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Understanding Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome in Children, A Guide for Parents, Teacher and Other Professionals
Book review by Beverley Paine
I began reading Understanding Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome in Children, A Guide for Parents, Teacher and Other Professionals last week and immediately was uncomfortable with the tone, although this resolved the further through the book I read, which is something I anticipated would happen. Sometimes it takes a while for me to slip into how an author presents information. Years ago I would have put down the book, even though I wanted to read it, coming up with the excuse that the book wasn't meant for people like me.
And, having finished reading it, this book still seems to fit that category. There are a couple of paragraphs about home education as an option for families with children who can be described as having Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). So while this book is useful for gaining an understanding of PDA in children, it is still very much focused on working with children in the context of the school environment. And success in that endeavour appears to hinge heavily on one-to-one support. Luckily for home educating families, that support is available. Although, as the book points out, adults supporting children with PDA require support too, particularly before PDA is recognised and accommodations are made.
Overcoming my initial objections I found the information in the book useful, both personally (reviewing my life as a home educating parent and grandparent), and someone generally interested in education. I recognised many of the strategies developed for use in classrooms as similar to the ones I had developed over time to help meet the learning differences of my children. By experimenting, tossing out methods and ideas that didn't work and trying new ones, I'd honed a way of thinking and being around my children and their learning that worked. By and large it closely resembled unschooling or self-directed learning, and that's what comes across in this book as a major theme. Although, of course, in a classroom there are limitations to how far a child can be involved in determining the content, direction and pacing of their learning.
Because it is written mainly for people with a stake in the school system, this book has limited value for home educating families. There are some good tips and ideas in it that can be adapted to the home learning environment. The next book on my list to read is The Explosive Child.
There is an Australian PDA support group that has members who are home educating their children, and the group has a resource website. Also consider joining the international home educating PDA group.
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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