Dinky doesnt want to go to school… professionals are starting to get PDA!!!

Today I am a very mixed bag of emotions…

Dinky was not happy, so I am unhappy for her

Professionals are believing in PDA and see that Dinky fits PDA, things are moving forward with school and now more things are set in motion.. I am happy!

Dinky did not want to go to school this morning and pulled out some amazingly gifted demand avoidance strategies!

She went back to bed, she put her headphones on so she couldn’t hear me, she hid under the table, and then the washing. She asked question after question about why she has to go to school. When I wasn’t giving in, it turned to screaming and everything in her path seemed to be a missile, and I was the target. (If anything I am sure to lose my small amount of excess weight dodging them… 5 D’s of dodge ball and all that!)

So I tried to play a new one.

Me: Well, I am going to school because I want to do the activity at the craft table with all the other children

Dinky: You can’t leave me here! That is mean mummy!

Me: well, I can go to the school and then when they ask where you are, I will say that you didn’t want to come.

Dinky: Don’t leave me here!

And she started to get dressed between screaming “you are a mean and stupid mummy!”, she had a point on the mean, but not the right reasons! I was mean for tricking her, but I thought it was pretty clever actually. I will be careful not to over play this one as it would be a nightmare to carry out!

Eventually we were ready to go, but she didn’t want to leave and was having a difficult time understanding why she couldn’t wear her new, converse type, hi tops to school. So I had another idea. I asked her if she would like to listen to music on the way to school. She did and she was happy, she got her shoes on and put her wrist reins on without an issue and put her headphones on. She loved listening to the music on the way to school. Which created another issue. She didn’t want to give it to me when we got to school. She wanted the headphones in school.

Eventually I got them off her and that was it she wasn’t happy. Straight past the TA who she hadn’t seen in 2 weeks, and under the table. So I coax her out by showing her teacher the promise we made about phonics. (Dinky keeps going under the table in phonics so I made a promise to buy a magazine if she was to do phonics nicely until the end of the week. I did a sheet so the school could put some indication if she did it or not). The teacher helped and we got her out. She then did her activity and did the writing! Shock horror!

While she was busy I gave Simba to the teacher and then left it up to her when to give it to Dinky. It all fell apart when I was due to leave. She was still very anxious from the morning. While she enjoyed the music I could still sense the anxiety that radiated from her.

She then asked the teacher for Simba. Oh dear! Really not good!

Dinky went into the teacher’s cupboard, but it wasn’t in there, but she kept looking anyway, then she started throwing chairs and then ran out of the building onto the playground. I tried to calm her but she said she wanted to come home and that if she stayed I had to stay. I gave her a hug (when she calmed down enough to let me have a hug!), and then I took her back in.

Great day back for the TA… not! She ended up having to stop a very upset dinky running after me as I left.

 

I went round to get the plan from the head. Turns out it is an IEP.

The deputy head came with the head to show me the plan. He didn’t look too impressed. It might have something to do with him asking me a week ago not to go over the head of early years’ head, and then me proceeding to go over his head, which has led to the I.E.P being drawn up. I tried to give him my best ‘it was for the best’ look. Still not impressed! Oh well… I did it for dinky. If it was about keeping the school happy then sure, I may have listened.

 

Her targets are set around her behaviour. She has 3 in total…

  1. To be kind to other children and adults and not to hurt them
  2. I will go to my quiet space when I need to be on my own or feel like running out of the room
  3. To meet my adult at the end of the day without getting upset

I was impressed that the head actually got the senco to do it quickly, but then again they were fully aware that the integrated services lady was on her way out this morning!

So I got home and repaired the damage from today’s school battle before the integrated services lady got here.

Have I mentioned how much I like this lady? She came in and I showed her the IEP. Then she asked what had been going on in the past 3 weeks since she last saw us. So I told her about dinky and what was happening at home, which made me concerned about how she was getting on in school, and then I told her that I had a meeting with the Head and the senco yesterday. She said she had looked up attachment and it didn’t fit, but the more she looked into PDA the more she is sure that PDA is the issue. She recommended I definitely take the file on PDA with me to the Paediatrician appointment on the 8th (they changed the date and the paediatrician).

She said that although they don’t tend to like parents who diagnose their children, it seems Dinky has some very (very) strong traits! I asked her if she would write a report on how dinky was when she last came out for me to take with me, and she said yes!

