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  • skylacain
    Posts: 9
    This is my first post on here, although I have read through many of the previous posts.
    I am a Mum of two however my eldest daughter who is 11 has had a recent Paediatricians appointment where it was suggest she may have Dyspraxia as well as PDA. I have trawled the internet trying to put the pieces together but I can only find examples of children that seem to have very severe PDA. I wanted to ask if it is possible to have a milder version of PDA. My daughter has hidden her difficulties from everyone at school and only expresses her avoidance at home. These are often very aggressive however she can also and often does behave in a very compliant manner when she isn't under undue levels of this possible if a child has PDA?
    As a family we are very confused and isolated, we feel that many people don't get to see this behavior other than us because she has a phobia of getting into trouble at school. The other children I have read about don't seem able to control their PDA like she does. Could this mean that PDA could be the wrong suggestion for our daughter?

    Thank-you for your time.
  • webbwebb
    Posts: 2,569

    Hello and welcome to the PDA Forum, we hope we will all be able to help and support you here.
    There are some PDA children that can behave differently in different settings.
    Some children will be "actively" avoidant at home but compliant and passive at school.

    Have you read the book "Understanding Pathological Demand Avoidance in Children" published by Jessica Kingsley?
    This book is a great read and could explain to you more about how children can be compliant at school.
    Your daughter has sumed up the reason she is compliant ie "she has a fear/phobia of getting into trouble at school". She is so anxious at school and doesn't want to get anything wrong so remains compliant.
    I hope other parents who have children like your daughter will post soon.

    If she is actively compliant at school but avoidant at home, she can still have PDA.

    Take Care
  • skylacain
    Posts: 9
    Hi Paula

    That helps a lot thank-you!
    I am currently reading the book and although there are parts that sound so ground breakingly familiar to us there are also other areas where I'm just not so sure the diagnosis fits. What has amazed me most though is the realisation that as parents we have accommodated her refusals to such a huge degree without even knowing that we were doing so....does that sound silly?
    Equally as she as got older many things are less of a battle but I am wondering if that is because she has become in charge of brushing her hair and having a shower etc etc?

    I have never posted on a forum before and the last 11 years have been pretty arduous so currently I am quite gleeful at the prospect that there is somewhere I can ask a question and a lovely person will reply in just a few hours! Thank you very much!
  • Moose
    Posts: 1,843
    Hi and welcome,

    as has been suggested, no two children with PDA will be the same and the lengths to which demand avoidance goes to will vary too.
    It could be that your daughter is coping reasonably well now and that pressures are within her capacity, perhaps if pressures out stretch her, more PDA traits would show.

    There has also been some suggestion by professionals, that Asperger Syndrome in girls, looks similar to PDA.

    I think I would suggest that maybe it does not really matter whether your daughter has 'mild PDA' or just has some 'PDA like' traits. For either case, an understanding of PDA may well provide you with extra insight into your daughter and provide you with ways to help manage her at home.
  • skylacain
    Posts: 9
    That is such a helpful post! You are so right, I have been chasing my tail ever since we received the suggested diagnosis a week ago, trying to make the puzzle fit together....every one of her actions has become a symptom and every action that didn't fit a symptom confused me even more!
    You really are right, none of those things really matter at all, the fact is we now have an understanding of what is at the root of her distress and can mange her accordingly.
    I dont want to see her as a set of symptoms I just want to understand her and what makes her so distressed.
    Thanks again.
  • mandymoo
    Posts: 38
    Hello skylacain.

    we have exactly the same problem with our daughter. She holds herself all day at school & it all comes out as soon as we get to the car. She says that she is afraid of the other children seeing the real her. She normally has a meltdown when her demands are not met. Eg; not being able to sit in a certain seat in the car or needing food. This has become much worse in the last few months.

    our Paed wants to medicate for add, as she said it presents differently in girls. I must admit that she does fit some of the criteria for this but she displays most of the pda traits too!

    Pda is not recognised in our area & we are going to the ENC next month. I'm not sure if it is possible to have pda & add/adhd.

    Also, our daughter gets very aggressive when needs something, rather than anxious but she certainly has a need to be in control & has become an expert at trying to change the subject when demands are put on her too!

    I keep telling myself that however difficult & frustrating it seems to us, it must be far worse (& frightening) for our children.

