Dual exceptionality???

(9 Posts)
popgoestheweezel Tue 12-Mar-13 13:32:55

Ds is 6, he is currently being assessed for Pathological Demand Avoidance which is a pervasive developmental disorder resulting in an over-anxious response to the normal demands of life. So he finds it very difficult to do anything he is asked or follow any rules and needs to feel in control at all times, because of this it's almost impossible to get him to 'do' anything that might show his true potential intellectual capacity, the only thing he will do is reading.
He loved books from a very early age and I suspected he could read a bit when he was about 2.5 as he would butt in with the right word when dd was learning. However, when he got to reception himself he refused to read at all. In yr 1, he decided he would read after all, and now is on copper level (stage 12/13 I think), but is reading much more complex stuff at home. He reads an awful lot, last night for example he read 120 pages of Billionaire Boy (David Walliams) and 40 pages of The Chronicles of Avantia (Beast Quest) (only just realised recommended 9+ on the back and probably not appropriate content blush) and I think some of The BFG too. The night before, he read the whole of George's Marvellous Medicine and possibly some other stuff. I have gently checked for comprehension (he would not respond if he thought I was testing him) and he certainly seems to understand what he's reading. However, he has little/no empathy so cannot understand that element of what he's reading.
He has been assessed for PDA characteristics by the ed psych and the report mentions that he has 'highly developed verbal skills which reflect his general cognitive ability' although he wasn't being assessed for IQ per se.
He has always had a remarkable vocabulary and strong interests in unusual subjects (eg. mummification when he was four) now he loves all kinds of history, geography, science and nature- but not really interested in anything he learns about at school (those subjects are touched upon but not in anything like the depth ds would enjoy). In fact, he says he hates school and has huge tantrums most days before and after school.
His emotional regulation is about the level of a two year old, in fact imagine the terrible twos in a six yr old and you have ds. However, he has an incredible memory for facts and for events, often prefers the company of older children or adults (his favourite thing is when a knowledgable adult 'feeds' him with interesting facts and trivia which he soaks up like a sponge), he asks a lot of questions that are very difficult to answer and has a good sense of humour.
I'm not saying he is anything amazingly special (although of course, he is to me) but I just have a feeling that we are not stimulating him adequately. Since starting school it has been like the light being switched off inside him and I want to find a way to switch it back on.
Sorry this is long, but I didn't want to drip feed the info.

GooseyLoosey Tue 12-Mar-13 15:46:47

I hope you manage to sort out your ds.

My ds is now 9. He has some social integration issues and when he was being assessed for ASD they determined he had a very high IQ. So not the same issues as yours but there are some similarities.

Ds arrived at school expecting all knowledge on a plate. The school environment was so bad for him that at the end of his first year, he had largely switched off entirely. In the next 3 years, he always claimed he learned nothing at all at school and I am not completely sure that he was not right (at least in an accademic sense).

In mid-yr 4 we moved him to an accademically selective school where they also had more experience of dealing with "quirky" children. It has made a huge difference.

Not saying that this would work for your child, but sometimes a change in environment does help.

RooneyMara Tue 12-Mar-13 15:55:28

Has anyone assessed him for an ASD?

Niceweather Tue 12-Mar-13 19:52:19
popgoestheweezel Tue 12-Mar-13 21:54:21

The problem with an academically selective school may be that ds would most likely come upon more challenges in terms of expectations. I do think that a montessori school might be good but the one I've looked at locally seems rather formal with a lot of emphasis on results (I guess thats what most parents are interested in) and I think even the slightest pressure for academic performance would totally backfire.
Also, if he does have special needs (PDA) then a state school has a legal responsibility to cater for his needs where a private school has no obligation.
He hasn't been formally assessed for ASD as although he scores over the threshold on the CAST he doesn't display some of the principle characteristics that the paed and ed psych are looking for. He is sociable, makes eye contact, and can have a reciprocal conversation. He is definitely not typical asd.

GooseyLoosey Wed 13-Mar-13 11:55:50

It's hard to know what to do - we found that the lack of accademic stimulation was causing some of the other issues and once we sorted that, some of the other problems disappeared. Sending him to a selective school was actually the Ed Psych's recommendation. Ds is also pretty emotially immature and I am not sure he really does empathy either in the normal course of events.

No experience of PDA, but I hope you find someone who does.

aliasPrickleandJones Sun 24-Mar-13 21:54:47

OP, I think your child sounds gifted.

Take a look at this list GiftedvsBright Does he tick a lot of the gifted descriptions?

I'm not sure if my dc is gifted but she ticks a lot of the points. She is a perfectionist to the nth degree and will only do something if she knows absolutely that she will be able to do it and is in control. At age 6 had the most amazing tantrums particularly after school. Does this sound a bit like your ds?

If it's any consolation, now she's 11, she is much calmer. Also moving her to a school that stretched her more and had a more varied curriculum has really helped. Good luck!

DS2 has Asperger's and ADHD and is also exceptionally able. He is currently in Y6 at a mainstream state primary school but has had a secondary teacher for Maths this year and one for Science since Y4. He also has differentiated work for English. His reading age is 5 years ahead of chronological age but he struggles with the 'reading between the lines' aspect of comprehension.

He will be starting at an academically selective secondary school in September, also mainstream but with a strong Learning Support department and a lot of experience of boys on the autistic spectrum.

Things have got progressively easier and more settled for him as he has gone up through the school system, especially from about Y3 onwards. More differentiated work and more of a routine within the school.

Pythonesque Thu 25-Apr-13 16:22:22

I'd agree with others about the potential for a more academically selective school environment to be helpful. If a child is just doing what everyone else is doing it can be less stressful.

My daughter certainly doesn't match the description you give, but is kind of in the same direction. She's just moved (in year 5) to a school that has higher expectations generally than her previous school, and as a result she is achieving a lot more. Previously, she would do only what was expected and not a bit more. And what she thought was expected at that, which wasn't always actually all they had asked for... Her brother is in a small school which does a wonderful job of keeping a class together yet differentiating their work. The maths teacher had a few of them starting algebra the other day - in year 3!, while others were just doing the same sheet as a fill in the missing number exercise, and others had a different sheet.

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