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PDA peeps, some interesting feedback from an ABA tutor

(32 Posts)
LeninGrad Tue 26-Jul-11 12:08:27

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silverfrog Tue 26-Jul-11 12:30:55

Lenin, I am glad you have finally found someone useful.

<sorry, not ignoring your PM - have been having an awful couple of weeks here, with dd1's school closing, and have an essay due tomorrow - which is, of course, why I am browsing MN grin>

it is incredibly interesting, isn't it?

I have been through it with dd1, years ago, and dd2 as well. the difference and change is unbelievable, and as I always say - it sisn't rocket science, but it si about having someone you trust show you how these things can work.

negotiation and discussion do not work with dd2 at all. it has been interesting to see how dd2 has tried to reestablish these things with our new nanny, and how they do not make her happy at all. she swiftly spirals into needing to control everyhitng nothing ever being right (wants A, shouts, gets it, not right, wants B, wants A again, B is wrong, but A not right etc etc). her receptive language is behind her expressive too - she sounds like a much older childm but her underlying comprehension is not always solid.

dd1 is going through a not wanting sympathy stage - her stock phrase is "I don't want to talk about it" which actually means "give me some space to process this, and then I might want some sympathy/cuddles/to talk about it".

be prepared for extiction bursts - the honeymoon will end, and there will probably be extreme behaviour form your ds as he ramps it up, tryig to see if he can push a boundary, and if it will stay firm or collapse. but it can all be weathered.

well done for sorting this out - I hope you have a more peaceful summer as a result smile

silverfrog Tue 26-Jul-11 12:32:46

oh, adn also - be aware that the "magic" that a good ABA tutor can weave is far harder for yuo to recreate.

but knowign that it can be done gives you an added boost. your ds may well kick off more if/when you try it, but that is normal. be firm (in resolution, not necessarily in demeanour) and stay strong - you have seen how it can help, and you (and DP) can achieve this too smile

coff33pot Tue 26-Jul-11 12:57:33

I am watching................for tips! grin

LeninGrad Tue 26-Jul-11 13:34:26

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silverfrog Tue 26-Jul-11 13:44:00

It does help to know that what we end up doing does not actually make him feel any better so we may as well change.

this is key, lenin.

he was not happy with the way he was running htings (and neither were you or DP).

it is the same with dd2 - the negotiating, and discussing does not make her happy. not really even momentarily - she just moves swiftly onto the next thing that is wrong/she can moan about/try to control/change etc.

when we saw the people in America, they commented that actually, what she was shouting for was to hand over the control. being in control did not make her feel secure - it makes her question everything more, too much repsonsibility (not that we have ever put any responsibility on her beyond typical 4 year old stuff!), made her panic as she did not know where that responsibility would end (even though she shoudl have done).

take it all away, and she is much calmer.

she still gets choices - eg, when she ws kicking off about me wanting to spend some time doing a puzzle with dd1 (I wanted her to go out of the room, for various reasons - with dh) she got the choice of walking out of the room, or me carrying her out of the room (she hates being carried).

just last week, she wanted lunch outside (it was sunny) and started kicking off - this was with the nanny - about all sorts - too bright, wanting to sit on the chair dd1 was on, too hot, could't find her sunglasses, chair in wrong position, no shade etc etc.

she had the choice between sitting nicely outside (even without her sunglasses) or coming inside to eat lunch. that's it, final choice. she kicked off, I brought her in - she really tantrummed, but I got her to regulate and calm down by herself - she was sweetness and light all afternoon. really, really lovely - better listening, better responding, much nicer tone of voice etc.

LeninGrad Tue 26-Jul-11 14:03:41

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utah Tue 26-Jul-11 14:06:35

so glad it was positive I tried ABA with my son at just over 2 and it went badly wrong but I did learn some good principles from consultant and tutor and now my son has just turned 4 and would be much more receptive I want to try again but it is a question of now of after he has settled at school. SS so not open to having tutors in. Enjoy reading the success and I am getting closer to jumping on board again.

LeninGrad Tue 26-Jul-11 14:13:58

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Lambskin Tue 26-Jul-11 14:31:31

We're not as far down the road as you but had a very positive Paed appointment last week. Ds2 was fantastically PDA and the Paed admitted that he was thinking of PDA with him. CASBAT have been informed about him so hopefully something will happen .... one day .... eventually.

