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Ed Psych - can I trust his assessment?? Long one, sorry....

(20 Posts)
WedgiesMum Sat 05-Mar-05 22:14:03

Hi all.

Not been around for a while as had pc problems and been doing some 'wound licking' IYSWIM. So here I am first time online in weeks and coming with a sticky question for you.

Some of you may recall that we have had on going problems with DS (nearly 6) regarding his behaviour at school. We saw the Ed Psych last year who told us a lot of what we already knew (DS is among the top 1-2% of his peer group intellectually but emotionally is immature), but he didn't see him as he usually behaves at school (we had told him in advance that someone was coming to assess him so 'button holed' this guy and was engaging and friendly)so his behaviour as such wasn't commented on and recommendations to keep him engaged in class were made rather than behavioural things. Things improved for a while as he entered Y1 but have been deteriorating since just before Christmas.

We met with school a few weeks ago and agreed another visit was necessary and they arranged an appointment with the senior Ed Psych for the county, which came through in about 3 weeks so I took that as meaning the school had said it was quite urgent (as last time we waited for about 2 months)especially as this time we got the senior bloke coming to do the assessment as well. We decided not to tell DS about the assessment so that the man could get a more accurate picture of his everyday behaviour.

This meeting was on Tuesday, he saw DS from 9.30 and then met with us at 11. He has fed back to us verbally (but not school)and is putting his findings in writing to us and school. He has said that he is about 70% certain that DS has some form of ASD and also has PDA (pathological demand avoidance). I have briefly outlined our meeting to the Head, Deputy and class teachers. School are being very hostile about these findings and are catagorically refusing to belive that DS has PDA, the Head went as far as to say that he would tell the Ed Psych this to his face.

So.......who am I to trust in their judgement?? Is the Ed Psych in more of a position to judge if DS has this or not?? The Head seems to think that he is well qualified to judge if a child has PDA having allegedly taught 2 PDA children (I say allegedly as I belive that there are less than 200 daignosed cases in the UK??? which would suggest that the Head may not be quite telling the truth????). I know a little bit about PDA because I happen to work in a school where one of the children in the year band has PDA and having observed their behaviour in and out of class, and found myself calling this child by DS's name a couple of times (and not called any of the other 104 in the year by his name even once in error). I had kind of thought at the back of my mind that DS was showing similar behaviours to this child so was not totally shocked. School have not said anything about DS and ASD.

Am reeling at the moment and need wise words from people who know better than me who I should trust and maybe who I should contact to get help?? I know that these 'labels' are just descriptions of DS's behaviour and it really does not change one bit the wonderful boy that I have, but it feels like school are being unsupportive and just want to see DS as being a naughty boy. He is very intellectually bright - for example the Ed Psych said he thought his spelling age was 'about 12' and most of his IQ scores were over the 93rd percentile with Maths being 99.6+ - but emotionally he is well behind his peers. He has huge tantrums at school and is constantly in trouble for this and hitting out, refusing to do things, walking out of class, he shouts the answers out all the time, needs to be first, gets upset if the routine is altered (which is a bit of a problem as he has 2 teachers as a job share), is troubled by loud noises (another problem at lunchtime in particular as the dining room is actually one of the classrooms so very very small and REALLY noisy), gets easily frustrated especially when things are not perfect and will rip up work because of this. To top it all he is left handed and has poor fine motor skills. His writing is attrocious and the Ed Psych says that school haven't taught him to write properly this means his work looks terrible and if they are using whiteboards then it all gets rubbed out/smudged as he goes anyway. He hates all the colouring in that is part of Y1 and much of the craft-y kind of work unless it has an abstract outcome (because then it doesn't have to look like anything), and his self esteem is really really low because he just sees himself in trouble all the time. I think he is also bored at school a lot of the time as the other children in his class are not academically 'on his wave length' and the extension activities that he is given don't seem to be particularly extending for him. School treat him almost as some kind of criminal, there are plenty of punishments but no rewards and in particular the teacher at the first half of the week just seems to have given up in trying to reach him and can't sope with him so when he gets particulary difficult she gets the Head to send him home, then we have another long meeting about him where all they can do is say 'well what do YOU do at home??'.

Thank you for taking the trouble to read this far, I know it's long winded, but I haven't been on for a while and it's all kind of built up and I really needed to get it off my chest and turn to you lot for some help. Anything that you can say will help at the moment as I am just feeling so helpless.


coppertop Sat 05-Mar-05 22:29:59

I have no real experience of Ed Psychs but my instinct tells me that an EP is far more qualified than the Head/teachers to say whether a child has SN. The "I've seen children with X/Y/Z before and they were nothing like your child" line is a load of rubbish. No 2 children with ASDs are exactly the same. Even my ds1 and ds2, who have had exactly the same upbringing and the same parents, are not the same as each other. In some respects they are actually the complete opposite of each other.

