Incredibly stubborn DD with ASD (and possibly a little bit of PDA). Advice around uncooperative behaviour in school.

(58 Posts)
craftyoldhen Wed 08-Mar-17 22:56:54


You can't tell her anything, you can't help her with anything, you can't give her advice, you can't get her to do something she doesn't want to do. Not for all the pokemon cards in England.

She will not budge, she is unmoveable. She will argue, she will cry, she will scream and growl until you give in. And everyone always gives in eventually.

Her uncooperative behaviour in school is getting worse. She refuses to do certain pieces of work or work with certain children. She refuses to acknowledge half the class (she totally blanks them).

Yesterday was parents evening. Her teacher told me that, amongst other things, DD refuses to correct her spelling mistakes because "they're not wrong" (they are). The teacher asks her to correct them, and then write them in her spelling book, but she won't. She just argues that they're not wrong, despite all the evidence to the contrary. When she argues she is rude - no rude language or anything but just lack of respect for a teacher type rude.

Apart from this DD is a quiet, bright, studious child. She doesn't get into trouble for her uncooperative behaviour or rudensss as it's seen to be part of her ASD. The teacher looked like she was at a loss TBH.

I'm not sure that letting DDs behaviour go unchallenged (or untreated) like this is the right thing to do.
I also know that punishing her really won't help either.
What's the advice for children like this?

Autism outreach have been involved but she wasn't helpful. She didn't seem to 'get' DD. She told the teacher to give DD a choice between 2 activities to help her feel like she was in control, but her teacher said DD would just refuse to do either of them. Other than that she just suggests visual timetables that don't help DD.

She's also in year 5 so I need to think about secondary schools this year. There is absolutely no way she will get away with this behaviour in secondary school is there? sad

OP’s posts: |
ouryve Wed 08-Mar-17 23:38:28

I think we've found DS1's perfect match!

He needs to find things out for himself, rather than be told. With spellings, look them up (though the dictionary's probably wrong!) Or just give a print out of the (most important 5) correct spellings and stick them on her book, no comment made. That takes the pressure off and removes, as much as is possible, and implied criticism of her.

Blanking half the class is fine (to an extent). People suck. Much better that a child with ASD can learn to form a positive relationship with a few people they can relate to and begin to understand than a fearful one with an overwhelming number of people who are unpredictable and unknown. That is one of the core issues with ASD and it won't get better simply by people not liking the fact that she;s not a relaxed social butterfly. People need to work with her to find a way that she can gel with enough people to feel safe and stable. Teachers need to help her to develop the relationships with people she is comfortable with (and support her to increase that number in a small way, if it's too small to make functioning in her environment possible)

zzzzz Thu 09-Mar-17 07:28:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Melawati Thu 09-Mar-17 07:55:52

Same here - perhaps they are marching towards world domination with their 'alternative spelling' grin
We have a similar strategy to zzzzz along he lines of 'of course you can spell it like that but people might not know which word you mean and get confused.'

That kind of intransigence here is usually a reaction to stress - is there an increased focus on spelling in 'non spelling' activities? My DD hated it when lines were blurred between subjects at juniors 'it's not spelling, so why does it matter if it's spelt wrong?'.

Blanking half the class is fine, assuming it's a standard class of approx 30, that's 15 people she isn't blanking!

Ineedmorepatience Thu 09-Mar-17 09:10:00

Sounds like anxiety to me!

Dd3 cant bear to be wrong, it upsets her whole world. A pre school worker once said she was the most stubborn child she had ever met!

She doesnt see the point in punctuation which led to friction at school although she internalised all her difficulties everyday and exploded on the way home!

Do some reading about demand avoidance, it has helped us to understand Dd3 much more.

Good luck flowers

zzzzz Thu 09-Mar-17 10:45:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

craftyoldhen Thu 09-Mar-17 20:58:16

Haha grin @ at our tenacious kids. It does make me feel better to know she's not the only one out there. And slightly scared. Could you imagine if we could harness the power of all this determination?

I know it's anxiety related. She's massively anxious about school, always has been and is getting worse as she gets older. We've tried so much (I won't go into details, I'll be here all day) but ultimately she just hates it, and I don't think that'll ever change sad

The teacher isn't negative about DD, she never gives the impression that she thinks she's a pain or anything like that. She's very diplomatic. I'm worried about this behaviour, but only because I think it might become a bigger problem once DD's in secondary school and the teachers are so forgiving.

I know you think the blanking thing is ok, but when a boy comes up to her in the yard in the morning and says "hi DD" and she just turns her back and ignores them, or actually growls at them, I can't help but think "ouch" cos that has got to hurt. And I don't think it's ok to hurt other people's feelings, but of course DD doesn't see it like that.

OP’s posts: |
craftyoldhen Thu 09-Mar-17 21:02:06

Oh and it's all the boys that she blanks.

Because all boys are silly and annoying apparently.

Yes all of them, without exception.

So she refuses to acknowledge their existence.


OP’s posts: |
Ineedmorepatience Thu 09-Mar-17 21:58:46

Yeah I have known Dd3 to blank people. If someone wrongs her in any way she will absolutely refuse to speak to them again.

Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and smile and nod.


zzzzz Thu 09-Mar-17 22:32:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Melawati Fri 10-Mar-17 08:55:53

Actually you may find teachers are more forgiving of some things in secondary. For example, the emphasis on one style of handwriting executed perfectly in primary was a huge source of friction for my DD, in secondary they just didn't care, so long as it was legible. Likewise spelling, teachers would perhaps mention if things were spelt wrong, but without the 'punishment' element of having to write it out again.
Of course there were other elements of secondary that were impossible, but that's a whole other story.
With the blanking example you give, in that situation I've greeted the other child e.g. 'hi X, how are you doing this morning?' Without making any comment on DD ignoring. Sometimes she'll listen and interject later in the conversation. The unexpectedness of someone running up to say hello completely throws her and makes her very anxious.

Userone1 Fri 10-Mar-17 09:29:27

Ds is very rigid in his thinking, he likes predictability. So being 'wrong' for him isn't an option!

Spellings has the teacher tried writing down the correct spelling for her? No conversation, no argument.

Does your dd have visuals for now, next? And changes written on there etc

Ds used to blank everyone! When someone said good morning or goodbye, his natural reaction was to ignore blush he finds most people annoying at their mere existence!

When someone said goodbye/hello or whatever, I would say to ds x said goodbye, say goodbye.

craftyoldhen Fri 10-Mar-17 21:54:02

No she doesn't have visuals because:

A) she hates them - "they're for babies"

B) they don't help - because it's knowing what's going to happen next but not wanting to do it that causes her anxiety. And timetables / now and next don't help with that. In fact they just give her more time to argue about why she can't/ doesn't want to do what's coming next grin

What helps is letting her have total control over what she does. But she can't do that in school obviously. That's why she hates it so much.

OP’s posts: |
craftyoldhen Fri 10-Mar-17 22:00:39

And yes I usually end up chatting to the poor child my DD has just blanked, which leaves the child looking like confused because they're 10, and not really looking for a conversation with their classmate's boring old Mother!

OP’s posts: |
Userone1 Sat 11-Mar-17 05:57:28

Crafty grin I've ended up having to keep a child amused for hours, on a play date with ds. He told child to go home and shut himself in his room blush surprisingly the child kept asking me could he come again! I had a new 6 year old best friend! Awkward!

In secondary school all the kids have planners, effectively a now/next for 'big' kids!

FrayedHem Sat 11-Mar-17 10:42:21

DS1 is very similar, though maths is the main source of tension as he won't share his method as he uses "common sense". The very idea that you can get points for workings out even if your end answer is wrong offends him greatly.

Has the teacher expanded on what work DD isn't completing? DS1's LSAs are often mystified, but when they've shared what it is, it's quite clear to me why he isn't able to do it, rather than just refusing for the sake of being awkward. I also find school expect him to start fresh each day, but often if they day before hasn't gone well he is still carrying that around.

Over time DS1's blanket blanking has reduced for his classmates and given the right activities he is able to interact with them. e.g. they did a speed debate on whether children should have screen time restricted to under 2 hours a week - they let DS1 argue against it (fortunately) and apparently he happily engaged with all of them. The playground interactions are more hit and miss as he has his routine and just likes to stick with it, but has got to a point where he will say hi then scurry on past them. However, he now blanks the LSAs which he is in constant trouble for.

craftyoldhen Sat 11-Mar-17 18:55:56

The teacher has a written timetable on the wall at the front of the class, so DD always knows what's happening. I think she's memorised it because she can always tell in the morning what she's doing that day grin

The work she refuses to do is:

a) correcting her spellings
b) writing in the style of for example Roald Dahl - who often use nonsense / silly words, which see doesn't agree with!
c) anything that involves her pretending to be a boy or writing from a boys point of view - because she hates boys
d) work in a group, especially if it's with a boy. I understand this one because she really struggles with group work and it often ends in tears. The rest of them are just a result of her very rigid thinking, ie. She won't do them, rather then can't do them.

She never gets into trouble at school, they don't tell her off for any of this behaviour, because it's a result of her ASD. I have to say I can't fault the school in this respect. She doesn't get any extra support in lessons, or any TA time because she's bright and can work independently, so if she refuses to do something the teacher just let's her not do it because I guess she doesn't have the time to negotiate with her.

OP’s posts: |
Userone1 Mon 13-Mar-17 06:47:21

Pretending and imagination are typical things children with autism find difficult. Also putting yourself into someone else's shoes.

They all require skills which your dd might be lacking.

lougle Mon 13-Mar-17 07:49:30

They are skills which might be lacking but a good teacher can really help our children to develop those skills, or at least pseudo-skills.

DD2's teachers have been really tackling her difficulties head-on since it became clear that there were areas she was never going to progress in on her own. She has made some really good progress this term with a few tools they've used. Particularly for imagination and inference, they've given her 'stem phrases' such as I think that the boy is happy because and they've taught her to search the text for a reason for his happiness, then they supply another stem phrase and I know this because and they've taught her to search the text for a sentence or phrase that demonstrates happiness.

