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Does this sound like PDA?
  • Hi everyone,
    I have just joined this forum after my health visitor suggested my son could have it, I apologise in advance for the lengthy message!

    My lovely son (almost 5) has always been a challenge. From 2 weeks old he stopped breathing and was pooing blood constantly. He was diagnosed with severe reflux and a milk protein allergy. From being tiny he would throw his head back at us and head butt us. This then became screaming toddler tantrums, scratching, biting, head butting etc.

    Everyone has told me "it's a phase". Our daughter (who is 7) never behaved like this apart from a bit of toddler stubborness. He outgrew his allergy at 1.5 but the behaviour continued (something we always attributed to the reflux!).

    He screams or punches you when you ask him to do something or when you tell him no. He gets very overwhelmed by things - for example, if we surprised him with a trip or holiday his reaction would be to head butt you or scratch you. After he is calm he would be happy. His language skills have always been excellent and ahead of what is "expected" for his age. He loves role play and has played the role of a girl called Daisy for around 3 years. He plays this with his sister but he is the one to instigate it. When he is Daisy he is much more compliant and we will sometimes ask Daisy to do it rather than him. He has pretty poor motor skills but I think this is mainly because he is left handed so he struggles to use cutlery so resorts often to using his hands. He is very unpredictable and will be playing happily one moment then smack you across the face or pinch you for no reason.
    Quite often he takes himself to bed "because he is tired" but usually because it's nearly dinner time and he doesn't like sitting at the table. In fact tiredness is usually his excuse for everything.

    Whenever we go out for a walk he will stop after two seconds "because he is too tired, his legs hurt etc".
    His behaviour over the recent summer holiday's has increased- possibly because he was not in his routine of going to nursery. When he was going to nursery you could set your watch by him; at 11.25 (the time we needed to leave the house) he would refuse to put his shoes on, his coat etc. I would have to get his dinosaur to ask if he could go to school with him. Sometimes that worked, sometimes not.
    I realise this is a very-long winded message but I feel exhausted by it all. I have read many stories on PDA recently and my son doesn't seem anywhere near as extreme as some of the children on there. Obviously my health visitor is no expert but I guess I am just looking for some light at the end of the tunnel. I contacted her out of desperation recently after he searched the kitchen for "weapons" to stab me with because I'd told him he couldn't do something.

    He started school two weeks ago and they have said what a lovely little boy he is! Although he did bite a child last week! And his last nursery said he was mischievous because he always said no to things when he meant yes, basically they ignored it.

    I would appreciate any advice anyone can offer!

    And sorry once again for the essay.
    Claire x
  • I forgot to add that getting him out of bed in the morning is very stressful as we don't know what mood he will be in. He doesn't like getting up so we get kicked and punched and I usually end up carrying him out of bed like an aeroplane or something to distract him.
  • Mousie
    Posts: 107
    Hi and welcome
    my child too was a NIGHTMARE baby - always screaming, crawling at 2.5 months - we too went down the lactose intolerant/ milk allergy route - anything to try and explain this away..
    from what I read hear it's good to find out what you can early and be prepared - so all the educational stuff on this forum will probably be very useful.
    good luck.
  • Thank you for your reply Mousie.
    I guess it's the waiting game now. I have no idea what the children's centre will see when we go as he is pretty good at complying in these sorts of situations!
  • I am in a strange position, everyone agrees my daughter has additional needs but she doesn't quite fit the ASD tag. September has been mental and we are only a couple of weeks in. I am exhausted as the morning battle which is often violent too, lasts until I carry her in half naked up the school gate. She is 5 and officially ruling the roost.
    I am asking her paediatrician for help and going to attend a coffee morning with other ASD mums as I need help. I have just had a meeting with her SENCO and apparently she is no problem for school however she suggests we contact camhs for support.

    Its tough as even though PDA seems to explain some of what's going on a part of me just keeps asking g "is it me?"