We discussed the issues with the school, and went more in depth about the meeting I had with the school yesterday. I did say to the integrated services lady that again the home time thing was put on me, by them saying that it seemed like Dinky didn’t want to come home. I said that it would be nice if their first port of call wasn’t to blame me.

She said that it is clear to her that I am a good parent, that I love dinky and that I am acting solely in her best interests. She praised me for giving dinky the foundation in reading. (I am not a big fan of praise, especially not when it is something every parent should be doing with their child.) She said I am doing everything I can and will put that across to the school. She is going to talk to the school this week and ask them what services they can pull in for Dinky and call me after I speak to the head teacher on Friday.

Then she will arrange a TAC (team around the child) for Dinky the week of or after the paed appointment so that we can work out how we are going to deal with the transition into year 1, and get some idea of what support can be put into place! I can’t even begin to describe how much the last 2 days have felt like a huge, win!! I feel vindicated, and feel like we can actually do something to help dinky. It is miserable so I don’t think we will be going to the park.

However tonight I think I will relax.

So, until tomorrow!

When I have steps and dinky has swimming, and she has end of the week teacher, which should be interesting!

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Today the battle with school continues!

Today was one of those days I would sooner forget! I am still very angry, but I have taken some time to calm down from where I was.

Let me start from the beginning of the day..

Dinky and I get up at 6.30am. We stay in my bed until the alarm (which dinky calls the blarm!) goes off at 7.20am

It was a bit of an effort but I managed to get dinky to eat breakfast. after breakfast it was a fight to get her ready for school. Well, I stood there and applied the 5 D’s of dodgeball!

She was shouting in a baby voice ‘Not going’. As she emptied the bookcase in my direction. Once she finally got dressed after showing me the cress (that we haven’t managed to kill yet!), and then she put the jamotes (remotes), on the shelf, then she didn’t have the right jumper. Eventually she was dressed. Then when I said it was time to get her coat on she hid under the washing and said she wasn’t going to school. When I asked why, she said it was because school was stupid and I was stupid and she hated school.

I left her for 10 minutes, then went back to her. After another 10 minutes and after being punched, kicked, and bitten, I manage to get her coat on, wrist reins on and down the stairs.

On the way to school the grass cutters were out, which meant 3 men with strimmers. So I had to straddle Dinky, so I could hold both ears until we got away from them.

We went into school and dinky went straight to the role play shop. I had to try and get her out before she got too comfy! But end of the week teacher came over to me and said that they were postponing the meeting regarding dinky’s academic progress so that the head could call everyone together.

Fine.

Dinky and I made a flower at the creative table and it was put on the wall, I left her with one of the mums that likes reading stories to the children in the mornings.

On my way home I decided to phone the lady from integrated services, I left a message, asking her to call me back.

Which she did.

I told her bits of what is going on, she decided it would be better if she came out to discuss the issues.

The whole day I am still thinking about the school, and what will happen in the big meeting. I wonder how dinky is going to cope today. I wonder if she can keep herself in check. Or whether I am going to end up dealing with meltdown dinky.

I begin to write a letter to the school. I don’t quite know what I should say, but it feels good to vent sometimes.

When I went to get dinky the teacher asked if she could have a word.

She said that dinky had found carpet time hard and that they are going to have to have a discussion about Simba.
I said that I was told her could stay as he was useful for getting dinky to comply with carpet time.

She said that it wasn’t working anymore and Is only serving as a distraction. Then she asked for the contact book.

I said that I didn’t see the point as I wasn’t getting any useful information from it.

She looked all offended and then got defensive. She said that if I wasn’t happy I should have said something, I told her I had spoken to beginning of the week teacher, I can not be held responsible for messages not being shared. She said that as far as she was aware she was only supposed to put in a small amount. So I had to explain that ‘up and down day’ did not mean anything to me. Again she was all offended.

I don’t see what the big deal is. Surely she understands that up and down doesn’t actually give an indication of what dinky’s day was actually like?

I made a point saying that it could mean that she had small periods of up and majority down or vice versa. It also doesn’t give me or them any indication of what sets her off. They may as well save their energy and not write anything.
I told her that I have no idea what has made dinky unwilling to come to school, and I may have done if the book was written in the way I was told it would be.. Informative.

She said

“well, yes they said about that, yet she seems happy enough when she gets here”.  It was said in that condescending, disbelieving tone.

At that point I told Dinky it was time to go. I had enough. This teacher obviously knows my daughter best… muppet!!!

