When is an attachment disorder not an attachment disorder… When it is PDA!


Today, I had a brief conversation with the Head teacher of Dinky’s school.

She is just like the head of dinky’s old school, and it does not surprise me that they worked well together in a different county!

I was explaining the whole ‘experience’ of dinky starting at her school. At one point she cut me off….

HT: Is it just the two of you

Me: Yes, we did share a house with a friend, but it is the two of us.

HT: Well, I thought I would ask as from 0-3 children form attachments,  but if someone just disappeared out of her life it could cause an attachment disorder.

Me: I don’t think it is an attachment disorder.

She went on to say that she is going to get all her staff who come into contact with Dinky together and get a better understanding of what she is like in school. She said she would contact the first school and speak to her good friend. Also she wants to contact the CAF lead professional.

I am not sure what is going to happen but she is going to get back to me Friday.
I’m just so sick of everyone assuming that it is anything but what it probably is. Thankfully this ignorant and arrogant head teacher is not a medical professional and her opinion matters very little in terms of Dinky. I was shocked by her assumption and plan on putting her straight, I intend to write a letter to her explaining that while she is entitled to her opinion, even if it is after meeting me for all of 10 minutes and never having met Dinky. Also that dinky will be attending the autism spectrum clinic within the child development centre for assessment. This is the direction the medical professionals are going in and I would appreciate any other gems of unqualified assessment be kept to herself in future.

I understand that this may seem harsh but I will not allow someone to make out that I am to blame for dinky’s difficulties, when I finally get round to stopping blaming myself for how dinky is. Also if I let them walk all over me now they will continue to do so.

Dinky’s refusing to get ready to go to school is getting worse, and the meltdowns afterschool, while not as bad as Friday or last Sunday, are still happening and is now almost a daily occurrence. However today she was a pickle coming out of school as the teacher wanted to talk to me. She had had a bad day at school.

On the way home I let her pick dinner from the shop and she could pick a snack for the way home.

Once home I let her pick when dinner was, and how much she had. She span for a few minutes and then sat to watch Netflix. After dinner I sat down with her and asked her, when she was relatively calm, if she liked school. She said no, her reasons were:

  • I don’t like being told what to do
  • I don’t like carpet time because I want to sit on my own
  • I want to be the teacher
  • I don’t want to write- all we do is write, write, write

add that to her previous reasons from last week

  • My teachers don’t believe in me (maybe meant believes her?)
  • X wont play with me anymore
  • My teachers tell me not to worry but my brain does it

I must admit I did say to the teacher, after she said Dinky was harder to handle today, that I was less than impressed with the head, and that dinky is getting worse at home too. That dinky doesn’t want to go into school in the mornings and we had a massive meltdown last week because she realised it was back to school. I told her I don’t want to see my daughter suffer, she is 5 and in her first year of school, and I can see this is only going to get worse. I also confided that I am losing faith in their willingness to support her, she may be academically able but she needs support with the other side of schooling, the social and behavioural aspects.
The teacher agreed, she said that they will try to find a way forward starting with the meeting tomorrow. She will try and make sure that the SENCO is brought in properly, as now she is playing up more in class.

I just hate seeing her like this.

I have to think about the good things though… she still cracks me up on a daily basis!

We were walking home and dinky wanted to stroke a dog, so I let her. instead of saying goodbye she barked at the dog. I asked why she barked


“Because dogs don’t speak English!”

Gotta love her!

Tomorrow should be interesting with the meeting at school!


4 thoughts on “When is an attachment disorder not an attachment disorder… When it is PDA!

  1. Hi I really feel for you with the response you’re getting from the school. Unfortunately my experience with my daughter is that school does get worse. She found preschool hard and then went to reception. She was ok for the first term, not brilliant but it was manageable but after that it went downhill fast, she was just wild at school. Its a horrible term but she really was like a wild animal, she would run round, throwing chairs, pushing things off shelves etc and once when I went for a special assembly she came running through and it just so distressed me to see her like that her eyes just looked awful. We then decided that we had to take her out and for us homeschooling was the answer. Demands are fewer, environment safer and it gives us time to talk and now Grace will happily talk about anxieties etc and wants to overcome them although obviously when feelings take over strategies can go out the window!. Dont get me wrong we get really bad days still when PDA is alive and kicking (although I think most people will say it is every day in some form or another). I dont want to depress you and I know homeschooling is not an option for everyone (I don’t know if its something you could consider) but however frightening it may seem and the thought of being with the behaviour 24/7 is very daunting I think its not as bad as seeing them go through it with school. Is there a school that maybe more experienced in dealing with these difficulties that could at least tailor the environment/curriculum to her? I know Jane found this helped Mollie for a while but inevitably it was only shortlived (which I think is the problem).

    I hope you find some help here – thinking of you

  2. Thank you Natalie,

    I don’t intend to go down without a fight, and I will try to get dinky some help in school. There is a nurture room she could go to in order to split up the day. I am going to ask if she could go in there more often. Hopefully they can start to pick up on her anxieties and only send her when she needs to go.
    Also Dinky doesn’t seem to be as bad as Grace, or Mollie, she definitely has her moments, but she is not quite as destructive.
    If this placement doesn’t work there is a special school, I hadn’t considered it before because I wasn’t at the point where it could be a consideration, but the special needs group leader works there and Dinky adores her.

    Thanks again for your reply

  3. Glad to hear Dinky isnt as destructive and that is definitely a blessing. If she has a person she likes and trusts thats half the battle so its good to have the special school as another option.

  4. Thank you Natalie,
    It is a blessing that she isn’t destructive! She does however have a nasty habit of throwing things and spitting at people…
    I think you are spot on, and that is the issue with this school, in the last school dinky had the senco (monopolised her time but she was there none the less), here she doesn’t have a go to person.
    Thanks again 🙂

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