The tutor's methods make sense. It's about feeling secure and lessening anxiety I suppose. Please keep us posted, glad it's going well.

Jokat Tue 26-Jul-11 14:47:52

Hi Leningrad, my dd has cp but I work as an ABA tutor. I'm glad you've been finding the ABA helpful! If you still need cover for more hours, try and find another tutor, so you have two tutors rather than just one working with your son, but of course if this is hard to do (it sounds like it took you ages to even find the tutor you've got now) it would be great having her do more hours once she is available.
utah don't let the school's reluctance to work with ABA tutors put you off from starting a programme at home! Your dc would still really benefit from after-school ABA even if the two don't work on the same thingS. I do think it might make sense letting him get used to the new teachers in school for a couple of months or so before introducing new tutors at home. I wish you the best of luck for a new ABA start!

LeninGrad Tue 26-Jul-11 14:52:24

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BialystockandBloom Tue 26-Jul-11 15:10:16

I'm so glad for you that you've taken this step.

It is, as you say, fascinating. Hope you can keep going a bit. Have you read Mary Lynch Barbera The Verbal Behaviour Approah? Worth a read.

I remember one of our tutors on one of the first days saying this will, in the long run, make ds much happier. So true. Being in control of everything, being that rigid, does not bring happiness - it feeds anxiety.

Interesting what you say about not accepting sympathy too - ds had this too, which we worked on, and he is much, much better now.

silver ds says "I don't want to talk about it" too, usually in answer to a question to which he doesn't know the answer or doesn't know how to respond. Makes for an interesting reaction from a friendly but unsuspecting member of the public who dares ask him how old he is grin

LeninGrad Tue 26-Jul-11 15:17:57

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silverfrog Tue 26-Jul-11 15:22:05


dd1 uses "I don't want to talk about it" to cover just about anyhting:

genuine hurt/upset when she needs processing time,
as an answer to a question she doesn't understand/doesn't know how to answer,
to answer a question she doesn't like the answer to (eg, "dd1, do you need the toilet?" - her saying "I don't want to talk about it means yes she does, but doesn't want to go for whatever reason!)

the list goes on....

she has seized the phrase with glee, and, tbh, based on her current usage, I dread the teenage years grin

LeninGrad Tue 26-Jul-11 17:38:09

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silverfrog Tue 26-Jul-11 18:15:47

um, not a lot tbh.

she doesn't have any breathign exercises, or anythign like that.

I suppose, in a way, we are pretty brutal about it.

Ideally (the situation has got a little out of hand with a new nanny starting etc, but we are working on recovering that) she knows what she has to do (genrally, I mean - she needs to speak to us nicely, she needs to not shout at her sister, she needs to stay calm if things are not going exactly as she wants them to).

So, in a situation where she is starting to whine (biggest problem, and leads on to the negotiations etc), she gets a choice. The outcome is whatever we have decided it will be (like in the leaving the room example), but she has a choice in how we get there - if she remains calm, and able to answer me. if she kicks off, thenit is assumed she is unable to exercise her choice, and in that exampl I would have carried her out of the room (as it happened, me moving to do so snapped her out of her tantrum to the extent she was able to leave herself, albeit to continue crying and wailing for a bit with dh).

if she really kicks off, as she did in the lunch example I gave earlier, then it is recovery time. we always try to verbalise her feelings for her, and tell her she is allowed to feel this way. so, I told her she was allowed ot be cross she couldn't find her sunglasses, but not allowed to be cross at me, or nanny, or dd1. and she was not allowed ot spoil lunch (all this said over wailing and screaming, as I had brought her inside; occasional repeats to ensure she has actually heard it). and then she had the choice of calming down and eating her lunch with me, or going out of the room and staying cross (premise being she shoudl not have to repress her feelings, but does need to learn how to deal with them and exhibit them appropriately)

she declined that choice grin, and carried on screaming to go outside.

I carried her out of the room, repeated that it was ok for her to be upset, but not ok to shout at me about it, and closed the door. whereupon she went ballistic.