    I'm sure you will (as I have) find it comforting to know that there are others out there & that you are not alone.
  • Moose
    Posts: 1,843
    mandymoo, I am aware of some children who have received ADHD and PDA as a diagnosis.
    However, I would argue that there is much in the average child with PDA that is similar to ADHD/ADD, I would suggest that this goes with the territory. I think many parents could easily see their child's difficulties as being like a mix and match of several different conditions.
    I would hasten to add that I am not a professional and would not wish to state that the two conditions cannot exist together, every child is complex and unique.
  • Skylacain
    Hey there I have just read your post about your daughter. Our daughter
    is also 11 and fits the same criteria you describe. She seems fine at
    school and appears to accept the demands placed upon her without
    any problems. She however let's go at home virtually straight after walking
    out of the school gates. She often gets aggressive, more of late, and
    sometimes hits out at my wife in frustration.She is currently undergoing
    a 10 weeks course and school to identify her issues. It is nice to read
    a post so similar to our issues.
    Stay strong
  • skylacain
    Posts: 9
    Hi there

    Thank-you for your post. It is so reassuring to hear of other people in the same situation. We have recently had a very difficult time with SATs and an upcoming school play. Because of this she is displaying more challenging behaviour at home. She seems to be bullying and threatening her younger sister a lot, as well as being inappropriately behaved in public (she has always controlled her out bursts when other people have been around up until now).
    It is tricky to handle but we have found that changing the subject to her obsession (horses) can often flick her temper off like a switch. We have also taken to writing the days events on a board during the weekends so she can see what is happening and this seems to have helped her loads. We are dreading senior school though, you must be too? How did you find your daughter coped with the exam stress?

    Take Care
  • RebekahL19
    Posts: 18
    Hi Skylacain and others....
    You could be describing my 11-year-old daughter too! She also holds together at school, but can be significantly more difficult at home. She also loves horses and they are a very good way of influencing her behaviour, especially lowering anxiety. Like you we spent a long time puzzling over the diagnosis because she didn't seem to be a perfect fit to PDA, and I've also heard the comparison between female Aspergers and PDA (I think from something on the NAS website). It may just be, as Moose says, that she is coping at present (and certainly things go up and down) but also in the end I've concluded J's presentation was more "subtle" (mild?) than some - she is more passive avoidant than active/aggressive avoidant, although we do get the flare-ups too if something doesn't happen exactly the way she wants it to.
    J's just done Sats and we've had a tricky time the last few months- school set a lot of homework in the build up to SATs which of course she expended loads of energy trying to avoid doing, and then going into panics because she hadn't done it and wanted to do well. Talk about contradictory! She barely slept at all the first night of the tests (my husband and I did shifts to sit up with her the whole night). Quite frankly I don't give a stuff how she does, but she cares and I'm worried it will affect her self esteem if she doesn't do as well as she wants to.
    We have the challenge of secondary school transition to come - that's a big unknown but we just doing our best to prepare her, fortunately although she's not got a Statement, Integrated Disability Support are quite clued up about it. I've also got her onto a Equine Facilitated Learning programme which I hope will help her develop some independence (early days yet).
    Be interested in your thoughts about secondary transition...
  • skylacain
    Posts: 9
    This all sounds very familiar. It is so reassuring to hear. Our daughter attends a wonderful riding school that specialize in working with children with special needs. She is a member of their pony club and it has given her lots of confidence.
    We tried our best to play down the SATs and she was allowed special access arrangements to help her cope. She was even more concerned about the school trip to a Theme Park to celebrate the end of the exams!!

    Secondary school is by far our biggest concern! Do you find your daughter has many friends? Our daughter seems to make lots of friends and appears to be liked, but never any close friends. She seems to prefer looking after the younger children at school which worries us a lot, especially with secondary school being just around the corner.
  • RebekahL19
    Posts: 18
    Are you sure you don't have my daughter's twin???? That is exactly what J is like, lots of friends, generally liked, but no-one really close. It seems like she's on the periphery of friendship groups, and stays well out of all the friction and tensions as far as we can tell (she won't discuss anything to do with feelings or emotions). Several times she's been the one to befriend a new girl in school, and she's very happy playing with younger kids. Occasionally she's got a bit fixated on a particular child, but they seem to drift away before there's too much aggro. She's generally seems ok with playing, though I've heard from other quarters that she can be quite passive and just says "I don't mind" when asked what she wants to do, so I suspect that she found that avoids confrontation she can't cope with. She also seems quite emotionally young and a bit naïve compared with other girls (hence the playing with younger kids I suspect).
    After much umming and ahhring we've decided to send J to a smaller state secondary school which is some way away, because we felt she would find our large local one ( a ten form entry) too much to cope with socially. Fortunately there are a few other girls she knows who are also going so there will be a small local community. We'll just have to wait and see how she copes...

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