I managed to get dinky home without too many problems. She was a little whiney but that was all. I got her in and watched Netflix and span in a circle for a few minutes, before an early dinner. It is swimming day after all.
I wrote a letter while she ate to the school, saying that communication is a big issue and while I understand that it is difficult for the teachers as there are two of them and that they have a class to welcome in the morning and pair with their responsible adults at home time. If the communication carries on being this flawed then it could jeopardise the home school relationship as I am losing faith and trust in the school as the only way it seems to get things done is to speak to a member of the senior leadership team.

I also went over the points that the teacher raised and showed how that was part of PDA.

I doubt they will listen, but I am fuming!

I wasn’t told the outcome of the meeting or what was discussed. I was only made to feel like a neurotic parent.

I will see what the integrated services lady says tomorrow

integrated services visit

I am really starting to like this integrated services lady.

when I first imagined her turning up, I imagined a woman, late 40’s, brown hair tied up in a bun, glasses, brown tweed skirt suit with shoulder pads, name tag precisely placed, and a clipboard.

In reality I got a late 30’s, dyed blonde hair (with visible roots), trousers and flowery top, back pack, lanyard with name tag the wrong way round, no clipboard.

I imagined the worst, I imagined bad parenting, my past, our homelessness to come up and be used as a reason for the way dinky is.
Instead I got ‘you seem to be doing your best for dinky’.

I didn’t know what to expect today. I didn’t know how dinky would react. It could have gone many ways

  • She could have been the ideal compliant child (making me look crazy!)
  • She could have jumped all over the lady
  • She could have hid the entire time
  • She could have tried to be herself

What did she do?

She was ultimate PDA child!

The lady came in, she got some pictures out for dinky to colour in. Dinky didn’t want to colour. So she read the lady one of her reading books instead, when the book was finished she tried again, dinky decided to try the reading again. The lady asked if she had any colouring pencils. I got dinky’s colour box out. Which Dinky had filled with toys. She started showing the lady the toys. The lady coloured a little while dinky lined up her toys. The lady asked dinky to colour with her, dinky showed her all the colours and said she couldn’t because she didn’t have the right one. She showed the lady how her pen had a click top. I was reading the new CAF form we did on the last visit (chuckling at the demand avoidance behind the paper). The lady started asking dinky about school, dinky then picked up a yellow felt tip and said she was going to call it golden. She completely ignored the lady and started colouring, Again I was chuckling.

Unable to stop the questions she answered with wrong answers. Then she went off into fantasy, she told an awesome story about a dream about a wolf that snuck in her room to eat her. But she caught it by the tail and split his head in 2 (don’t ask me where she got that from). He wasn’t alone, he had an army! An army of 152 wolves and she did the same to them, then there were 55! Then they had babies, the babies were very small. She wanted to keep one of the babies.

I tried to make the lady a cuppa, but dinky wanted to come in with me to make it. I tried a number of things to get her to stay in the living room but she didn’t want to. So I got my ipad and dinky showed the lady pictures from London zoo.

Then Dinky coloured a little more, then decided she had, had enough and turned the TV on. The lady commented on the fact that dinky is a character! Oh yes!

Dinky then wanted a film on. I said she could when the lady left. She then hit punched me twice, I said she would get a warning if she carried on. she punched me again, I went to the warning chart (which doesn’t work but I use it anyway, it was good for her to see how useless it is), dinky took the warning off and threw it in the bin. I tried to stop her going back to it, she kept hitting me, screaming and reaching full meltdown, no-one needed that. So I backed off, let her trash the chart. She grabbed my keys and ran upstairs with them. I explained that me stopping her would have added fuel to the fire. I told her that if I leave her she will calm down and that is what happened. She was jumping on me and cuddling and slapping my leg at the same time, but apparently she wasn’t the one smacking, it was a ghost.

She made noises so that the adults couldn’t have a conversation and tried to control both of us.

I felt dinky had shown enough at this point to show the lady the PDA criteria.

She was wide eyed and nodding. She asked if I was going to show the paediatrician this on the 9th of July for our appointment, I said yes, although I was semi reluctant as I don’t want the paed to think I was consulting doctor google.

She agreed dinky fit the criteria and we went through just the bits she had shown.

The demand avoidance for the colouring- distraction, suggesting alternatives, making excuses, arguing, before withdrawing into fantasy.

Dinky appears sociable, but it is obvious she struggles socially.

She said it was amazing how quickly she switched from content to violent with no provocation.

I had given her the SaLT report and she nodded at the language delay.

