School of learning (social skills)
Since Polar bear is the only boy currently in school I only have experience of what school has been like for him. We’ve moved around a lot which has meant he’s gone to four different schools over the years, something which has thrown up some surprising results.
For those with experience of PDA kids, you’ll know what the school experience is like for PDA’s.
There’s masking, where the child will ‘behave’ and hold everything in until they get home, culminating in a massive release once there. This blog explains it well: https://blogs.shu.ac.uk/autism/2014/11/18/good-behaviour-at-school-not-so-good-at-home/?doing_wp_cron=1461948979.9135370254516601562500
There’s anxiety, which makes kids too scared to go to school even if they want to.
There are the social difficulties, difficulties understanding instructions, not recognising authority figures such as teachers, wanting to role play as teacher to feel safe.
There’s sensory issues which can make it difficult to cope and may make the child seem like they are misbehaving when they are not.
The lack of structure of playtimes and changes to routine around holidays such as Christmas.
School trips, plays, events.
All this before you add in any struggles with certain subjects and other diagnosis which may impact school.
Polar bear has experienced most of these. He’s masked at school and released at home. Masked at home and released at school. Been unable to mask at all and is currently managing in both settings now (thanks to his brilliant latest school). He’s struggled with sensory problems and getting distracted by noise and other students. He has and still struggles with playtimes and change to routine. Transitions have always been hard. One of his biggest problem areas are the social aspects of school. Academically, Polar bear is way above his peers, he occasionally teaches the teachers on some subjects. He loves school and wants everybody to be his friend, he just struggles to keep friends, especially after they witness one of his meltdowns.
At the moment he’s doing alright. He has some good friends who seem quite understanding of his ‘ways’. Of course there are some kids who aren’t as understanding but at the moment Polar bear is managing to get along okay without too many troubles. Hopefully his social skills will continue to improve and he will have some close friends throughout the rest of his life. As long as he’s happy then that’s all that matters.