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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The meeting with the Head teacher and Senco actually goes ok… wow!

Today was a win!

Although less of a win then I first thought.

Let me explain…

When Dinky went to her first school, they were all,

“Yes, we will help and do our best and what is in her best interests”.

When in reality what happened was a lot of nodding and “poor kid”.

Which resulted in the only thing they did for her (which also helped the teacher) was give her play therapy (which I believe became a good route out of the class room for her), and gave her, her own behavioural system, which she got pretty bored with.  Although the senco did spend a lot of time with dinky.

Then they said “X school would be better, as they are used to dealing with families like yours”. Basically they used our housing situation to get rid of the trouble child.

 

 

Then there is this school… While I stand by the fact they should have spoken to me earlier and maybe, we could have avoided it getting this far. As it turns out it seems they do want to help, I MAY have misjudged them, but only time will tell…

So, today’s meeting….

It was with the senco and the head teacher (I still am not very keen on the senco, as she still seems a little work shy to me!)

Finally I hear the truth from a school for a change. I think I might actually like this head teacher as she is straight to the point and factual. I don’t like all the walking on eggshells and have made it quite clear that I would prefer the truth.

They started with the head’s assessment of dinky, which is both rather amusing and pretty spot on! This is what she said roughly….

“Dinky is very, very, bright, definitely not below average, I would say above average. What does come across is her need to control EVERYONE, adults and children. She is very smart when it comes to this and knows exactly what she is doing. For most kids they get the attention and that is enough for them. Dinky will get the attention and want to keep it. Everything is about power..”

I had to stop myself laughing… yes, I know dinky is controlling, and needs to be in control… my little miss PDA! She continues…

“She also uses running off as means of control”

Not quite unless someone is trying to control her or is giving a demand, which can be taken as needing to be in control.

“our other concern is her hitting other children.”

First I had heard of it… But then that is the teachers fault. They really need to let me know she is hitting. I tell them that I had no idea she had hit another child until Friday.

I come back with,

“Yes that sounds like dinky, and sounds like PDA.” And I show them the folder, I don’t go through it but I say, “In the folder is all the information I have collated on PDA, and one of the criteria is ‘led by a need to control’. As for the running off, it is probably when it is a structured activity, so you have avoidance. At the end I have put how PDA and dinky go together.”

So we sit and they say that they want to tackle the issue of hitting, and the issue of running off. I don’t know what I can do. She doesn’t run away from me in the house unless it is to do homework, and the hitting I do give a consequence for. It is up to dinky then to learn from the consequence. If her brain doesn’t work that way there is little I can do.

So we are going to try social stories for the hitting and the running away is a little trickier.

Dinky is on wrist reins, I took them off her when she was 3, and although we still had periods where she was unsafe, it was ok most of the time though, but they had to go back on shortly after starting school when her behaviour really went downhill and she was running more and more and it was harder to catch up with her when she put herself in such danger.

I explained this… the head said “Is there nowhere, where there are few roads where you could let her walk?”

Er…. No!

She soon realised there wasn’t. So there is nothing I can do to tackle it. As far as her running in school goes it is normally due to her high levels of anxiety and her demand avoidance. They are going to see if they can give her somewhere to run to.

I mentioned that the lead professional (integrated services lady) was coming round tomorrow morning and they are going to come up with a plan and give me a copy. Well, I have to give it to them, they are now going to make an effort. They haven’t so far, and I have had a right to be annoyed, and if they do not follow through, I will be very angry, and they will know ALL about it!

Dinky is going to get an I.E.P and the speech and Language will probably be in September. Which is fine.

In regards to the afterschool problem, we are going to have a now and next. Which gives less warning of an activity, but just may see us get home without too much of a fight. As long as we don’t have a park one!

It is hard to remember everything that was discussed.

They are no longer going to put her on the list for play therapy because we all know dinky doesn’t really need it.

They are going to use nurture a little more with her. I am going to have to look into that more. I think I know where the head was going last time with the attachment thing. Apparently all but 1 of the kids in there have attachment issues and if dinky had attachment issues, then she would ‘qualify’ to be in there. Something about boxall profiles. I will look that up later with interest. Although they have said that they may be able to use it more if she needs it.

Fridays are a big problem, and it is something they are going to look at because not only is there a change in routine (and although many PDA children do not like routine there are a number that do, dinky is one of them), and it is very structured in terms of demands, which is difficult for her too. So they are going to look at changing Friday for dinky.

In regards to the school trip… They are going to talk to the special needs group and find out what they do to keep dinky safe. I guess they will let me know about the trip when they have spoken to the group leader.

We have to draw a line under the past with school and move forward.

 They haven’t said no to the trip… (But then again, I didn’t really give them any choice!)

 

The latest issue now is that when it is phonics time, dinky will hide under the table. Today, they got the deputy as dinky refused to come out, and she still won’t sit properly for carpet time. She couldn’t at the old school either. I think she really struggles with it, but I do not know what the problem is. She tells me she just wants to be on her own.

We actually went to the park today, but only for a short time.

She walked home nicely but started getting over the top once we got in, so she is watching Netflix.