After the London zoo Pictures dinky shoed her the ones from her 4th birthday, which everything was space. Obsessive behaviour.

Controlling, yes.

Behaviour modification not working- not only the warning system, but I showed her the incident reports from the 4 hours yesterday at the leisure centre.

She said she was going to amend the CAF form. I don’t know if she is going to add the PDA into it. If she does she does, if she doesn’t, it can get brought up at our first TAC.

She said she was going to phone the school next week, as she couldn’t get hold of the senco the week before half term. She is going to ask what support they have put into place. I laughed and said none. She smiled and said yes, she knows they haven’t, but they might after she speaks to them.  Also the will have to in consideration to the SaLT recommendations.

Have I mentioned that I quite like this lady!

Right now Dinky is in my room with the curtains shut, watching Netflix on her 7 inch tablet I got with her DLA. She desperately needs some down time. Especially as she has swimming later.

It looks as if this lady is really on our side!

Integrated services home visit

Yesterday was the visit from integrated services.
I spent most of the morning getting ready….You know, putting the books back on the bookcase in some sort of order, moving the boxes out of the dining area, taking the piles of washing to the relevant rooms, then tackling that pile of letters on the table and trying to think of a place to put them.

(Is it just me or does facebook make every job take twice as long? ‘oh I’ll take a break and look on the ipad for just a second’, an hour later and still only half done the jobs…)

In typical professional style, she was late.

1.15pm I got a knock at my door.

We sat down and she said she had looked over the CAF paperwork from the old school, and because we are now housed and Dinky has changed school that she thinks the best thing to do would be to start a new CAF.

I asked her who our lead professional would be, as I don’t want the senco from new school. She said that it was fine and as she is the one starting the CAF she would be the lead! I can not tell you just how pleased I am, it means I can battle the senco and not have to worry about it affecting the TAC meetings.

She did it differently to the old school. The old school just asked me the questions on the boxes. Whereas, we had a conversation about Dinky and she put the information in all the different boxes. It was much nicer as the questions were not all “what are her strengths/weaknesses” for each box. The questions were “So, how do you see dinky?”, “how do you think dinky comes across to others?”

I will admit it, at one point I cried because she said that it seemed I was doing everything I could possibly do, with and for, Dinky. She said as soon as she walked in she could see how much she means to me. (There are 6 pictures in the living/dining area, Dinky’s drawings have pride of place, both doors are dedicated to dinky’s visual timetables- they area way of making indirect demands-, and her school achievement certificates for reading are in the dining area).

I will also admit I didn’t bring up PDA. The last thing I wanted was for her to think I am one of ‘those’ mums who consult Dr. Google for everything, also it is hard enough trying to get the professionals to take me seriously with my mental health issues, I didn’t want being one of ‘those’ mums to be added to the things I have to fight against. Once she has met Dinky, and spent some time with her (which she is going to do during half term), then I will point out PDA and how dinky fits the criteria. Hopefully she will take that on board and help me to get others to agree, or at the very least agree to use strategies that work for dinky.

When I told her about the referral to the paediatrician she asked if they had sent out the conners questionnaire, which I have heard is for ADHD. I told her they sent out the autism spectrum questionnaire. She seemed to accept that too.

I think most people, when I first describe dinky, tend to think ADHD. It is true she can come across as hyperactive, but that hyperness stems from, being 5 mostly, and some from anxiety. Maybe I need to slightly edit my description? The mental health nurse mentioned ADHD once, although the old mental health nurse also said I was slightly hyper. I almost fell off the chair! I love sleep, I just don’t get enough due to being stressed and Dinky getting up at between 5 and 6am every morning. I fiddled with my headphones because I found it difficult being there and explaining why I was, and what my life is like. Me, hyper… ok then!

Anyway, the integrated services lady said Dinky sounds like a character and cant wait to meet her.

We discussed my background and mental health. Always a pleasure… not!

As she was leaving, she very kindly offered for me to phone her if I ever needed to, even if it is just to let off some steam, and reassured me that she would do what she could to get us both the support we need.

All in all it was a very nice surprise. I was fully expecting for her to blame me, want to send me on some parenting courses, have the same leaflets that the health visitors brought out last year about listening to your child.

Instead I go the opposite…. “You are doing really well, keep it up, and I will find you and the little one some support”.

She left at 2.30pm. I went to get dinky at 3pm.

When we got home my head started to pound. I ended up in bed just after dinky and got up with dinky at 5.15 this morning.