There are a few differences between Autism and PDA. One of them is the difference in preference to change. Both Autistic people and PDA people struggle with transitions and unexpected changes, however, Autistic people have more of a preference for consistency whereas PDA people need a certain amount of change. Many Autistic people prefer to eat the same food, at the same time, in the same room and in the same way. They struggle with many changes. Whilst PDA people also have a preference for sameness, they also have a deep need for change.
The best way I can explain it is that, when things stay the same for too long, it makes me feel ill. I need change. Quite often I will move furniture around, change the food/drinks I consume, change my fashion style, change my hobby etc. I love moving house. I don’t like all the packing and sorting of bills but I do love having a new place to sleep in, a new living room to relax in, a new bathroom to…you know.
I like visiting new places and although I feel comfortable eating in the same cafes, I also love trying new ones, it feels comfortable and refreshing. I’m not sure why change is so desirable for me, it’s like the idea of things always staying the same makes me feel ill on a subconscious level. There’s anxiety around change, of course, but the relief I feel makes the anxiety worthwhile.
I remember as a child, staying at a relative’s house. It was the best night’s sleep I’d had in ages. When things stay the same for too long I start to resist having anything to do with that sameness. If I don’t change things around in the bedroom often enough then I start to feel ill at the thought of going to bed, it’s like the lack of change is making me ill. There’s no other way I can describe it I don’t feel sick but rather, my body feels like it can’t go near the thing that’s the same everyday. If I don’t change my hobbies for a while, no matter how much I enjoy them I feel a deep resistance against doing them. I want to continue playing my fav DS game, but the idea makes something in me feel wrong. It’s one of the reasons why I’m constantly restarting DS games from the beginning (that and the fact that I struggle to remember where I was if I haven’t played for more than a few days). It’s why I love reading new books and will often try new genres for ‘freshness’.
I asked around on some PDA groups about the need for change, there seemed to be many PDA people who felt the same. Rearranging furniture seemed to be a popular one. I know many Autistic people would struggle to adapt to furniture being constantly moved around but for us, it seems necessary for our sanity. This must cause some problems in families where there are both Autistic and PDA people.
It wasn’t too long ago that we moved into the house we are in now. A couple of months ago I had to rearrange the living room, causing some problems with the tv and various electronics we have. It won’t be long before I feel the need to change it again. Luckily the living room needs painting so that will help for a while. Small changes can help stem the desire for change for a little while, but sooner or later a big change is needed.
For PDA people, consistency isn’t always key.