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Consequences for DC with PDA, and handling a current crisis

(102 Posts)
HotheadPaisan Fri 08-Mar-13 19:21:34

So, things are pretty much out of control at the moment. I can understand the need for consequences and so on, just not convinced it's going to work whilst DS1 is in a crisis. Also, attempts at implementing consequences are escalating things, which is to be expected.

Just wondered what others think. I want to concentrate on understanding what is causing this crisis, sometimes I think it's just some kind of development phase, others a testing of the waters, but he really is not in control at all and nobody is very sure what to do.

lougle Fri 08-Mar-13 19:24:03

Can you opt for 'natural consequences'. So, he makes a mess, you just don't have time to do x for him because you are too busy clearing up, etc?

HotheadPaisan Fri 08-Mar-13 19:34:02

That would work for a need that was immediate but things are dragging on for hours or are being carried over to the next occasion, just not sure of the point but understand something needs to be done. And I really don't think it will work, you could put him in prison and he would still stick to his guns because he can't help his actions and reactions atm, he's just not thinking straight. It's all got a bit siege mentality.

ponyandpotatopie Fri 08-Mar-13 19:38:15

My ds doesn't have a dx of PDA but we have been told he meets the criteria for diagnosis.
I use role play with puppets a lot to explain consequences and how his actions can affect himself and others- how other people feel etc.

lougle Fri 08-Mar-13 19:43:55

Have you identified triggers?

Not the same thing at all, I'm sure, but DD3 is 3.11. She is going through a phase (please let it be a phase) of refusing to do something just because it is my idea.

So, at a Mothers' Day church service, trying to keep her entertained and distracted from wanting to go and sit next to DD2 <whimper> I drew a 'number matching game' for her.

She adores number matching (drawing lines from the number on the left side to the matching number on the right side). However, because I had suggested it, she resolutely refused to do it, pushing it away.

I chose to ignore it. I resolutely looked up at the children and ignored her hitting my feet and pushing my legs. After a few minutes, she looked at me out of the corner of her eye, and did the number matching.

I then stuffed up royally, by drawing her a little star to congratulate her. She told me in no uncertain terms that she didn't want a stupid star <sigh>

So in our 'phase' we are discovering that the way to deal with her is to just present the 'thing' and say nothing. If she does it, she does it, if not...no comment.

Sorry, I've warbled on and DD3 doesn't even have a complex SN like PDA....I was just musing about how to get the job done without triggering demands. blush

HotheadPaisan Fri 08-Mar-13 19:46:13

Yes, that is a good option, DS1 would absolutely refuse to engage or listen, he would know there is a lesson in there and an implicit, albeit indirect demand to take it on board and would resist.

I can talk to him when all is calm, just not sure applying consequences, other than immediate and relevant ones is going to work. I don't know, we and school could carry on but I think we should regroup and take an entirely different approach for now whilst we work through this crisis.

HotheadPaisan Fri 08-Mar-13 19:49:33

We have no idea what has triggered this latest phase, I think development changes, it is very bad, he is being severely violent and aggressive, but then everyone is escalating things too.

He clearly can't cope, we need to back off, make some changes, drop some demands for now.

HotheadPaisan Fri 08-Mar-13 19:51:12

Agree with ignoring and not drawing attention to things, even achievements. The spitting is back (had gone for a year or more) and I can ignore that but we can't ignore the hitting and throwing.

lougle Fri 08-Mar-13 19:52:55

So what is stopping you?

lougle Fri 08-Mar-13 19:54:03

Ahh hitting and throwing.

Yes, DD1 had us there, too.

Walter4 Fri 08-Mar-13 19:55:21

Hothead, with my son , if things get to that uncontrollable stage nothing relating to dealing with the immediate behaviour will work. We look at the background cause of his stress and try to remove/deal with that. With his behaviour we try to nurture him, do things that make him calm and relaxed, let him direct it all as much as possible till that complete inability to cope with absolutely everything gradually subsides. Not sure if I'm making any sense?! I just really feel with PDA sometimes when its so bad you have to just try to do LESS, almost like trying to calm the waters while looking for the cause in the background and trying to remove or lessen that for him. Maybe not the way for you but it helps at times like that for our son. We get no where trying to look at the behaviour and DEAL with it, at least not at the " uncontrollable " times you are in at the moment. Trust how you feel you should deal with your son, you're most likely to be right!

HotheadPaisan Fri 08-Mar-13 19:55:41

Can't control everyone! The more consequences being applied the worse it's getting, but then it is pretty bad anyway. Psych appt on cards, considering making it an emergency, ditto for a social care assessment, things are really very bad indeed, exclusion is on the cards and we cannot cope without the break school gives. All a bit of a vicious circle really.

HotheadPaisan Fri 08-Mar-13 19:58:13

That's the thing Walter, I don't know what's causing it, he has suddenly become very aggressive with other adults and children, he has never done this before. He's nearly seven btw.

