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PDA 6 year old
  • Hello. Sorry for a long story. It was school who raised concerns about my 6 year old son. He is finishing primary 1 . Has very good academical abilities. The problems are frequent meltdowns and he is struggling to start tasks and getting very upset if something goes wrong. We had a meeting with school psychologist . She suggested autism . We said to her we would go ahead with the assessments for the diagnosis . But I want quite sure at the meeting as he meets the criteria . After googling this forum I felt like pda fits more to him. Brief story. My boy was quite challenging as a baby . He was crying a lot and has bad Colics . Started to sleep after I stopped breastfeeding but still can go to bed quite late. He never puts a resistance though . Until he was 5 he had lots of tantrums over small things . We called it “his rules”. People who have strong personality and used to critic him a lot (like his both granddads) often turned him to be Jekyll and Hyde. At the nursery he was crying a lot too. They never raised concerned until the last day before starting school the nursery teacher suggested he might need help in school with his tantrums. At the start of the school he was quite as his teacher said. Would participate in things she asked him to do. But once the year go on he started to argue with her and making excuses to do school work. He never liked drawing and writing became the biggest challenge for him at school. He can get very upset when not happy with the presentation so sometimes it takes very long to the teacher to make him do his writing tasks. At the start of the year he had frequent tantrums after coming out of the school gates. One day he would break his water bottle. Another day it would be we went the wrong route he didnt want to or one of his peers would go ahead. That caused my child to run away and be very upset. I have to admit even when he is running in despair he still aware of dangers and never runs far away from you. After introducing a sticker chat for "no tantrum after school" we did 14 day challenge with no crying. He earned a lego set and crying stopped. Now all the issues we have are at the school. Tantrums got better. He says " I Sorted the crying, mama. I just don't cry". But he still gets very anxious and lots of times doesn't want to engage to activities. School kept it to themself until the meeting 2 weeks ago though. Teacher never said anything to me at the gates.
    Social interaction is tricky for my son. He was a popular boy at the nursery. He had lots of friends but most of them were younger of age. He also had a spell of mimicing other children. He usually chose a boy similar height and was running around him and coping. That could get some children upset. If the knows the child better and child respond to him they would play as normal together. At the school now he doesn't have much friends now. He has a best friend who they built a sturdy friendship. With other children he is going to the spells of love and hate. We had 2 epsodes. One day he pushed the girl, the other he drew on her trousers. There are still friends now though. Teacher says kids love him.
    He is a very caring little boy, Looks after his 8 month old brother with such love. He loves cuddles and kisses. Food wise getting better too. He was quite picky but now tries new things. Some of them he loves, some don't but at least trying. In school it is always the same lunch though. That teacher pointed to me too. At school he has a choice though. In the cafe he always chooses nuggets and chips but as at the nursery he hadn't got a choice he ate what was given.
    He likes routines and rituals. But usually doesn't mind of change if you talk to him about it. In play he used to like to control us. Even in board games he controls the result. Who comes first, who second etc. If he is not allowed to do so he gets upset.
    Last 3 month he got into watching youtube videos about roblox games. He gets excited and flaps his arms and jumps when something cool happening.
    In school now he started finger movements. he moves the index finger around cuticula on his thumb when nervous. He does it at home too now. When I drop him at school he tends to hide behind me if somebody says hello and being very shy looking down. He avoids eye contact then. Other then that his eye contact is quite good. Yesterday I noticed also tip toe walking before bed. He was walking around deeply in his thought.
    Speech wise he is up to his age. He had a slight delay in speech and never proper babbled as a baby. Now he can recite stories well. He has broaden interests. He is very interesting person to talk too. He has good imagination. He likes to control my mum when she comes to us. She used to push her face to watch his cartoons and after that he liked to talk about them.
    We are moving houses and he will be starting new school next term. New school got the information from our current school as the support worker was at the last meeting with the phycologist. We are away for a holiday in a week but my thoughts are all worrying right now how I couldn't see all those signs. Was listening the webinars but very confused with how to apply the strategies. The questioner I scored 35 for my son. I am very lost now and as I suffer from major anxiety myself it is very hard to hold myself together too. I am also a foreigner and right now feel very lonely with everything. My husband all calm and worries much less.
    Thank you for listening.

  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,108
    Welcome to the Forum and thank you for sharing about your family.

    Firstly I’d say go ahead with requesting an assessment if you haven’t already. Ideally you’re looking for a multi-disciplinary approach - here is a link to the information we have on diagnostic pathways for children.
    https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/families/diagnosing-pda

    I know you mention that you suffer from anxiety yourself but if you feel able you may wish to see if there are any local support groups near you that could offer support, advice and friendship at this difficult time.
    https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/resources/Support-and-advice

    Please try not to worry about having missed any signs, your son is 6 and still very young so the important thing is what you do now. You’re doing absolutely the right thing by asking questions and trying to find out more. You mention that you are confused by the strategies, is there anything in particular that we can try to make clearer for you?