Hopefully someone with experience will be able to advise you about what to do about the Ed Psych's report. Have you got it in writing yet?

emsiewill Sat 05-Mar-05 22:30:33

I'm sorry that I don't have any experience in this area or anything helpful to say, but I just wanted to say something, as it seems you have a lot to deal with with little support from the school. So good luck, and I hope that someone else with more wise words comes along soon.


mogwai Sat 05-Mar-05 22:35:25

poor you, poor son

Can't claim to know better than you, can't claim to know much about the disorder, but you clearly need some help to decide what to believe.

Doesn't sound as though the school are being very supportive. Do you think they already label your son as "troublesome"? Perhaps that's the view that sticks in their mind and they won't be detered by some "visiting professional who flounces in and out" (unfortunately how we are sometimes viewed).

My overwhelming instinct would be to believe the EP, which I think you are coming round to anyway. It certainly seems to reflect what you have observed yourself. You could ask for a second opinion, but it might look like you don't believe the first, which I think you do.

I think they need to arrange an open meeting in school where you can discuss with all concerned, at the moment you are acting as a go-between, which adds to your pressures. I'd insist on that and let them put their viewpoints across to each other. I agree the diagnosis doesn't change your lovely child, but it's a step along the way to him getting the right help, and possibly, a bit more understanding.

Good luck

beccaboo Sat 05-Mar-05 22:36:08

Hi WM, sounds like you are having quite a hard time at the moment. I don't know much about this I'm afraid, my ds is much younger, but hopefully someone will be along soon with advice.

One thing though, I'm fairly certain that this guy can't make any kind of diagnosis after observing your ds in class for an hour. You need some proper assessments involving other professionals. And 70% certain is a long way from 100%. On the positive side, if you go through the process and get some answers, it will hopefully lead to some better support at school, sending him home obviously isn't going to solve anything and must be very upsetting for him (and you).

WedgiesMum Sat 05-Mar-05 22:39:41

Nothing in writing yet coppertop. Am expecting it to take a few weeks going on past experience. Have kind of been clinging on to his words as his assessment of DS made lots of sense to us and echoed lots of what we have been saying to school for last 15 months. He has given us the C.A.R.S. assessment thingy for us to fill in in the mean time and I am doing it slowly to make sure I am being fair and accurate, but will also return it with a letter asking for support from him with school.

Thanks for the words of support, and to you to emsiewill, means loads.

coppertop Sat 05-Mar-05 22:43:12

If the Ed Psych's report confirms the suspicions you already had and seems to fit ds then I would go with that opinion. Has the school's SENCO spoken to you yet?

Jimjams Sat 05-Mar-05 22:47:19

I think the definitive woman in PDA is based at the univerisy of east anglia. Maybe worth getting in contact with her? I do know that true PDA is suppsedly rare but that some people think it is overdxed and autism is misdxed as it. However if you son did have PDA i would think it was very important it was picked up. maybe try the UEA?

roisin Sat 05-Mar-05 22:47:48

Gggggrrrrrrrrr....! He's the Head EP for the County WM, you know he knows his onions. And they really do not bandy about 'possible dx' unless they really are possible.

And in any case it is no good for ds1, or any child, to be 'labelled' as "a naughty boy". The strategies they are using are clearly not working for your ds1. The EP is suggesting new strategies for dealing with him - whether or not he needs a dx now or in the future - these strategies may well help him NOW and should be implemented immediately.

I can't believe school are being hostile about it, they called the EP in the first place ...?! Because they couldn't deal with him. Because they thought there was a problem. But now they won't accept his suggestion as to what the problem is?!

I'm really now, and

WedgiesMum Sat 05-Mar-05 23:15:47

Thank you all for your responses.

The school SENCO - HA!!!! don't make me laugh (sorry coppertop the woman really annoys me!!!!) at christmas she really shouted at him and wagged her finger in his face for about 5 minutes at the end of the school concert in front of all of the lower school, the teachers and ALL OF THE PARENTS because he had been messing about in the concert (pulling faces and messing with his trouser elastic) - and he wasn't the only one doing it just the only one told off.