    I hope you get support xxx
  • Thank you Claire. Sorry about the slow reply.
    I said to my husband yesterday how perhaps we were imagining his behaviour as he was great yesterday... spoke too soon.
    This evening I collected both children from after school club. Told them I had a treat for after his tea. My son asked if he could have it straight away. I said “First tea, then cookie.” He screamed at me and ran back up to school. I ended up having to carry him home with him kicking me. When we got in he refused to take his shoes or coat off and I was kicked again.Then when I told him tea was ready. He came in, touched it, realised it was hot so started screaming. He then “flipped”. He smacked me across the face, kicked me, bit me leaving a red mark and continued to scratch. He then tried to hit me with a door and told me hated me. I cried because of the pain in my arm. He was unconcerned and sat back down to eat his tea. I feel like I've done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. It's bloody exhausting isn't it? But I can just imagine him being assessed - he'll be the model child!
    Sorry for the rant!
  • Please do not apologise, a rant to you is actually reassurance to me that I am not Alone. I have just had a perfect day with dd. I i put into place lots of the strategies described on links here ... I am happy but still thinking 'well that proves it is me' . however I have also had a DR's app. During which they were assessing whether I was the victim of domestic violence ... Eventually I explained it was my dd aged 5. A good kick to my shoulder has left my right arm all rubbish ... Not good for driving, writing on board (I teach)
    No one warns you, the pain of injury is nothing compared with the pain of watching your child so distressed. Today I worked really hard to put her in control and it worked. We actually laughed, talked and there was no drama. It was beautiful to see her relaxed.
    I know it is short term as as soon as she feels it is expected .......

    I am celebrating over a glass of wine, after 4 wks of hitting a brick wall I found my wonderful daughter ... Even if it was for just a few hours. Again ... No one warns you of the loss such conditions bring about.

    I am just grateful for people like you who are so honest about what is going on.
    Big hugs xxxxc
  • LuLu
    Posts: 11
    It's so hard, isn't it !!!!

    I too am grateful for other honest people on here. Others just don't get it.

    I have found myself, lately, staying up too late, not wanting to go to sleep because then it will be time to wake up again and start the unknown and aggro all over again.

    I feel like I am missing out on enjoying my daughter and that makes me really sad.

    Take care ladies (and gents)
  • Claire, it all sounds so difficult for you. I can't believe they think you are being abused.
    Hope the peace lasts. Is she well behaved when she gets to school? Apparently our son is brilliant!

    And he was a lot more compliant this morning as he was being Bob the builder. I asked Bob to visit the dentist and the shoe shop before school and he was happy to do that as he got to measure the bathroom too!

    Lulu, you're right, people just say "oh my kids are like that too". That's what 4 year olds do etc. I have another child who has never been this difficult and I work with children and do a lot of 1;1 with an autistic boy so I know something is not right! You know your own child. We always just thought our son was being awkward until the health visitor gave us the PDA leaflet a few weeks ago. Are you awaiting an assessment too?

  • LuLu
    Posts: 11
    Hi Clairabella, we are in Australia and PDA isn't diagnosed here I am told. We saw a developmental paed a few times and G was fine on the ados test. I told both him and the child psych we have been seeing about PDA, having found it on the net. They have discussed it between themselves and agreed it fits, but might not be believed since it isn't in the manual etc. G is well behaved at school (3/4 way through first year), but is becoming worse at home as the time goes on. I feel like we are just trying to get through each day, with no real direction to head...if that makes sense
  • Clairevictoria those moments (which mystify me) where your child seems "normal" and is being sweet and loving, are so precious when the other times they are raging and anxious. I made the most of one of those moments yesterday, where she let me hug and kiss her every time we passed, where she had no meltdowns and didn't scream at me for every little thing. I guess that's the Jekyll and Hide part of the condition. But you do question if it has all been in your head when they are lovely...until the next episode.

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