I didn’t want to post this until I found out what was happening.
Lets just say- I am not impressed!
So as many of you will have read, if you read my blog on regular basis, this week has been very busy.
Monday Dinky was excluded for head butting a child who picks on her
Tuesday was the educational psychologist visit and the trashed nurture room
Wednesday was the trashed nurture room exclusion
Thursday was the special school visit.
Well, What I didn’t post, was the meeting I was summoned to on Wednesday, which went something like this…
I got home after dropping Dinky at school, I was just about to make myself some breakfast, when my phone rings, a catchy Eminem number which lets me know it is the school- Brainless- “if you had a brain you would be dangerous. a brain you’d be dangerous, I guess it pays to be brainless”
I answered, it was The Muppet. She said “can you come to the school, I have something I need to discuss, it s serious and Urgent and best done face to face.” She told me that Dinky had settled and it wasn’t an exclusion. Duly worried, I grabbed my stuff and went straight to the school. The Muppet was with miss deputy (who has lost her Muppet Jr title after actually using PDA strategies in order to help me get Dinky calm the other day!),she invited me into the office.
I sat down. She told me that I wouldn’t like what she had to say, so I asked her to just tell me.
She said that on Friday, Dinky went puddle jumping in her socks again, which is fine, but they had to get her dressed into her PE kit. She was taken somewhere to change and while naked, she touched her intimate area in a sexualised manner. This was deemed as inappropriate over sexualised behaviour.
She started saying that it could have been copied from things from home. I told her there was NO WAY Dinky could have got it from home, I don’t watch that kind of stuff, and do not have images like that in my house.
She asked if she had been playing with older kids. I said no, the only older kids she plays with are at school. To which she got ultra defensive – that wouldn’t happen in my school, the students are supervised.
She said it could be because someone/an adult had done it to her, could have been recent, or a long time ago. I said I don’t think it would be anyone I know, and we don’t just have contact with anyone, I don’t particularly socialise a lot.
She said that she had phoned social services as it is a safeguarding issue and she had contacted the lead professional too, and let me know that I should get a call back from social services soon enough.
I did say that Dinky has touched herself before, but only when she is sore, as she is still in night pull ups and doesn’t always wipe herself properly. I do use cream when she does get sore, but she normally does it when getting dressed and sore.
I said I understood that they were doing their jobs in regard to the safeguarding issue, social can come round I have nothing to hide, and they can investigate.
On the way out The Muppet said it might be nothing.
I spoke to another parent about it. They said it was just a case of Dinky exploring her own body, and the school were taking things too far and it seems are trying to break me considering all the other stuff they keep doing.
Ok… so today I got a call from a social worker.
She said, as I know they got a call from the school concerning an incident of sexualised behaviour, and asked for my take. I told them I didn’t think it was anything to be concerned about. She said
“I agree, I am not concerned in the slightest, it is just a case of a child exploring their body.”
which was great, someone with common sense! Then she said… the school also said the following
She is also very controlling, displays very challenging behaviour, and doesn’t always want to go home
The conversation went something like this
Me: well that comes with the territory of her provisional diagnosis of PDA
SS: What provisional diagnosis?
Me: the one from November.
SS: School didn’t tell me about that
Me: Oh, I am sure they didn’t! Well, it was given on the 8th of November by Dr . at CDC. the actual wording is
Provisional diagnosis: Pathological demand avoidance (PDA). At the end of the letter it says: “it is my impression that Dinky has PDA syndrome with Sensory issues (sight, taste, hearing, and touch) alongside hyperactivity and dyspraxia.
Feel free to phone him and ask about Dinky, I am sure he would be happy to explain, also the social communication team have given PDA strategies to the school to help with her, and then there is the educational psychologist who came to see her on Tuesday.
SS: well the school have given the impression thatThey are handling her well at school
(I literally caoughed and splattered my orange juice!)
Me: What now?
SS: They give the impression they are coping very well with her.
Me: Oh, is that why she has had 8 exclusions in 9 school weeks???
SS: How Many?
Me: 8 E X C L U S I O N S in 9 W E E K S
SS: So they are not handling things at school then?
Me: well not really, she WAS in nurture, but today I found out she is in the staff room in the mornings. So she is not in a class, not in a small group, but 1:1 in a staff room… yes, sounds like they are doing a brilliant job!
SS: I can only go on the information given, but it seems you are doing all you can.
She then asked me if I needed more support, and she was basically a muppet from then on, telling me that because Dinky can walk, talk and feed herself she is not eligible for Direct payments. Which is ridiculous, even children with severe autism can walk, talk and feed themselves, and they get direct payments. there was no need to over do it. So Dinky is apparently not eligible. Fine.