(I know in htese situations that she is not a danger to herself. she would not hurl herself down the stairs, for eg, or hurt herself in any way. she is most furious about the loss of attention, and the loss of opportunity to negotiate and cajole)

so, she was kicking the door, screaming and wailing about having lunch outside. I gave her 30 secs or so, popped open the door, and reminded her she could come back in when she was calm. closed door again.

she lasted about another 30secs, tbh. a minute max. (but this is after a LOT of work on this in America, with 2 way mirrors, lots of people able to take it in shifts etc)

then door open, instant and massive praise for calming herself down, and asked if she wanted to come and eat lunch (with me, inside - dd1 and nanny were outside).

She sniffed her way through her lunch - lots of talk baout it being ok to be sad about not eating outside, and sad she was not with dd1 etc, but stayed firm on her eating indoors (deal was she had to eat her main pasta inside, could gooutside for fruit).

once the tantrum was over, and from the point I let her back in with loads of praise, it was over - on my side too (I found this very hard initially, as woudl still be hung up with feelings of wtf? and irritable) - lots of lighthearted banter mixed in with the talk about feelings and the situation, lots of cuddles asked for and given.

LeninGrad Tue 26-Jul-11 18:24:13

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silverfrog Tue 26-Jul-11 18:32:45

yes, dd2 is only 4.6, so quite little, although she has shot up recently.

She is light enough, but the added height now means it is difficult ot just scoop her up and out. shepherding out works ok sometimes ,but sh eis not particularly prone ot hitting me or anyhting.

when you say not stick to the consequence, what do you mean? the (from my example) going out of the room bit, or the still having to eat inside once she had calmed odwn bit?

see, the eating inside was caused by her fussing around and complaining about having lunch outside (even thoguh she had originally suggested it <sigh>) - and so the consequence for not behaving nicely at that point was to come inside.

the going out of the room was becuase she was unable to stop screaming at me once inside. so she "lost" me. once she was calm, she "regained" me (and lunch!), but she did not regain outside, as she had done nothing to rectify her original complaining and whining, iyswim? (but I had, beofre she was sent out, offered the sweetner of if she calmed down and ate her pasta she could have the rest of her meal outside, which I did stick to - so a compromise in a way)

LeninGrad Tue 26-Jul-11 18:52:17

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LeninGrad Tue 26-Jul-11 18:52:51

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LeninGrad Tue 26-Jul-11 19:02:43

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silverfrog Tue 26-Jul-11 19:06:29

it does create conflict, but overall, the conflict (for us) is easier and more short lived than the behaviour.

caving in once calm not good - we did that a lot with dd1 originally, I think. and it has lead to years of us all having to escalate a situation, to have the explosion, to then get the calm, before we can proceed. tedious all round. have tried remedying more recently, now she has better understanding (but then she was starting from an extreme, with little langugae skills).

both dd1 and dd2 have aneed for company greater than the need for control. it is why the putting out of the room works so well for dd2 - we do use it with dd1 as well, btw - as she will work very hard ot regulate her emotions to get back into the room. whereas if she gets to stay in the room, even with minimal interaction etc, she will continue to escalate thigns, and control everythign etc.

wish dd2 ate constantly. she doens't seem to eat enough (other than fruit) to keep a bird alive. oh, and peanut butter sandwiches. her diet is way worse than dd1's.

everyone around us think we pander far to much to dd2, but actually, at this point in time, she is the more disabled child. dd1 still has massive delays, but her behaviour is under control. dd2 is very much disabled by her issues - she cannot fuly function in society to the best of her abilities, whereas dd1 is exceeding her abilities...

silverfrog Tue 26-Jul-11 19:09:30


yes, we get htis. form both dd1 and dd2.

althoguh sometimes, just to be contrary, the will both compete not to have attention from dh when he gets in, which he finds hard. eg will not say hello, will not give him a hug. if he says "ok then" and goes off to get changed, they scream and shout. if he stays and tries to persist, they insist not, and cling to me.


I think it is the change in situation, change of pace, change of everyhting - it is a boundary shift, a transition as it were, and they struggle with it, even though they have missed him all day, have eben desperate for him to get home to do bedtime, know exactly when he is coming in etc.

when it comes to it, they bodge the transition, and it all goes out of the window.

LeninGrad Tue 26-Jul-11 19:37:26

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