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Home Educating DS (13) with ASD /PDA - eek!

(24 Posts)
greenknitting Thu 09-Nov-17 22:09:51

Hi, we deregistered my 13yo DS with Asperger's at the beginning if the autumn term. (he'd had a horrible couple of years in a mainstream secondary, it just wasn't working, he was highly anxious, school refusing and had lost a lot of confidence). He has a strong PDA profile. The advice is to start slowly and take it easy, not impose too much structured learning too soon. But my DS is screen obsessed, and will never get bored of that and suddenly announce that he'd like to learn about x,y,z.... He resists any hint of educational content! Has anyone been in this situation?? If so, how did you start introducing something that resembles 'learning' ?

zzzzz Thu 09-Nov-17 23:50:53

I think you have to get to the point where he needs to learn in order to get something he wants. What do you want him to learn? What would he want to learn?

greenknitting Fri 10-Nov-17 07:16:01

Thanks zzzzz. When you say 'needs to learn' in order to get what he wants., do you men e.g. 2 hours learning before getting computer, or needing to learn maths in order to do something for which maths is needed?

I don't really mind what he learns for now, as long as along the way he gains study skills, writing skills etc. It could be the history of video games! But he doesn't actually want to. Was thinking of restricting his gaming/instagramming so that a few hours a day were strictly reserved for other stuff (very loosely learning ) but giving him complete choice over what that might be, in order to work with his pda tendencies. Does that sound like a good idea?

OneInEight Fri 10-Nov-17 07:47:42

ds2 has a very similar profile and he has been out of school two years. What we have done is given him the opportunity to do things other than being glued to the computer but not compelled him as this would have liked to complete refusal. It has taken a long time but he is now doing some form of exercise most days and a bit of conventional book based learning. He now comes and asks what we can do today rather than me having to spend hours to try and encourage him to go outside for 5 minutes.

zzzzz Fri 10-Nov-17 08:00:42

When you say 'needs to learn' in order to get what he wants., do you men e.g. 2 hours learning before getting computer, or needing to learn maths in order to do something for which maths is needed?
The latter. “Education” with a capital E is in my opinion a poor alternative to education within your life PARTICULARLY for children with PDA/ASD but really for all.
I’d go for something he can get his teeth into and start with that. Planning a road trip to a European site of interest? (Disneyland Mount Everest, Al hambra??). Building a Coracle? Allotment/self sufficiency? Treehouse? Flying lessons (Nb can’t start till 14 but need maths and lots of learning wink)?

greenknitting Fri 10-Nov-17 08:10:38

Thanks both, v interesting.
Oneineight, can I ask - when you say you gave him opportunities to do other things, did he then choose those things over computer gaming etc, or did you remove the gaming (for maybe set periods), and then offer those other opportunities? The reason I ask is coz I just can't see DS ever opting to do anything (apart from films etc) other than gaming.

OneInEight Fri 10-Nov-17 08:22:03

No, rightly or wrongly, we have never put a ban on the computer. It would have led to aggression for us and our first goal when he left school was to stop the physical violence. We used a lot of bribery in the early days - he is motivated by cake!

greenknitting Fri 10-Nov-17 08:30:34

Thanks oneineight! I'm torn. We also don't restrict computer time. But I provide lots of opportunities to do other things to little avail. Toying with the idea that we give 2 hours a day over to so-called learning (I'm perfectly happy if that's just baking cookies!), but he wouldn't do it unless it's imposed. Hoping that that imposition is offset by giving him control over how he spends those two hours. Aargh so difficult!

zzzzz Fri 10-Nov-17 10:13:30

I don’t really restrict screen time, but ds is only da when he remembers so I can direct things some of the time. He’s massively behind academically thanks in part to his language disorder and part to school who seem to have dropped him back several years 😡. He’s cute and smiley so I guess they treated him like a baby. He actually has a perfectly good little brain and was reading before school age.confused. He’s 12.

HardAsSnails Fri 10-Nov-17 10:24:06

I don't home ed but have a similar child. We don't restrict gaming either but ds floats between gaming and looking at YouTube about games, drawing and building stuff related to games! Things like getting your ds to show you how to play, explain or review games to you is all good.