    Let me now try to answer a couple of your earlier points which may also help with regard to strategies:

    Meltdowns in children with PDA are best seen as a panic attack, basically their anxiety has completely taken over and they no longer have any control over their actions. If you are able to identify what is causing his anxiety to increase you may be able to introduce strategies that will ultimately help reduce the anxiety and alleviate the panic attack. Have school been able to offer any insights? Documenting incidents can also help to spot patterns of behaviour which could be a trigger.
    https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/families/managing-meltdowns

    With regards to starting tasks, often our children take longer to process information and he may just need to be given a little more time before starting a task. If someone is also able to repeat the instructions to him quietly or ask him what he thinks he needs to do and gently help if stuck this may also help. Some children also find pictorial instructions more helpful than verbal ones.

    If you are going away, planning to move house and start a new school these will all be anxious and/or exciting times for any child, but these activities will significantly increase the anxiety of a child with autism and PDA. Therefore, I would suggest that if you have seen a higher level of incidents recently this could be a part of the reason. Talking about what is going to happen and planning ahead may be helpful but sometimes our children do prefer not to know too much too far in advance, so you’ll need to judge what is appropriate for your son.

    I hope this helps but please do keep posting so we can offer you more support.
  • Thank you @Rhanh for welcoming and advices. I am at the process of learning now. Which is going together with packing our things for holidays and moving out and looking after 2 children. It is been so hard emotionally so I can't really concentrate on packing. All my thoughts are about how can I help my child. I can see how anxiety escalates on the morning journey to school every morning. By the time he is by the gate he is all tense and looking down.
    The best strategy for me so far to keep him talking about his feelings was using my own example. When he said he can't finish daddy's card for father's day as he "ruined everything". I said I feel like it sometimes when I cook dinner and things go wrong and i burn it. But I still have to cook another one or we will stay hungry. But not sure what strategy will work tomorrow.
    My son is also very intelligent. He can mask very well even from daddy. I will try to update with our journey. Can't really start the assessment ball rolling until back from russia in august.
    Regards, Nina
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,108
    Using our own examples can be so helpful and powerful.
    I hope the move and holiday go well and look forward to hearing from you when you have time. Take care.
  • Holly59
    Posts: 2,586
    Hi Nina

    Since you mention P1 are you living in Scotland ? If you are the Education Laws are different .
    Hope the house move has been successful and the holiday does not bring too many challenges .

    Pat xx
  • Hi Pat yes we live in Scotland. Holidays been great . I really consider to go back to Russia as I get family help here which can be crucial when you have lots of challenges at home . The problem is my husband is Scottish and doesn’t know Russian . Even Russia is backwards with asd diagnostics you can get much more behavioural therapy help and things like massages prescribed anytime . That what we were doing while here x
  • Holly59
    Posts: 2,586

    Hi Pat yes we live in Scotland. Holidays been great . I really consider to go back to Russia as I get family help here which can be crucial when you have lots of challenges at home . The problem is my husband is Scottish and doesn’t know Russian . Even Russia is backwards with asd diagnostics you can get much more behavioural therapy help and things like massages prescribed anytime . That what we were doing while here x



    Hi,
    You do not need a formal diagnosis in Scotland . It’s “ needs based “.

    Under the Additional Support for Learning Act a formal diagnosis is not required . Under GIRFC , get it right for every child they must do that . The Wellbeing Wheel must protect a child’s Mental Health , that means using PDA Stratagies .

    You must emphasise this to the School . PDA Stratagies must be used by Law .

    I suggest you also highlight the Scottish PDA Petition where Ministers have agreed that you can diagnose PDA .

    That’s excellent news about massage and therapies in Russia but PDA Stratagies must be used . There is a Global FB Page where I am sure you will find other Russians in the same situation .

    I have no idea if you could get an ASD-PDA diagnosis in Russia if that is the situation . It would be better in one respect to get your diagnosis here first if you are considering returning to Russia .

    I will PM you . Look at the toolbar and a light will come on . Click that .

    Pat xx

    PS Your “ English “ is brilliant . !

  • Hi Pat Thank you a lot. I spent all my holiday free time researching autism information both in English and Russian. Russia is really backwards with diagnosing on asd so I don’t think we have any chance of get a diagnose here . Anyway we are back to Scotland in 10 days. Got a letter from occupational therapists. I hope to get some advice from them . We are also starting in a new school so will have to find out about how much they will adapt . Thanks a lot again for support and very useful links. This site is so helpful x
  • Holly59
    Posts: 2,586

    Hi Pat Thank you a lot. I spent all my holiday free time researching autism information both in English and Russian. Russia is really backwards with diagnosing on asd so I don’t think we have any chance of get a diagnose here . Anyway we are back to Scotland in 10 days. Got a letter from occupational therapists. I hope to get some advice from them . We are also starting in a new school so will have to find out about how much they will adapt . Thanks a lot again for support and very useful links. This site is so helpful x



    That’s no problem whatsoever . Glad I can help . Glad you enjoyed the Holiday and Good Luck with the new School. That’s a positive the Occupational Therapits are involved . It’s a start .

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

    This is the Scottish Petition . Ministers have agreed that you can give an ASD-PDA diagnosis .

    Pat xx

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