PolterGoose Fri 08-Mar-13 20:00:55

Hothead I think we've discussed this before (at least I have, it's a bit of a pet project blush)

Consequences do not work for my ds either, nor do punishments or rewards (except huge ones which are unsustainable and only have a limited short term effect). I do not punish or issue consequences for behaviours which I think are out of his control. I do everything I can to reduce his anxiety and sensory problems, distraction, and also giving him as much control over what he does as is possible. So he sets his routines (with discussion), however, if he wants to insist on a routine and then spontaneously wants to change it, we say no but agree to re-negotiate.

My biggest tasks right now are for him to learn ways to manage his own sensory difficulties (with ace OT input thankfully) and to develop negotiation skills. I have always believed that you should never say 'no' when you can say 'yes' even if it is 'yes, but not now' followed by discussion. I don't always get it right, mind!

I think there is huge pressure to use consequences, but in my view, and I've said it before, it can and does raise anxiety, so if anxiety is the cause of the behaviour that resulted in the consequence, it just becomes a horrid cycle.

I know you recommend the Huebner books often, we've just done the worries one and it is really working.

ponyandpotatopie Fri 08-Mar-13 20:03:03

My ds's school control his environment very carefully. Could it be linked to his environment justbhaving much sensory input so he becomes disregulated?

Walter4 Fri 08-Mar-13 20:03:34

The hitting and throwing, we try to turn away, not react too much ( I know its difficult and is horrible) I tend to move away as I know he's about to do it, or distract him. Sometimes it goes mad for a while here too , but still we don't duel with the actual hitting , but look for why its got to that stage. It's awful I hate the hitting and throwing , but find reacting makes that incident worse and brings loads more after it!!
Think I'm starting to become a bit numb:/

PolterGoose Fri 08-Mar-13 20:09:05

When ds attacks me I either walk away or restrain him. I have scratches now. It makes it easier that he is an only child. He has got better and will some times say he needs to break something and will tear paper for a release. Summer is easier as physical activity makes a big difference.

It sounds like you want to just stop the consequences, just do it. See if it helps. Make yourself only engage with ds in a gentle positive way (however hard that is, or it is for me at times) and keep a diary to see if you recognise any patterns. Get a weekly timetable from school to add into this. He's on the spectrum isn't he? So may struggle with communicating what is really going on, my ds certainly has huge problems expressing his own needs.

Got to do bedtime, back later thanks

Walter4 Fri 08-Mar-13 20:14:38

Hothead, I think school gets a bit tougher for them at that age, mine is only nearly 5, social stuff is more complex, work is harder and perhaps he is seeing his own difficulties which I feel will increase my sons anxiety.

It sound like other people aren't using PDA methods with him, do they have all the info, PDA book,the PDA contact group do some great educational guidelines for school that are clear and short to read for them. My son punches us and hits relentlessly, almost goes into violent role play and he's still 4, I'm sure its much worse at 7 ! The hardest thing is getting other people to do what we know our children need. You're poor boy must be struggling too, wish I could do more.....

ponyandpotatopie Fri 08-Mar-13 20:18:00

We used to walk away but ds would follow us and carry on. It was awful. Restraining him just made it worse. He's grown out of the hitting for the most part now though.
He copies what he sees though and he only has to see a behaviour once to copy it. I think that he started hitting us when a so called 'friend' at primary school was hitting him.

PolterGoose Fri 08-Mar-13 20:21:23

My ds can't take praise either and a complement (unless it reflects exactly what he thinks about whatever he has achieved) will result in furious rage.

lougle Fri 08-Mar-13 20:25:30

DD1 would hit me, then when that got no response, she'd hit her sister. I then had two choices: Deal with her, leaving the hurt child to console themselves, or deal with the hurt child, leaving her free to hit the other sibling.

If I shut her out of the room, she'd climb the bannisters (wobbly) or do other death-defying things.

It really was an impossible situation. In fact, I have video footage of the Learning Disabilities nurse trying to implement the 'naughty step'. She'd be told she could get off, and she'd be walking down the hallway with her hands like claws, ready to attack with a huge grin on her face. Totally in her own little game world.

The thing that made it harder was that the other two didn't understand to 'stay away' if I was restraining her. They thought I didn't want them near me. I had to teach them 'be safe' as a command.

Now, we have SS help, KIDS club and Home Start, which covers 4 days out of the 5.

HotheadPaisan Fri 08-Mar-13 20:50:10

I think it's a phase, he is in the wrong initially, school feel they have to issue a consequence and the whole thing escalates - restraint, more violence etc. What starts off as a brief but unpleasant behaviour from DS1 towards another child ends up in a shocking thing to witness and experience for all. It's like a rolling incident now, something needs to interrupt it all.

PolterGoose Fri 08-Mar-13 21:16:19

Can you keep him off school for a few days to stop the cycle. I've kept ds off on odd days when his anxiety has been high.

MareeyaDolores Fri 08-Mar-13 21:26:22

Gosh lougle, I'd repressed forgotten how long we spent doing 'stay safe' with dd when controlling ds1 didn't work.

HotheadPaisan Fri 08-Mar-13 21:48:27

I don't know Polter, I think school have to change tack.

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