Rather than saying 2 hours must be not gaming it might work better to agree a set of very flexible expectations eg every day he must get outside, must read something and must tell you one interesting fact you don't know already, but giving him choice within the parameters. Positive goals are always easier than negative. 'I will ...' is easier and more motivating than 'I won't ...'.

zzzzz Fri 10-Nov-17 10:29:04

Ds does some maths and some reading everyday but any time.

greenknitting Fri 10-Nov-17 11:49:21

Thanks hardassnails and zzzz. I tried something along those lines hardassnails - I said that DS needed to read a bit of a book each day and do some exercise, but I specified that it was to be done before gaming/youtubing started. This is coz once he's on, I doubted that it would happen at all. There was a begrudging, miserable compliance at first, but he then railed against it saying there was nothing he wanted to read. I wondered if it was my specifying the tasks that was the problem. That's why I'm now thinking of allocating a window of time, but not specifying the tasks, but we would have a long list of possibilities as he sometimes is short of inspiration.

HardAsSnails Fri 10-Nov-17 12:13:14

I think you're probably being too prescriptive. You need to explain the problem and enable him to come up with solutions. So, a problem could be 'not taking care of his health' and you ask him what he could do to ensure he stays healthy.

I would sugggest learning more about 'PDA techniques'.

HardAsSnails Fri 10-Nov-17 12:18:10

If you eat breakfast together would that be a good time to have a quick run through plans for the day? Ask him when he plans to get outside rather than tell him. Explain your plans and see if he wants to join you (every now and then throw in something tempting for him but don't make it a big thing). I think you probably need to be more subtle and help him feel he has some control.

It can take a really long time to recover from crap schooling, it's ok to take a long time out with nothing.

zzzzz Fri 10-Nov-17 12:37:19

What would happen if there was an power cut?

greenknitting Fri 10-Nov-17 12:45:58

you're probably right about me being a bit too prescriptive, HardAsSnails. I'm going to have to decide whether DS goes back into a (different) school in Sept 2018 or continue home edding, so i'm keen to see how well it works for us. I'm just worried that actually it will never work for us, and that makes finding the right school a more pressing issue. I love the idea of sitting down and asking him about when he'll do things but he invariably rejects any discussion about other activities if they sound remotely educational. When he needs to have his hair washed, because he hates it SO much I used to get him to decide which part of the day he'd like to do it, but he just used to postpone and postpone, and then refuse altogether. Although I know a bit about PDA strategies, I don't know enough so will prioritise reading more about it.

zzzzz Fri 10-Nov-17 12:55:01

<Whispers> The PDA disappears the longer you are away from school and the happier you are.

greenknitting Fri 10-Nov-17 13:03:08

that's good to hear zzzzz! :-)
Well, he's already much happier than he was in school, so onwards and upwards!

HardAsSnails Fri 10-Nov-17 13:19:18

It is very early days and there really is no rush, just focus on happy and good mental health and the rest will come.

zzzzz Fri 10-Nov-17 13:57:31

It’s extraordinary!

greenknitting Fri 10-Nov-17 20:58:04

Well that's encouraging zzzzz and hardassnails! Thank you!

springhappy Fri 10-Nov-17 22:49:17

Hi, I home Ed my 14 yo asd ds. I deregistered him at 12 as he was crying almost every day and finding so much of the day challenging.

Since then we have done so many types of learning, text books, edplace on laptop and iPad, mathletics, bbc bitesize, home cooking skills, life skills and general communication skills. We currently use IXL for maths and English I find it works well as I don’t have to sit and watch over him.
We use the day similar as a school day but more to suit his individual needs, focusing on self help skills and health care as well as academic skills.

I find Home education for asd children fantastic as you can focus on the education they really need in a way that suits them.

My ds is happier than he had ever been, he is much more confident than he’s ever been. He doesn’t have much of a social life but he does have online friends, he says he can communicate quite fluently that way.

For us it was definitely a good decision, I think as a parent you sometimes just know when you have to make a change for your child’s emotional health.

greenknitting Sat 11-Nov-17 18:03:15

Thanks springhappy, your message sounds so positive. That's kind of how I hoped things would be for us, but certainly it's not looking like that at all at he moment, because of the resistance.

1805 Mon 20-Nov-17 19:38:26

zzzzz - please speak more of the PDA vanishing.

we are struggling with school v dd (y8). In fact, I man-handled her to school today and just burst into tears as I waited for dd's favourite TA to be fetched. I've just reached my emotional breaking point today. I am seriously thinking about Home Ed. She school refuses over 50% of days. Then she gets aggressive, stubborn etc and I have to try and get her in somehow.

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