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Experts on PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance)

(12 Posts)
CaisleanDraiochta Fri 21-Mar-14 10:48:32

By experts I mean parents/carers of children with this condition, who deal with it day in, day out grin

My DD appears to meet all the criteria for PDA, but I am looking for information on how other children diagnosed with this managed in school. What did/does the school do to accommodate a child with PDA? and did/does it work? What strategies would you suggest would be useful?


minionmadness Fri 21-Mar-14 11:00:03

Have you seen this...

Jacksterbear Fri 21-Mar-14 12:45:10

If you can get the school on board with Ross Greene's "Explosive Child" / "Lost at School" philosophy (see here) that is a really good start IMO. It's not written specifically for PDA, but for children that explode because they lack the skills needed to cope with the demands life / adults place on them - so extremely relevant to PDA!

notapizzaeater Fri 21-Mar-14 17:52:50

Ds, 11 (I'm convinced PDA)

School initially tried treating him like an autistic child - cur huge stand offs and meltdowns. Read the PDA book and changed how they ask things.

They try not to issue direct commands, more requests, always try to offer an alternative (the easiest alternative is normally the one they actually want him to do) always always give him a get out otherwise they end up locking horns.

PolterGoose Fri 21-Mar-14 19:39:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CaisleanDraiochta Sun 23-Mar-14 11:35:42

The main issue seems to be that they insist DD follows the same' system of rewards and sanctions' as the rest of the pupils. they are willing to add in extra rewards (bloody sticker charts that never work IME) for DD but not modify the sanctions.

So if DD refuses to do something (choose her lunch, complete literacy work, stop crawling round the class, licking chairs and barking like a dog) they will follow the same procedure of 1)name on board 2)X next to name 3)lunch time detention. obviously it has no effect on DD who will carry on refusing and often the behaviour will escalate (increasingly it seems to descend into violence with DD being forcibly removed from the classroom. Extra sanctions are then applied for this behaviour including exclusions where anyone has been hurt.

I have highlighted to the school that none of these sanctions are in any way helping DD 'to make the right choice' and the only thing she is learning from it is that she will be punished daily for doing things she can't help and in her words 'being me is a wrong choice' Her self-esteem is at an all time low right now sad

The school's reasoning behind continuing to apply these sanctions is that it is unfair to other pupils, not to do so. I have a feeling that there is a bit of, using DD as an example of what happens if you don't comply, to the rest of the class. I can see their point of view, but also it clearly isn't working for DD. I've suggested that they use different phrasing of the original request to prevent the initial refusal, but what can ask for if (more like when, as the current teacher is quite inflexible) that doesn't work, instead of just blindly applying sanctions, which have no effect on DD and just make the situation worse?

Jacksterbear Sun 23-Mar-14 12:05:44

Caislean this exact issue (the ineffectiveness and in fact downright counterproductivess of traditional reward/punishment systems for this kind of child) is the central theme of Ross Greene's approach. You could try sending school the PDF I linked to above (I have sent it to ds' senco).

My DS tends to respond really badly to both promised rewards and threatened punishments as both make him more anxious (fear of the punishment / frustration at himself at feeling he can't achieve the reward).

I don't have my copy of "the explosive child" but I remember it has a good counter argument to the "we have to be seen to be seen to be fair /what will the other children think" argument, along the lines of "is it likely to make another, otherwise compliant and well-behaved child start behaving badly, just because they see the child "getting away" with something? No, it's not."

itscomplex Sun 23-Mar-14 13:05:04

It's tricky if you don't have a dx yet. We found that school treated ds as a 'naughty child' who was simply choosing what he did and didn't want to do. Following dx they were given some advice but ultimately decided instead to exclude as they couldn't meet needs. They also did not adapt their sanctions policy accordingly and treated him the same as everyone else which was clearly doomed to failure. Advice from the EP was not taken on board nor strategies implemented.They were subsequently found to have committed multiple acts of disability discrimination.
Indi school is much more understanding and aware of the difficulties and the best way to deal with them. I understand that a lot of ms schools do not manage PDA very well, it seems too difficult for them to comprehend and adapt to in my opinion. Sorry I can't be more positive.

LilTreacle Sun 23-Mar-14 20:39:08

Its a tough one.
ds has dx of AS and ADHD. he is very demand avoidant when anxious . Rewards and sanctions make no positive difference what so ever to behaviour, and inevitably increase anxiety.
despite having dx and lots if evidence that rewards and sanctions do not work, ms school find it difficult not to expect neurotypical responses and continued with the same behaviour strategies for ds as for the whole school. Its only now that ds is pretty much out of sight they feel they can do things differently as the fairness on others took precedence over not doing something that does not work.

it takes a change in mindset and approach to really make a difference......not promising rewards for desired behaviour but giving them when ds does as asked or he is not stressed at having to do something specific to get something nice, it just happens.
Motivators are tricky.....if ds is interested in a proposed award obsesses about it and then cant do as asked....its a catch 22.

Giving options may help if not too stressed to make a decison ( ds struggles with this), giving them a feeling of control and being able to direct what is happening, choosing what is being asked really thatt important and could it be postponed, done in a different way, dropped all together if child is struggling.
reminders that the defiance, negotiating ang need for control in anxiety driven helps a lot....broken record time....

CaisleanDraiochta Mon 24-Mar-14 10:10:17

Thanks for all the advice. My gut instinct is that staying in MS isn't going to work, particularly if they won't alter there reward/sanction system to accommodate DD's needs. I have no chance of SS either especially without a dx. So my backup is home ed, and I have been preparing for that for a while now anyway.

I need to keep the authorities off my back though so I need to make sure I have tried out every possibility and not just pulled my DD out on a whim, because I don't think my PFB should have follow the rules like everyone else. I'm making sure I keep a good paper trail going and have every request and reply in writing.

ilikemysleep Mon 24-Mar-14 13:19:04

Try this:
Step 1: does my child have behavioural problems? Is her behaviour significantly more problematic than everyone else's? (answer - yes)
step 2: Does the school have children who have significantly poorer spelling skills / visual impairment / difficulty in walking etc
Step 3: If the school did have children with those difficulties, would they ask the child with spelling difficulties to do the spellings for the average group in class? Would they expect the child with VI to simply work harder at reading standard size script? Would the child with walking difficulties simply be expected to keep up with everyone else up the stairs?
Step 4: If the answer to any of these is no, agree because clearly where there is a special need there is a need for a special process. The Code of practice calls this doing something 'additional to or different from' the standard fare. Then ask why they can see how illogical it is to give a VI child the standard package for fully sighted children and expect them to manage, but not how illogical it is for them to give your DD the standard package for children with 'typical range' behaviour.

RaRaTheNoisyLion Mon 24-Mar-14 22:14:53

Just checking you're aware of this resource

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