Saturday, 25 January 2014

24 Hours of bliss

Ducks good mood stayed for the whole evening. (YEAH!!!)
We did have a few sensitive moments, but basically she was good. I asked her to go and have a bath. The reply was a clear 'No' and after asking nicely a few times, I decided to change my tune. So I said 'That's fine, I will run myself one in half and hour'. Needless to say, some 20 minutes later, Duck asked me to run her a bath. Ok, I can deal with that! I added some fragrances designed to be a relaxing combination...Frankincense, Lemon and Ylang Ylang. I have to admit is smelt lovely. Duck jumped straight in, and played for a bit. She called me to do her hair. (Clearly, this is a very good day!)
I dried her hear for her too and let her play for half and hour then told her to go to bed. She kind of moaned about it, said tonight it was the dragons that she was scared of, but, and I really mean BUT, she went to bed. By herself. She even fell asleep before 9.30. Wow! First time in weeks I have not had to fight with her or sit with her. I totally enjoyed the peaceful episode of Waterloo road, with no interruptions.
The good mood stayed right up until drop off at school. There she put on a nice performance for her SENCO. However, a teacher who she doesn't know was also there and got involved, Duck took a liking to her and the teacher said she would meet Duck in the morning and go to her class with her. Duck liked that idea and apparently is going to go in well tomorrow. I will obviously remind her of that when the time comes!!
This evening, Duck was in a very childish and immature mood. She was constantly following me around, I lit some scented candles, she blew them out. She put her coat on as in the picture and was rocking on the lounge floor for ages. She was clingy and whingey but in a way difficult to describe. She took her medicine, reasonably well. However, she was totally refusing to go to bed. She stood halfway up the stairs telling us that the vampires were coming to get her and she wasn't going to bed. She was tapping on the banisters to wind me up, whilst I was sitting in her room waiting for her to stop going on about the bloody vampires. Then when I told her of for tapping the banister she was deliberately making silly noises with her mouth whilst standing right in front of me to wind me up. The longer we went on with no reaction, the louder she got. I have got quite good at ignoring but she didn't stop, it went on for over 10 minutes, her waiting for a reaction, and getting none. So she stopped. Then those two dreaded words. 'I'm bored'. This is probably the most dreaded words in any PDA household. It often leads to trouble, or even worse, meltdown. The mood progressed to stamping feed, and throwing items of clothing at me. Not to mention the telling of what a bad mother I am for not sorting it out. I clearly said I was not discussing anything with her until she was on her bed, she was currently standing outside her room refusing to go in. So the strop started. She progressed to entering her room and picking up her guitar, strumming loudly shouting 'MUMMY...MUMMY' repeatedly. I still ignored her. Until she sat on her bed, at which point I spoke and said I knew she was bored but it was bed time. Duck got confused and said why was I suddenly speaking to her so I replied she had got on her bed as I requested. I don't think she was impressed, but she did put the guitar down, have a strop because her bedding wasn't 100% smooth and then climb into bed. She asked for music on, which I can just about manage as I am sitting here typing, I have no objection to listening to music, indeed, by the end of track 2, Duck was fast asleep. I think we made sleep before 9.30. That's a good day!
I was looking more into PDA today, and the differences between that and Obsessive Defiance Disorder. In all honesty, I could easily put Duck into the ODD category. She ticks all of the boxes.  However, I know a few children with ODD and whilst they all have similar traits and behaviours, Duck differs so much. The main difference between PDA and ODD is the anxiety behind the behaviours. Duck was diagnosed in 2011 with several specific anxieties including Social phobia, separation anxiety and severe generalised anxieties. At the time I was relieved to have a diagnosis, a real problem to work with. But also at the time it didn't quite fit. Lets look at social phobia, she was given this diagnosis because she hated going to school, hated speaking to people she doesn't know, hides behind me, answers questions directly without any exaggeration, hated saying hello or goodbye.
Shortly after a confirmed social phobia, Duck was asked to perform in the church nativity. She was asked to be Mary, a lead role. Duck jumped at the opportunity. She was also asked to perform a solo song. (One of Ducks many talents is singing and all we can do in her current state is hope the screaming she does doesn't damage her voice.) Duck was over the moon. She was meant to have an older child singing the verse, and Duck was to sing the chorus. However, the older child had issues with her microphone, and mid performance, Duck was asked to sing the whole thing solo. Which she did. Perfectly, no problem. Now, take a look at social phobia? It doesn't quite sit right, does it???
Then, lets look at the separation anxiety. Two of the biggest causes of separation issues in children are stress during pregnancy, causing hormone levels to affect the baby and not meeting baby/childs needs (Under 3 years) this means lack of comfort, neglect and lack of bonding amongst other things. Now, anyone who knew Duck back then will tell you she was attached to my hip from birth. She was a real screamer, but that didn't affect the way I/we parented her. She received as much, if not more time than our son did, because she was much more demanding. These are not the only causes of separation, there are more, but non of them fit either. With  separation anxiety, the children fear being left by their main carer as they are concerned the carer wont return or will die in their absence. This means that a child with separation issues, will separate badly at nursery, school, friends, parties, with family or basically anywhere. Duck has never had any problem being left at friends. She will attend sleep overs and yes, occasionally something has upset her, but I have never been called to pick her up and she has always made it through the night. Separation issues would cause me to be called as she wouldn't cope for that long with out me. The mental health nurse who assessed Duck in December last year said if Duck had separation issues, I would have been called out many times at stupid hours of the morning. Duck will go to friends, to parties, she sang at a childs karaoke party, again solo and she goes to brownies, usually happily, although there has been an occasional off day where she  has been reluctant! So Ducks separation issues lie in just one place. School. I don't believe that gives her a tag of Separation Anxiety/Disorder.
I believe she has severe anxieties, panic attacks and total meltdowns as a result of being unable to meet the demands she is having placed on her. School is a big issue here, the demands at school are way above and beyond the demands of any other area of Ducks life.
ODD children don't suffer from anxiety in quite the way Duck does. Yes, all children get anxious at times, but Duck takes anxiety to extreme levels. Duck does not have ODD. Ducks ability to cooperate is affected by her stress levels at that time. It makes her unpredictable and a simple request of put your shoes on please can one day be met with a happy bouncy 'yes ok' to a huge meltdown which is effectively a panic attack. Any adult who suffers from anxiety will have a feel for Duck. But imagine the anxiety being tenfold that of a normal anxiety issue and mix it with a child who cannot always communicate well, who has a huge amount of hormones affecting things and who cannot control themselves as an adult and you have just about experienced Duck on a bad day.

PDA is commonly misdiagnosed as ODD or Separation Anxiety/Disorder (SD). That's because all the symptoms are there from both conditions. The other thing PDA children have, if you are trained to look very closely is what is called 'The triad of impairments of the Autistic Spectrum'. PDA children are very good at mimicking behaviours, so the triad of impairments takes an experienced trained eye to pick it up. (or a mum who lives with the child and has done her research!).
The triad of impairments are;  Impairment of social interaction,  communication impairments and flexibility of thought or behaviour. To be diagnosed with any form of the autistic spectrum, a child must meet all of these points. On the surface, Duck does not meet any of these, well, perhaps the inflexibility of thought. However, when you look deeper, she actually hits them all.  I will go over this in my next blog. :-)

In the mean time, if you have not signed the petition to get PDA diagnosed, please do so.
You can find it by clicking HERE

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