Tuesday, 14 May 2019

It must be the parent: why unconscious incompetence is dangerous!

I feel so angry my head could explode! I'm supposed to be off today but I've written a report. A report on a boy who social workers, CAHMS and school feel is 'fine' but I know is not.

I had a call from the social worker who told me that they suspect the parent of making up their child's issues and that he's 'fine in school'. In fact even the head teacher says he's quite 'normal'. Yet the parent talked about her 7 year old wanting to die, having awful melt-downs, not understanding the world etc The boy himself confided in me that he doesn't want to be here in the world and it's just too scary. He has tried to run in front of a car, jump out of  an upstairs window and hold his head under the bath water...he's 7 for Gods sake!!!

The social worker feels that as I'm 'private' the parent has shopped around to find someone who will agree with her and as I'm 'private' I would, because I will have been paid.

I'm not angry that she has, in effect, called me unprofessional, I'm angry because the rest of the people involved don't know what they don't know. George and Miriam, two brilliant parents I know, discuss this as 'unconscious incompetence' which sums it nicely.

The boy has significant language issues which he doesn't want people to know about, he wants to please, to do his best and not be seen as different but the cost of keeping this up, is enormous; so he has to let it out when he's at home, where he can be himself. The toll on his mental health is rising.

This is a phenomenon known as masking which many parents of children with ASD know all to well. However, its not just confined to the autistic population, children with any type of issue may do it. This particular boy needs assessing for ASD but ones with developmental language disorder can also display this.

Please, please let's just listen; listen to the parents who are at their wits end, listen to the child who is struggling, listen to your instinct!


Saturday, 11 May 2019

Practical PDA training

Every week see children who have demand avoidance, some will be very anxious so need to control, others will have PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance). We don't need to get into the debate of whether this exists or not but we do need to understand why children are demand-avoidant, so we can better help them.

We are running an informative and practical training day on Saturday June 15th at Cannock Fire Station 9.30-3.30 where I will go through what PDA is and is not, in the morning, and Rachel Tenacious will deliver a workshop on low-arousal approaches in the afternoon. These approaches work with all anxious children.

This is great CPD for any professional (we are registered UK training providers so you will receive a credible certificate for your CPD file):

Teachers: you will receive information to help you understand children in your school, what it means to have PDA and learn strategies which work for those children

Speech and language Therapists/Educational Psychologists: you will be able to understand sufficiently to be able to assess new clients and then understand how you need to tailor therapy in order for it to work.

Parents: When we understand our children, we can better help them, you will also learn strategies to help at home.

£90 including lunch.

So book today, as spaces are limited to allow for better participation.

www.bookwhen.com/smalltalk

Libby Hill is a multi-award winning speech and language therapist who appeared in Channel 4s Born Naughty. She sees children with PDA from all over the UK and occasionally abroad. She is part of the PDA professional's group and the PDA Research group. She supports PDA action and the PDA Society. She is co-writing a book about Parental Perspectives of PDA

Rachel  Tenacious is a late diagnosed autistic parent with three children aged between 30 and 16. H is her youngest child who was diagnosed with autism at age 9 and selective mutism at 15. She removed H from the education system in 2015 after she had what we now know as an autistic burn-out. The school system didn’t suit H at all but home ed was  amazing. She shares her experience at support groups.