Let’s see how we get on tomorrow with the lady from integrated services.

 

 

First day back after may half term

It never bodes well when I find dinky in my bed. Even less so to find her grinning at her galaxy tab watching Netflix at midnight.

I start to wonder if she actually slept in her own bed last night.

She asks me to hug her tight to keep her safe from dinosaurs. I tell her she is a lucky girl, that dinosaurs died lots and lots of years ago, there are no more left and that means that she couldn’t possibly be eaten by a dinosaur. However I still hug her tight as she doesn’t often ask for hugs, I ask and she climbs on my lap and digs her chin into my shoulder or chest while her arms lay at her side. It was amusing when she was very little as I would hold her and rub or pat her back while having a cuddle, and she would do the same to me. She did the same to anyone else while having a cuddle and still does it, if it is not a ‘sit-down-in-a-chair-hug’.

I was enjoying the hug but she said I was squishing her so I left it. She asked more questions about dinosaurs, especially meat eating dinosaurs. She has a new fascination with the bbc documentaries walking with dinosaurs. To be fair the ‘big Al’ one only got boring after the 5th time of watching it.

Dinky went to bed quite quickly, I on the other hand couldn’t sleep with all the teeth grinding. She seemed fast asleep, until I tried to leave the bed.

In the morning she was watching the land before time.
It finished at 7am so I let her have until then before getting ready for school. I put her breakfast and bowl on the side. I am not allowed to do anymore than this otherwise she wont eat it.

(Did I mention that she has more rules in this house than I do?)

I need to keep her clam as she is already on edge, and after yesterday I now have 5 bruises that were red bite marks the day before. I do not relish a repeat performance!

I go to get myself ready while she eats. When I come back she has written a note (even though she started forming letters at 3 years of age her writing is awful)

‘fromeyrs

to***** (she spells my name correctly)

iamfrom

ayblfront

wlwd

ilicyro

Howmitsluvly’

translated-

‘from earth (I think she ran out of space at the bottom of the A4 page)

To *****

I am from another world

I like your home

its lovely’

This is the child who wouldn’t write her name on the front page of the 20 individual characters I managed to get out of her for her homework over the past week. Yet will write to get out of making her breakfast and eating it! Typical!

I thank her for her letter and try to get her to make breakfast. After that it was another battle for her to get dressed. I grabbed her uniform, but the trousers I picked up were the ones she doesn’t like, the t-shirt didn’t have the school logo on, the jumper was acceptable. So we changed the uniform. However Dinky wanted to make a card for her teacher. I reminded her that we were now running late. She doesn’t like being late. So she got dressed. It was time to go, so she picked up 4 toys. I told her she was only allowed to take Simba. So she picked up her little Simba, then ran upstairs. She came back down with her large Simba (1 foot long and half a foot tall). I tell her that her teacher wouldn’t like her to bring the large one. This results in me being called stupid and weird. I get head butted and punched. DAMN IT!!! I manage to get the Simba off her, she grabs her drinks bottle which she launches at me. I barely get out the way in time, then it smashed on the floor. We didn’t have time for this. Dinky got even more angry.

IMAG0682

 

She stormed down the stairs and out of the front door and down the street. I grabbed my keys and ran after her. She was walking head butting my hip and humming down the road. I know better than to talk to her when she is like this.

She finally talks to me to tell me her feet are burning and she cant walk anymore. She shouts at me for not getting the bus. She tells me I am stupid.

When we get to school Dinky has a personality shift. She is all happy and bubbly. We sit at the activity table. She has to do writing, on the table are bunches of flowers, she has to colour the petals on the paper and write some descriptive words. The only thing she does do at school that she does at home is avoid demands. She coloured the petals, and wrote prpl (purple). I asked her what else she could think of, she said she didn’t know what else and was on edge so I didn’t push.

I read her a book and left.

I went to the office to let them know about dinky’s paediatrician appointment (they have to photocopy the letter before they authorise the time off), and to either talk to the senco or give her the letter along with the speech and language report. Wonders will never cease.. I actually managed to speak to the senco face to face! I gave her the report, she agreed to refer Dinky to the school team and even said she would get Dinky into the speech and language group at the school while we wait for the referral! She said it was good tat we have the paediatrician appointment. She seemed so much nicer than the first time I met her.

I am getting rather fed up with the school in general. Again I am told “she has been a good girl”. I hate this sentence. I hate it because I don’t know if it is truly accurate. Her contact book wasn’t done… yet again!

Dinky wanted to go to the park, I had no reason to object so we went. She did ok.

On the way home she was ok.

At home I let her watch Netflix and spin in circles for a while.

Now she is in her room… She isn’t asleep, but she is quiet and she is happy.

I am tired. I am trying to decide whether or not to go to my keyworking session tomorrow. My key worker is lovely, but I was sent there to socialise. I have nothing to say to the other people there. At the moment my life is taken up with Dinky and my battle to get her the right support. There are no goals for us to aim for in the key work sessions. The only thing I would be remotely interested in runs after school. The problem is I cant, at present, find a childminder who will take dinky with her current behavioural issues. They cant give her the care she needs after school as they have too many children.