I phoned the lead professional and told her SS said that there was no concerns and the oversexualised behaviour issue, was just a case of child self exploration, all kids do it. She was her usual useless self… I cant wait for the lead professionals to change over at the next TAC.
I got really angry about the school! How dare they insinuate parenting AGAIN! The Muppet assured me they had no concerns over my parenting… How DARE they! The only reason Dinky finds it hard to come hom eis that she is so anxious at the end of the day the demand of getting ready to leave, and walking home becomes too much for her. The last few days I have carried her to the bus stop… guess what… she came fine! IT IS PDA NOT PARENTING. What makes that worse is the fact that they KNOW she has a provisional diagnosis, they know the social communication team agree, and they know that the Educational Psychologist ALSO agreed.
I shall be giving the Muppet a talking to on Monday!
Then, just as I was writing this I got the social communication report on email. This was in the section on advice
Share information regarding PDA with staff working with Dinky. Information available at the following websites:-
- Consider giving Dinky her own space in nurture group which she is able to decorate and make her own.
- Ensure a visual timetable is in place to give Dinky pre-warning of what is coming up and any changes occurring. This should be available to provide information in a non-threatening way but not to make demands on her.
- Prepare Dinky for changes or for unusual/different events, visitors etc. that may be occurring in advance.
- A good relationship with a key adult is important as it has been found that children with PDA are more likely to respond to learning in this setting as they become less aware of the pressure of learning through enjoying the relationship. In addition, the key adult will be able to get to know Dinky and be able to understand the best ways of approaching tasks with her and the strategies that work well with her. In addition, Dinky will become familiar with the expectations of the Key Worker.
- The adults working with Dinky will need to have consistent boundaries whilst at the same time knowing when to reduce pressure and when to follow through with a task. It would also be helpful for Dinky to have time with her Key adult, about 15 minutes at the start and end of day.
- Staff will need to adapt the way in which activities are presented and use an indirect approach rather than Dinky being told directly to do something.
- The use of role play or pretending activities may be effective in helping to achieve tasks.
- Give Dinky a choice of two activities where the desired one is the easiest.
- Staff will need to be adaptable and inventive. The same strategies may not work on consecutive days but may work if returned to later on. Therefore, the knowledge of Dinky by the adults working with her is key and having a variety of strategies ready to use is very important.
- When encouraging Dinky to carry out tasks try the use of humour or set a challenge.
- Dinky may benefit from the use of practical activities especially things like cooking.
- Ensure good communication between school and home including the use of a positive home school book. Any issues should be discussed via email, not in front of Dinky.
- It is important that strategies are shared between school and home so that there is consistency of approach.
- Dinky may respond to a visual work system rather than adult requests to carry out tasks as it is not always the activity that is the problem, rather the fact that someone is expecting them to do it.
- An indirect and negotiative style allows the pupil to feel that they have some control
- Staff will need to spend time ensuring that Dinky is retaining the learning as children with PDA can shut off and not process.
- Good role models are very important as children with PDA are likely to imitate socially and so will benefit from exposure to these positive role models.
- Staff may need to be cautious with the use of praise and reward and use the knowledge of Dinky that staff have built up to help inform their approach to this.
- Remember outbursts are a form of panic as a result of anxiety, therefore the use of calming activities on a regular basis would be helpful.
- Staff will need to regularly revisit their risk assessment due to the concerns about Dinky’s safety. It may be helpful to consider the use of a high, adult only handle to prevent easy escape from the nurture group.
- The Specialist TA from the Team will make regular visits to school in the Spring Term to help with implementing the strategies and to provide on-going advice. The above recommendations should be viewed as a starting point and will need to be reviewed and possibly adapted.
- It would also be helpful if staff could complete a Social Communication Observation Profile to provide additional information about possible areas of concern with regard to Dinky’s skills in this area. This will also provide a useful baseline for planning future intervention work, setting IEP targets and provide a means of monitoring interventions and measuring impact and progress and to identify areas to work on to enable any social skills work to be appropriately targeted to Dinky’s needs.
Dinky may benefit from the use of Comic Strip Conversations and Social Stories but advice on this will be given at a later date once S-TA has had the opportunity to spend more time with the staff in school.
Most of these don’t require funding… I asked for all the non funded ones to be implemented since they started struggling with Dinky!
I shall be having a meeting with the school over them not divulging ALL the relevant information to social services, but also asking if they are still going to turn down PDA advice from the social communication team!!!!
Seriously! I have just about had enough of that place!!!!