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Avoidance by silence
  • RevJuliet
    Posts: 1
    Hello
    I am totally new to this forum and am still very much wondering if PDA applies to my 15yo son. I have always known he has been a bit different socially form other children and have noticed the sensory issues from a young age - he has also been a super controller at home but nothing as extreme as other people’s experiences - and certainly every time I flag that he doesn’t seem to be doing too well at school the teachers always say he is fine... in fact such a nice boy... just quiet
    Certainly a huge amount rings true.- wondering if some of these experiences have been shared by others or if maybe I’m in the wrong forum zone...?
    Things which we have experienced:
    - poor speech and then catch up despite my awareness that his communication with others is often clumsy ... he is super clever yet all of his friends are always lowest sets and he hangs out in the SEN room ...
    - recently been caught with vodka three times in school because that is how he is making friends now - and does this despite knowing it will get him excluded and he doesn’t want to be thrown out of school - feels like he is never too aware of consequences
    - selective mute at school in first few years - avoidance up until this year particularly in school has been to say nothing, and be incredibly polite and charming. He has done no homework ever yet teachers all assume he is lovely as he always thanks them for their lessons
    - avoidance recently off the scale - police hunts for missing person and claiming to be suicidal so he can avoid school - this being just last week
    - he often eats with his hands and his handwriting is illegible and he has only just learnt to tie shoelaces
    - he never looks for anything and seems quite terrified at the prospect of looking for socks even if they are where they always are and often avoids the simplest things like come down for dinner or (a major avoidance) brushing teeth
    - I have never ever been able to get my son to do homework ... he seems to have a clever knack of getting me to do it for him or coming up with amazing excuses why he can’t do it despite being more than capable - finding and charming clever people to help him do enough so that he can avoid a detention - copying (he admits this one blatantly)
    - recently been referred to CAMHs as he stopped eating at school and said he was depressed (which he may well be) although in all the sessions he says nothing and literally fell asleep on one of them - he seems unable to articulate feelings or why he might be struggling - he now says he is fine
    - only wears Tracksuits and t shirts and strips off naked even now at the age of 15 despite the inappropriateness
    - he doesn’t tend to violence or hitting out but uses threatening conversations to push us away
    - my other two children are highly academic and successful - which I don’t want to compare my son to but is hard not to I suppose as I am very aware at how different his development is.
    Many thanks in advance for any suggestions or solidarity - I am trying hard to get underlying issues looked at rather than just going down mental health or behavioural problems and might be getting somewhere as the CAMhs team have noticed the oddity of communication and avoidant attitudes... school seem to think I am a bad parent mind you...
    Thank you
  • webbwebb
    Posts: 2,566
    Hi and welcome to the PDA Society Forum.

    Not all children with PDA are aggressive, there are quite a number that react to anxiety and their need to avoid by being 'compliant' or keeping quiet so as not to be noticed at school.
    There are also quite a few that can 'mask' their difficulties when at school or out in the community.

    There are a few ways that individuals react to anxiety/panic -
    Take Flight - ie run away and hide
    Fight - ie become physically violent to get out of the anxiety provoking situation
    Freeze - Become rigid with fear, become mute etc

    Children with PDA can be highly intelligent but will have Social Communication Difficulties, which maybe why he hangs out with other SEN children.
    If your son has PDA, an Autism spectrum Disorder he will also have Social Interaction Difficulties (ie lack of social skills with his peers)
    Handwriting and Eating with his hands - Both my son's on the Autism Spectrum have dreadful handwriting and even now (both in their 20's) still can't use a knife! (Fine Motor Skills difficulties)

    Many of the things you have said about your son could relate to the Autism Spectrum and possibly PDA.


    Children with PDA will make tons of excuses to avoid doing what they have been asked or expected to do.


    You may be looking in the right direction!

    I hope your CAMHS are able to assess and diagnose the PDA Profile of ASD.

    I would try to hurry things along before he gets to the teenage stage of not wanting to attend CAMHS and/or his exams start to begin.


    Try to look at all the strategies section on the website so that you can start to adapt the way you manage him every day, the PDA Strategies can make quite a difference to a childs anxiety and if you can start to re-phrase how you speak to him he may become calmer and more compliant at home.
    It's about being more indirect.

    Take Care


  • Holly59
    Posts: 2,586

    RevJuliet said:

    Hello
    I am totally new to this forum and am still very much wondering if PDA applies to my 15yo son. I have always known he has been a bit different socially form other children and have noticed the sensory issues from a young age - he has also been a super controller at home but nothing as extreme as other people’s experiences - and certainly every time I flag that he doesn’t seem to be doing too well at school the teachers always say he is fine... in fact such a nice boy... just quiet
    Certainly a huge amount rings true.- wondering if some of these experiences have been shared by others or if maybe I’m in the wrong forum zone...?
    Things which we have experienced:
    - poor speech and then catch up despite my awareness that his communication with others is often clumsy ... he is super clever yet all of his friends are always lowest sets and he hangs out in the SEN room ...
    - recently been caught with vodka three times in school because that is how he is making friends now - and does this despite knowing it will get him excluded and he doesn’t want to be thrown out of school - feels like he is never too aware of consequences
    - selective mute at school in first few years - avoidance up until this year particularly in school has been to say nothing, and be incredibly polite and charming. He has done no homework ever yet teachers all assume he is lovely as he always thanks them for their lessons
    - avoidance recently off the scale - police hunts for missing person and claiming to be suicidal so he can avoid school - this being just last week
    - he often eats with his hands and his handwriting is illegible and he has only just learnt to tie shoelaces
    - he never looks for anything and seems quite terrified at the prospect of looking for socks even if they are where they always are and often avoids the simplest things like come down for dinner or (a major avoidance) brushing teeth
    - I have never ever been able to get my son to do homework ... he seems to have a clever knack of getting me to do it for him or coming up with amazing excuses why he can’t do it despite being more than capable - finding and charming clever people to help him do enough so that he can avoid a detention - copying (he admits this one blatantly)
    - recently been referred to CAMHs as he stopped eating at school and said he was depressed (which he may well be) although in all the sessions he says nothing and literally fell asleep on one of them - he seems unable to articulate feelings or why he might be struggling - he now says he is fine
    - only wears Tracksuits and t shirts and strips off naked even now at the age of 15 despite the inappropriateness
    - he doesn’t tend to violence or hitting out but uses threatening conversations to push us away
    - my other two children are highly academic and successful - which I don’t want to compare my son to but is hard not to I suppose as I am very aware at how different his development is.
    Many thanks in advance for any suggestions or solidarity - I am trying hard to get underlying issues looked at rather than just going down mental health or behavioural problems and might be getting somewhere as the CAMhs team have noticed the oddity of communication and avoidant attitudes... school seem to think I am a bad parent mind you...
    Thank you


    Hi,
    Welcome to the Forum ,
    First of all you are a brilliant parent . Take absolutely no notice whatsoever of the dreadful attitude of others dealing with your child’s case . He presents with blatant jeckyl and Hyde behaviour . Totally outrageougeous behaviour too . The extreme lengths he goes to to avoid situations . Not all PDAers are violent . Some are extremely bright intelligent people , just need to be taught in a different manner , environment . Each PDAer is unique . Unless your son is diagnosed correctly he will then unfortunately become depressed , PTSD and so forth . Would the school work with you and start using PDA Stratagies ?

    Get as many folks as possible to support you such as your MP . If you can get a diagnosis before 18 it’s far better long term .

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

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

    Pat xx

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