAer at the College . It’s a steep learning curve . My eldest son works in a University and they take students on merit where school has not been a positive experience .

    The more pressure you put on him to perform well in the exams the worse the issues will become .
    Why was he not offered separate accomodation in a side room being on the Spectrum ?

    I hope you get the appointment soon with your sons guidance teacher .

    Pat xx

  • Haymo Your son sounds a lot like our eldest in many respects with the unwillingness to do things for themselves and fear of growing up. He does sound like a PDAer. I think aside from realising that the excuses are due to the PDA he sounds like he might consider logic if you can offer him logical arguments to his points. Perhaps explaining to him that without any documentation of what he is capable of (which they will know even if he fails exams) there is no way for him to progress and ask him what he thinks he will do when he reaches 18yo and nobody will give him a chance because he refused to write. That people might treat him as much less intelligent than he clearly is, because they will not have seen proof of his abilities. Get him to think of the consequences that he personally might not like, then he might be less likely to see it as a demand, but a preventative measure.
  • Haymo
    Posts: 2
    Oh I am sorry Pat and PDA ASD Parent, I just logged into discover I didn't post my reply and it was sat in drafts!
    Thank you for your replies.

    Well the exams are now over, at first the same thing happened and nothing was written. But he eventually did try as exams went on, EWMHS (fka CAMHS) gave us a few ideas for grounding to help him feel calming and I think they helped.
    He was already doing a reduced number of exams.
    Had a scribe, separate room and extra time. If only they could've found a way for him to sit an exam not knowing it was an exam!
    His coursework is fine, a distinction, but only one of his subjects had coursework.

    Now we are nearly at July and currently still don't have a college place!
    The special school we all thought he'd go to said they couldn't meet his needs. Too cognitively able whilst also being too high need (he has one to one pretty much all the time on the EHCP), main issue being he refuses to wear his glasses so an LSA has to write things down off the board so he can see.
    I think the fact after a year of trying everything we still can't get him to wear his glasses should be a diagnosis of PDA in itself!

    So we are left with the only option of mainstream college however won't help him with life skills, as he has gone through a GSCE curriculum (with a load of support I must add) this means he's too able they say.
    So we need to find another source of help with the preparing for adulthood part.
    There's a specialist autism occupational therapist who can help, if we had the money!
    Social care won't assess him so we have no personal budget to fund her.
    I'm trying to see if it can be written into the EHCP, because his outcomes will not be achieved without life and social skills help.

    I have found the PDA community so helpful though and I have been in touch with people who help young people like my son (if only I lived near them) and they have passed on some brilliant tips and ideas.

    My son jokes and says he wants to go back to his primary school instead of college.
    If anyone has seen Philomena Cunk he can get a bit like her with the questions as part of his deflection. Might be why he laughs the entire way through her shows!
    So I can start of using logic, which he goes along with for a bit... and then it just ends up surreal and we all end up laughing.
    But still no progress on helping him become more independent. I completely understand his point of view, how anxious demands make him, but he really underestimates himself and doesn't know just how good he is at conversation. Just how capable he is.

    I have explained that exams are how people know someone is capable of something, that's how society works. Then he goes off on what is wrong with the education system, and he's right! I can't argue with him!
    Before all of this I was a fan of Alfie Kohn's work on education, how the way it works puts children off learning. The first book of his I read many years ago was Punished by Rewards, which I guess is helpful now as rewards do not work on him anyway. Which I have read can be a PDA thing.


  • Holly59
    Posts: 2,586
    Hi Haymo,
    Sorry for the delay in responding . Exams are dreadful for our children . I am so sorry to hear about the extremely limited choice where you can proceed next .
    Unfortunately my youngest had a disastrous time due to an issue with a Steroid Injection. If it could could have gone totally wrong it did . Landed up quite poorly in A+E.
    It’s so frustrating at times . Mine won’t use the separate exam rooms or have a scribe .Have you considered taking him to get another pair of glasses , he chooses style , colour , shape .
    Are they using PDA Stratagies at the College ?
    It’s infuriatting that they won’t support this specialist OT . If it helps him get through the Course then it must be beneficial to both the College and the Student .
    I sincerely hope you do get the support he needs .
    Good Luck

    Pat xx

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