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Help could this be a disorder or just bad behaviour

(12 Posts)
Lostmam86 Sun 24-Jan-16 19:30:32

Hi
I'm new to this site and desperate for advice. I have tried everything I can think of and am at a loss on where to go from here. My child (7) is extremely badly behaved at home. At school she has been called wilful but bright. But at home she has me in tears constantly. I have tried reward charts and punishments but nothing seems to help. I'm starting to think there may be an underlying issue I am missing. The following is a list of things she does on a daily basis.

• says she's poorly and can't go to school
• says she wants to die
• simple requests like put the cup away will be met with a meltdown
• lies and manipulates to get what she wants
• won't sleep alone
• bedtime results in me being abused and lasts about 1 1/2 hours
• if losing a game will become aggressive
• if she attends parties she doesn't participate and just clings to me
• general responses are "I don't care" or "you can't make me"
• if food is not presented as she requests she won't eat it and will become aggressive I.e cut up sausages and toast to the right size. She can do it herself but she won't
• has to choose her own clothes or becomes distressed and refuses to leave the house
• returns from school straight into role playing as the teacher for hours at a time
• refuses to do homework or reading at home. Will have a complete meltdown if forced. Uses excuses like she doesn't understand or her eyes hurt
• shows no remorse for her actions. If she makes me cry she will say sorry but then continue the action and often gets worse
•Her mood changes from calm to crazed in a second for no apparent reason
• will scream or distract in anyway she can if I try to have a conversation
• won't go out unless she knows where, when etc often in spite of herself

There are more but these are the main ones I can think of. I was wondering if anyone has any similar issues and maybe I'm just not parenting properly. She is my only child so I have nothing to compare her behaviour to.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

PolterGoose Sun 24-Jan-16 19:59:52

Obviously I'm just a parent, not qualified etc etc, but it sounds like textbook PDA to me.

It's bloody hard work.

As well as those resources, have a look at the PDA Society website and buy the book 'The Explosive Child' forthwith!

imip Sun 24-Jan-16 23:17:16

Dd7 has ASD/PDA and will do many of the things you describe, esp teacher role play, bedtime, issues around arrangement of food, homework (well, lack thereof!).

It was a hellish 2 yr journey getting diagnosed, my parenting was called into question, despite 3 other compliant children! We follow a lot of the suggestions from the PDA website - very helpful...

Lostmam86 Mon 25-Jan-16 07:18:50

Thank you both for your replies. I have been struggling for years assuming I'm just not good at being a parent. I'm going to make an appointment to speak to my gp again. I've been before but they weren't very helpful.

Bookeatingboy Mon 25-Jan-16 10:02:04

Have a look at the website before you go to the GP...

www.pdasociety.org.uk/

Good luck with the GP, ask for a referral and don't take no for an answer.

gabbybaby Mon 25-Jan-16 10:14:22

sounds very much like my 6 y.o. Ed Psych has suggested PDA, which is what I was thinking too

Bethmo Mon 25-Jan-16 16:46:34

Hi Lostmam86,

Sounds like you're having a really tough time. I would definitely echo the advice above - take all this information to your GP - I'd recommend a referral to developmental paediatrics, and also speech and language therapy. It's possible that your daughter has some difficulties with communication - this is something a speech therapist would be able to help with.

I am an independent speech and language therapist based in London - I'd be happy to talk to you about your daughter further if you'd like, but as a starter piece of advice I'd recommend making communication with your daughter as visual as possible - have reward charts and be consistent with them, but also use things such as visual timetables, timers in the run up to bed time (i.e. when sand timer runs out, it is time to go to bed) and to try and keep the language you use with her as simple and straight forward as possible.

Like I said, happy to chat more if you'd like - all the best!

PolterGoose Mon 25-Jan-16 16:51:51

Beth the things you're recommending usually don't work with children with a PDA type profile, and hasn't the whole visual learner thing been discredited?

Ineedmorepatience Mon 25-Jan-16 17:14:10

OMG! A sandtimer!! Any kind of timer sends Dd3's anxiety through the roof! She would spend all the time running around flapping and panicking about time running out!!

When she is at her most demand avoidant she will actively avoid all of the visual things that we have used and generally tells me she isnt going to look at them!

Dd3 has Asd but can be very demand avoidant when she is stressed, she wouldnt get a PDA dx though because she is much too Asd if that makes sense!

I do agree about clear language though, we have rid ourselves of most of the wishy washy language that many people use so "Darling could you pop into the hall and find your school shoes and put them on because we are going to school in 5 minutes" Becomes "Shoes on"!

I would take your list and as many examples as you can think of and go and speak to your GP, you dont even need to take her, GP's cant assess for Asd or Pda they can only refer to someone who can!

Good luck flowers

Bethmo Mon 25-Jan-16 18:09:54

Using visuals doesn't only support a learning style - it's about bolstering communication and supporting understanding. For children with ASD and a wide range of communication difficulties the evidence shows these to be very beneficial. PDA sounds like a possibility but there are plenty of differential diagnoses which would benefit from visual support for communication.

A sand timer is one example of how this could help - with PDA children, eliminating direct demands can support behaviour and outbursts - saying 'when the timer runs out we are going to have to put our shoes on' is less direct that 'put your shoes on', but as I said, just an example.

Echoing what others have said. Of course I'm just a parent too but pretty much everything on your list sounds very much like PDA. And like my 3 year old DD. I'm finding her very hard work at the moment but the one thing I have to keep reminding myself is that she doesn't want to be violent or difficult, she is simply so anxious she cannot behave better. We are trying PDA techniques on her because quite frankly we've tried everything else and it doesn't work. There are some days nothing seems to work and even the slightest thing sends her into an attack or meltdown so I try and keep calm and give cuddles and stay patient because I know her anxiety levels are very high. This is hard though because her behaviour makes me want to run away and cry some days and I'm constantly wondering why things are so complex when she's so young.

She frequently grins at me when I tell her I am upset or she has hurt someone's feelings or when I tell her off. It's very hard not to react to this but all this stuff is very common with PDA

Once you've read all the info you can get your hands on, if your DD seems to fit the profile don't give up until you get her assessed. We are keeping a diary of significant events at the moment which may be a helpful thing for you to do. Unfortunately we had such a bad experience getting DS assessed on the NHS we went private and will probably do the same for DD if she doesn't 'grow out' of her difficulties in the next 6 months or so. But we didn't go through our GP so perhaps that is the way to go

Keep us updated and welcome to the board, you're amongst friends here thanks

Lostmam86 Mon 25-Jan-16 20:36:17

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I had a quick chat with the school today and they said they haven't noticed anything but she hasn't been there long. They want to have a proper chat with me at some point this week so I can explain the situation then I will contact the gp. The school she goes to has a special class and integrates other children with various conditions so I am hoping they will be helpful.
I will just have to wait and see.

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