I just don’t see the point anymore.

I’m fingers crossing for tomorrow! Hopefully it will be a better day!

The CAF confusion

The CAF (Common assessment framework) was set up by Dinky’s old school, when we were homeless. Needless to say it is a little outdated now.

I see the fall out of my rash decision making, regarding the TAC (team around the child). We were supposed to have a TAC the week Dinky left her old school. However due to the comments made by the head teacher, I felt the school just wanted Dinky out, and that there was no point holding the meeting as I would just get angry and that wouldn’t help anyone.

This has no been the case though. It may have helped the current situation.

We cant have a family link worker because Dinky’s new school is an academy, we have no lead professional as the senco of the previous school who created the CAF is no longer our LP. I don’t want the new school senco as our LP as she is useless and I don’t think she is really fighting our corner. I need someone who will stick up for dinky, make her the priority. I don’t see the senco doing that, it will be about the schools funding and all communication deficiencies will be blamed, perhaps on the weather or something just as laughable.

The new senco gave me the number of the person named on our CAF paperwork for me to contact (god forbid she do some work herself!). I found it very difficult to get hold of the woman. Then I got a call back from a helpful, if not a little bad tempered person from CAP (Children’s access point). She said it was a shame we couldn’t access the family link worker service. It was due to the school being an academy and not buying into the service.

It did make me think of the new play equipment in the school playground. 

Anyway, there is another service which will accessible until Dinky is 10, the family resource team. I just had to pop down to the children and families centre to find out more.

It was there I met a helpful person. These are far and few between when it comes to accessing things. I asked for the family resource team, when I was asked why I wanted to contact them I told the lovely lady that we needed something other than the family link worker service and explained the situation. she was really nice and told me to leave it with her.

That was yesterday.

Today I got a call from the woman at integrated services! I had been trying to reach her for a couple of days to discuss the CAF.

She was actually quite nice. It is hard to say what integrated services are. They are not social services, and they are not NHS like CAMHS. I guess they are one of these new departments from within the county council.

Anyway, we spoke on the phone and I told her that at the moment we are just being left hanging. We have an open CAF with outdated information, no lead professional, no family link worker service available and a referral to the child development centre. Basically moving to this new school has been a nightmare and everything we had been putting in place has been stopped or held back by the new school.
To be honest it kind of made me angry at just how useless this new school are. Apart from the head teacher I don’t think I will ever knock the old school again in terms of what they did or didn’t do for Dinky. At least the senco there was nice enough to put me at ease and make me feel lie I could approach her. This senco makes out that any work I create for her is above and beyond for her.

At the end of the call the woman said it might just be easier if she comes out to the house and meets me face to face. So we have arranged it for Thursday at 1pm. I’m hoping she uses the time to get some things set up so she can give me more information. I think she might take on lead professional until a more suitable lead is found. If it wasn’t for the fact it was called lead ‘professional’ I would have said I would hold the meeting myself.

Now we just have to wait until Thursday for more information.

I just want to add that from writing this it may not seem clear as to why I am trying to get outside services in.

My reasons are as follows (from inside the head of a crazy person I might add!)

  • It is always good to open up and let professionals see I have nothing to hide. I will let them see my mediocre but not poor parenting skills (I don’t know how that happened, I have 2 of the most incapable parents ever but seem to do ok with Dinky… most of the time)
  • it gives me more backing when it comes to Dinky’s behaviour. I’m not a neurotic mother (well not in that way 😉 )
  • I will have more professionals to back my claim that Dinky meets the criteria for PDA (hopefully)
  • it gives me a safety net, if I’m struggling it wont impact on her as much as she will have other input.
  • Being a single parent is hard. Being a single parent with mental health issues is harder. Being a single parent with mental health issues and a child with suspected PDA = bloody nightmare!
  • Lastly, it gives me some indication of what is normal and not. Like I said I had 2 awful parents, I don’t want to be an awful parent to Dinky. She didn’t ask to be born, so it is my duty to bring her up the best way I can. However apart from the big no no’s I don’t really have anything to go on for what is acceptable and not. Such as… I found out during the CAF form filling that it is wholly acceptable and normal to want to get away from your child at times and send them of to play on their own. I felt bad for not wanting to spend every minute of her time at home with her especially during the school holidays. Turns out it is not abnormal at all.

I do have a slight confession… while I am fighting for services to do with Dinky, I have blown off my services.

L is really nice, but she doesn’t know what to do about the CMHT,  she cant actually help, and the idea of having to socialise with a bunch of people who are also struggling doesn’t fill me with a deep sense of joy.

I need some space.

Dinky has been really off  the past 2 days after school. I know yesterday was the substitute teacher, but today she was just as off. We went into town to get her furby party rocker and she picked fights with me by over exaggerating everything. She needed to blow off steam so hit me. I had hoped the idea of getting her party rocker might have calmed her but it only made her worse. I said we could get it another day but that was even worse.

It is really hard to see her like that.

Tomorrow is swimming, hopefully that will be ok. If she kicks off at swimming I will have to seriously reconsider the zoo trip on Sunday….