So, in effect, they are teaching her how to turn her fiction books into non-fiction books, because although she is a very fluent reader, an avid reader who devours a 400 page book in 2 days, she doesn't get inference, or comprehend the subtle storylines, so is only 'close to age related expectations' in reading.

Similarly, she can't write a piece of work independently. She gets too anxious. But they've discovered that if they break it down and give her a timer for each paragraph or section, she can produce a really good piece of work. In fact, the first time, they broke it down and let her tell them what she would write for the first paragraph, then wrote it out on a whiteboard and let her just copy it against a timer. Then they did the same, but only jotted notes and gave her a timer. Then they just wrote down the tricky words and gave a timer. Then they just let her tell them what she would write and gave her a timer. For the last paragraph, they said 'don't tell me what you'll write, here's your timer.' It was really effective.

I don't know about the 'not telling off because it's because of the ASD' thing. Telling off wouldn't be right, I agree, but I think that it's not great if they completely ignore all behaviour related to ASD if it could be worked on to make her life easier in the long run? It seems to be a bit of a cop-out to me, tbh. At DD's special school the teachers don't ignore all the behavioural issues there because they relate to the special needs of the children - it would be carnage!

craftyoldhen Mon 13-Mar-17 14:42:06

Well yes lougle but in a special school I imagine they have the staff and training available to deal with behavioural issues.

Like I say DD's teacher probably doesn't have the time or the skills to deal with DD refusals, even if she wanted too.

I know imagination and pretending can be difficult for children with ASD but she is actually not too bad at this when she feels comfortable. So she can pretend to be in a girl role. But a boy role is pushing it too far grin

She just gets these random beliefs into her head and then takes them as far as she possibly can. So her struggling with boys (because I think they are boisterous) = all boys are annoying = I will refuse to work with boys = i will never acknowledge a boy ever again.

Another one at the moment is spring is hotter than summer. EVERY flipping conversation at the moment and she manages to slip in a little argument as to why spring is DEFINITELY HOTTER then summer. Why?!?!?! We just nod and say yes DD. No point saying otherwise.

OP’s posts: |
craftyoldhen Mon 13-Mar-17 14:49:04

I guess I'm struggling because she is so capable in many respects, she's bright and well behaved on the whole, so she gets absolutely no extra support in school apart from the bare minimum (ie. things that take no time or money to implement). And I know this will always be the case.

And yet she is clearly autistic, also dyspraxic, very anxious and becoming more so. She struggles so much and yet not enough, or at least not visibly enough, to get any help.

It's frustrating.

OP’s posts: |
Ouryve Mon 13-Mar-17 14:55:31

Ds1 can be utterly dogmatic about weather.

"Ds1, you need your sturdy shoes and warm coat on. It's freezing and has been snowing all night."

"Why? Don't you know it never snows?"

Even showing him a picture of a foot of snow in the back yard about 4 winters ago ends up with"that was aaaaaaages ago, though."

He's a curmudgeonly git funny bugger.

FrayedHem Mon 13-Mar-17 15:18:49

DS1 has a random belief that he speaks with a Scottish accent (he doesn't and we live in Essex) because my mum has a Glaswegian accent and he has inherited it genetically (he last saw her 3 years ago so doesn't hear it often). Smile and nod.

It's getting the right kind of support though isn't it. DS1 has a statement etc, but rather than try and break the work down so he can understand it, he gets "hover support" of LSA's standing over him telling him to get on with it. It really doesn't work well(!)

Melawati Mon 13-Mar-17 15:58:06

Absolutely. It sounds like the kind of support lougle's DD2 is getting is very well tailored to extend her range of skills.
LSA's hovering near DD1 just increase her anxiety and result in even less work being done. She is academically able though, so it seems it's hard for teachers to understand why she finds particular tasks so hard, and that something similar is happening to your DD crafty.
Teachers should be able to differentiate work for pupils in a mainstream class, rather than just letting a DC not do work that they find challenging. It is very frustrating, but not inevitable that support will never come.
Try to record all the instances where DD is unable to access the work (for whatever reason) and use them to build the case for support.

mummytime Mon 13-Mar-17 16:26:48

My methods would be to be extremely creative and avoid conflict. But you and her teacher need to find what motivates her too.

So for spelling I would have "check you spelling" and give her a dictionary. As far as possible get her to "get it right first time". If she needs to correct spellings, could she "type up" her work and use a spell checker? (I hated rewriting stuff as writing actually made my hands hurt.)
If she doesn't want to do something. Let her know it is coming (just like a teacher could let the whole class know the tasks for the day). Remind her. And then carry on as if she is going to co-operate. If she sulks, then ignore this, but do give her opportunity to join in.
And if she joins in with less sulking or more willingly than expected she should be rewarded - which might involve not paying attention to it, it depends what motivates her.

Sometimes my DC are highly motivated to not be "different", but they need to have every chance to succeed. So clear instructions on what to do, in detail and with no room for ambiguity.

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