Thanks for the tip Jimjams will get onto that one. Don't mind either way with a dx for PDA as long as we get some kind of support for DS as he really really needs it IMO. He just can't cope emotionally with the demands of school, and just doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes or by seeing how others behave. They Ed Psych said he would need someone to help him learn how to cope - which is exactly what we have been saying to school for the past year and a bit.....

It would be lovely if they would actually implement something with regard to DS as they have not actually put anything meangingful into place for him despite having and IEP. Anything they have done has all been from my suggestions and has only lasted about a week before they forget to carry on with it

coppertop Sat 05-Mar-05 23:19:00

The school sounds absolutely awful!! I don't suppose there's any chance of moving him elsewhere? The place sounds like a nightmare.

Chocol8 Sat 05-Mar-05 23:22:11

It seems from reading on here and from personal experience that heads sometimes think they are better placed to dx than the experts!!!!

I spoke to an acquaintance recently whose ds (and poss dd) has been dx with PDAS. She didn't have access to a pc so I ran out 7 pages of info about it from different sites. However she said that when her ds went to be assessed, it too 6 specialists, 6 hours of observations and test to decide upon a dx of PDAS. It also cost £2,000, but that was paid for by the council I think. I know they had to travel quite a way from home to visit the place.

It's quite eerie that you have called this other child by your ds's name, and it makes me think that it could be more than a coincidence, but I would tend to believe the EP over the head regarding the dx personally.

Good luck WedgiesMum, I found some good sites on the web with a lot of information, but a lot of it is re-hashed.

WedgiesMum Sat 05-Mar-05 23:25:31

Dont' get me started on school. I am so peed off with them, and the discipline policy - well.....I started a thread a while ago about their 'card' system, which incidentally to all those who remember it still hasn't changed even with the new Head

Am seriously thinking of a new school, but am cautious as I don't want to go from the frying pan to the fire. I am asking round for advice, and as I work in a junior school I'm getting lots of godd info. I need to find somewhere that will take DD as well as she starts school in Jan/ I guess I am also worried about moving him because of leaving his firends behind. He gets very attached to certain people and I think it would be quite a traumatic move for him

WedgiesMum Sat 05-Mar-05 23:28:17

Thanks Chocol8 for that, I have been looking at web stuff too. Am also going to see if I can talk to the mother of the child I work with. This child's review meeting is in a couple of weeks and I thought I might catch her afterwards to see if she had any advice on how to deal with the LEA in this.

JaysMum Sat 05-Mar-05 23:35:18

I'd go with the EP.....why do heads always appear to think they are qualified psychologists??????

Once you get youe EP report, how about asking for a multi-agency meeting with all concerned, to discuss the way forward for your ds???

bambi06 Sat 05-Mar-05 23:35:20

i would go with ed psych`s dx as they`re more experienced and only really see children mainly with problems

Hulababy Sun 06-Mar-05 09:35:12

Have no experience Wedgiesmum, but wanted to say that I am thinking of you all. Your DS is a fantastic little boy, and we are really really fond of him here. I know that you will do the best for him. Have e-mailed you. Take care.

WedgiesMum Sun 06-Mar-05 20:18:39

Thanks Hula, and everyone else. Just girding our loins for another week at school and hoping that DS can hold it together, roll on that report coming through. Then at least we can all get together and talk about this properly rather than us passing on info to school. They are taking them to the park as part of their science topic tomorrow, out of routine, out of school - oh joy! Can hardly wait to see what will happen......

Davros Sun 06-Mar-05 20:58:51

Go with EP, will prob put you in the system to see Developmental Paediatrician and/or Chiild Development Centre. I would seriously think about changing schools and start looking anyway.

Cosmo74 Mon 07-Mar-05 13:41:40

OMG – you have just described my DS ( ages 5 last Monday) the head in his school also isn’t very helpful – DS was only in Primary 1 (year 1 as you would call it) for 6 weeks when she called us in, asked us to change his diet etc.. this is when she first mentioned ADHD to us – seems like she had him dx already – he started his IEP last October but is only moving onto stage 3 this week – and this is only because I found this site and phoned her to get her to send him for assessment – when I asked her for the assessment she said she did not want to rush things?? Well she is the one who started this all so now I do want to rush it. BTW his teacher now is brilliant she has only been teaching him for 2 months and has made so much progress with him – his other teacher was – well how can I put it - very negative towards our DS, for example when doing his star chart for the day she use to have all the kids around her desk while she filled it in – talk about making my ds feel bad and different – even the other kids were commenting on how many stars he got each day.!! Well just got a phone call from his teacher to go in and sign forms for the assessment as she is going ahead with this.

Anyhow have no answers for you but am keen to know how you get on as I will know what is in front of me.

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