Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Reward charts just do not work on Pathological Demand Avoidance

I have said enough times that school are trying,  I mean really trying.  They have tried all sorts from sticker chart on deputy heads door (Duck just refused to put a sticker up most days)  to some morning play therapy type thing with senco and all sorts of promises of guinea pig clubs, jobs and basic bribery.  The lastet attempt, to me appears somewhat futile and whilst I am really pushing it with Duck I just fail to get too excited.  They are trying a new tick chart. Teacher has put a lot of effort to make it right for Duck. Its a 1 Direction chart,  printed in PINK. Duck loves it (to look at). The rule is, every day she goes in well, she gains a tick. Each tick gives her 5 minutes free choice, golden time with one friend on a Friday afternoon.  Sounds brilliant.  I have used reward charts of various forms to their death. As yet, I have never found anything that works for more than a couple of days.

Extract from The Times 20 December 2011 - For most children the demand avoidance phase will pass, or can be greatly improved through strategies such as rewards and sanctions (sticker charts, time out or a naughty step), reasoning, praise for good behaviour, peer pressure and routine. But these techniques do not work for children with PDA. To read this in full, click HERE

Extract from another PDA blog - Rewards, consequences, sticker charts and so on have not been successful. To read this in full, click HERE
You can search for hours, but you will find out that reward charts DO NOT WORK on a PDA child.
I have been told many times they do work and its my parenting that's the problem. Which is fine. That means that the school one will work, wont it? Because, lets face it, I have been getting it wrong for years and the school are going to do it differently, so their way will work their way must be right. Its simple. Honest.
So, yesterday, teacher called me and explained the new chart. She asked me to 'get behind it' to motivate Duck. Which I did. I ran through it last night with her, and pointed out how much fun she could have on a Friday with a friend, and how exciting it was that school are doing all this to help her. She was excited and very happy discussing it.
So she got up this morning. She was very sulky about going to school, although not as bad as she can be. I reminded her of the school chart and asked which friend she was going to invite (staying positive here) she said she did not know. We got to school, into the office and suddenly, Duck froze. I reminded of  'Golden Time' and her reward chart. The receptionist even joined in and said she had heard about that. However, Duck shrugged her shoulders and said 'I don't care'. I had to push her into the office and through the security door, peel her hands off the handle she was clinging onto and fight to close the door. Amongst wails of 'No mummy, No!' Ok so she has had worse days, and today is just day one. I guess it could get better. The reward chart could work. Couldn't it??

PS....please accept my apologies if anybody thinks I am being cynical or negative. I would love nothing more than to be proved wrong and a perfectly planned sticker chart to be the solution to all of Ducks behaviours. But I have to face the truth. Duck is not 'normal' in the context that most people use. She probably never will be. We, as parents have accepted that, and love her as she is. Its a shame other people cant see past the reward charts.

PDA is a type of autism which is consistently under recognised within the NHS. It is a post code lottery which is recognised just 7 miles from us, yet not here. We believe our daughter suffers from this kind of autism, but we have been unable to get a diagnosis as yet. PDA children do not display all the classic signs of autism so often go un diagnosed or misdiagnosed. There is a petition at the top of my page to help resolve this postcode lottery.  Please help us to change this situation. There are hundreds of children, teenagers and adults with this condition but they don't get any support because of the poor services of the NHS.

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