Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
PDA mums...schools related(12 Posts)
Never done this before and not sure if on right page but thought i would see if anyone has any ideas as feeling so desperate.
My son is 11 and 1 year ago he had a diagnosis of high functioning autism with the main feature being PDA. He has an EHCP and recently started at an autistic resource centre in a main stream school. The staff are brilliant - if he gets there! My problem is he refuses to go about once a week and today he has said "I quit school". If i try to talk to him he goes mute which I find quite frightening as he can lie on the sofa with a cover over his head for hours.
The occasional school refusal started about 3 years ago and is getting worse. I have run round in circles trying to get advice. Local organisations (i live in Wandsworth) who offer courses on Autism have told me their courses are not suitable for PDA as standard autistic advice can make things worse. They told me to go to CAMHs who we have been begging and pleading for help for months but have been told things are not bad enough for them to offer treatment. The PDA society suggested home schooling but that terrifies me as it causes distress even trying to get him to do homework. Wondering if anyone has discovered any useful strategies or organisations for school refusal associated with PDA. We have had him on a reward chart for months which is how he earns his pocket money but the advice we have been given is that rewards and consequenes don't work in PDA so feel as if I am tying myself in nots - would be grateful for any thoughts
There is no such thing as perfection, but I think we can make a 'best fit' of school and support ds to adapt too, at least in primary.
Pop you're son sounds a lot like mine. I have also decided against a place in a school with an asd unit for the same reasons as you. My son has sensory issues and is very social too. It's tough finding the right school, probably impossible really!
Thanks again for the advise
Sensory issues are a prob for our ds too, he has struggled this year being in the main school building because of the noise but he will be in a mobile classroom next year which will be better, school are also looking to give him outside access so he can take a breather as required.
As far as the future and secondary goes we just don't know. I don't think an asd unit would be suitable as timetables, routine and predictability are not good for him. Also, because he is very sociable (although dysfunctional) and needs good role models of social interaction.
Pop, I agree that the small class sizes that are so desirable for most, may actually be making things tougher for my son, being able to go under the radar a bit may help. The peer problems are also highlighted in the small class sizes, I agree being able to hover around several groups may help. However I know that other problems will arrive, sensory overload , being over whelmed, possible never getting him through the door in the first place are a few!
Ouryve, you're sons 121 sounds great, I often hear of support being spread threw the class regardless of statementing, 20 is also relatively small for a class size.
Thanks you've both given me food for thought
I also have massive doubts over my ds coping with secondary but he is only going to be going into the juniors next year so we have while before we have to start thinking about that. Ds has had some very, very hard times and things have just started to get better now that his CT is getting to grips with PDA in the classroom. School have made lots of adjustments for ds and that has helped. They have been experimenting with 1-1 support but not quite found the right person to engage with him yet, he has very high standards as to who he will deign to respond to
I guess that the superficiality of ds' friendships will become more obvious as time goes by. He has one friend that invites him to play outside of school and that relationship only works because the other boy is very, very passive, but I guess that tolerance won't last forever. What passes for friendship at 7yo is quite different to friendship at 11+.
His class is only about 20, thankfully, but he even struggles with that and spends a lot of time hiding away. Friendships are superficial and he wants nothing to do with other kids outside school - and other kids have close friends, anyhow, so he is a bit excluded.
We're pushing to move him to a small Indy SS for able boys with ASD/ADHD/SEBD either asap or for secondary. His diagnosis is ASD and ADHD, though ASD strategies rile him, which is how we found out about PDA and this place has the calm nurturing environment he needs - and tiny class sizes. The gulf between him and his peers is massive, now, and there's no way he'd cope with a MS secondary.
In some ways a large class can be helpful for a child with PDA. They can disappear into the crowd and not get noticed whereas in a small class the teacher would be much more 'on their case' (as ds would see it).
Also, there are plenty of children to play with when ds gets on one group's nerves he can be supported to play with some other children instead.
The other advantage of a state school is the option to get one to one support, of course, this depends so much on the attitude of the head. But of course isn't going to happen in a private school, unless you p[ay for it yourself.
I would say the attitude of the head teacher is the most fundamental issue.
Thanks ouryve, I have no illusions about A swanning into school happily every day, your school sounds about as good as it gets for a child with PDA. I wish it could be different
My sons school is private very small class size 8 kids , but this though good in one way has bought about different issues. He has not got friends because the children see so much of him in a concentrated way that they find him too controlling and socially he's not great. Parents have complained ( about nothing really!!) and he is becoming anxious and starting to notice he's not included. School don't really do SN. I have found a mainstream school for him now but the class sizes are 30 and I just can't see him coping with that, but he likes the idea of lots of kids.
Is your son able to cope with big class sizes and does he have friends?
A very understanding school.
Ours has a head who doesn't believe in exclusions except in absolutely dire circumstances and she hasn't excluded anyone for years - says it's not going to help them out of their difficulties if they end up at home on their playstations. I don't think DS1 would have made it to the end of year 4, if it wasn't for that policy. The school also recognise DS1's strengths and disabilities and work with them and he has a 1:1 who is very creative about presenting things to him so he doesn't dig his heels in. It's been far from plain sailing (especially when he had a class teacher who thought he could be fixed with a firm hand - worst possible approach and the point at which I learnt about PDA!), despite that and there have been times when I've wondered if I can face sending him to school for another day because he's found it so difficult.
I know there are a few of us here , I was wondering what you found was the best type of schooling for our PDA kids. Mine is only 5 yet I can see that his school is unlikely to meet his needs.
Any advise would be lovely!
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