Highly resistant learner

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  • flowersbymo

    I have huge struggles with my 8 year old. He has asd but likely the form called PDA-Pervasive Demand Avoidance. You can read about it here if interested.

    He resists lessons daily due to underlying anxiety. I have tried to make the time obligatory like brushing your teeth. He has many times of enjoyment during lessons but its the struggle of getting him to the learning space that is a daily struggle.


    He has compulsions to control due to anxiety. If I back off and let him move at his own pace it wont happen since he has poor sense of time. He always tries to negotoate out of lessons but it never works to actually get anything done.

    Any thoughts? What would Charlotte do with a student like this?

    PDA Society


    Sorry, not much direct help, but does he have a counselor and/or occupational therapist?

    Often children will respond better when someone else is involved in some way.  That way it isn’t a power struggle between the two of you, it’s helping him gain a needed skill.

    Often it’s all about mindset and figuring out a way to get buy in from him.



    Thanks for posting the link for the PDA society.  There are many traits here that would describe my son, though the “role-playing” not so much — he is 15 now, but I can’t recall him using make-believe to try to avoid things – especially school work and chores – he usually resorts to more plausible things like stomach aches, headaches, etc.  He was diagnosed with ADHD in grade one, but that has never felt quite right.  He started seeing a psychologist for anxiety and depression this summer.  I will mention this to her next week.  He doesn’t act out, but he does withdraw and will tune out the whole world when he is anxious.  There were several other things mentioned that fit as well.

    Having said that, from what I’ve read on the website, and what I’ve experienced myself, you have a difficult road ahead.  At his age, however, rest assure that slow and steady will make progress.

    You mentioned that you have trouble getting him to the learning space.  You may need to consider how to take the learning space to him.  What is your current routine?  Do you read lots of living books and spend time outside together?  What subjects or routines seem to be the most difficult? I am guessing it is seatwork, such as reading and writing.  Is there a time of day when he seems most compliant?




    anything that appears to be a demand or required of him. Its pulling teeth but he does enjoy progress which keeps him moving forward. He is a visual learner so books without that he just sees a long list of words whoch turns him off to books. He has audio processing delay also

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