We can’t avoid all Demands

I’ve seen a few comments from parents who have been told by so called professionals that their child cannot have PDA because ‘they cooperate some of the time’. It seems some people believe that PDAers cannot do anything, ever. This shows a basic lack of understanding of what PDA is.

The words ‘struggles’ and ‘difficulties’ are often used when describing the problems PDAers have, especially in regards to Demands. There’s a reason for this, PDA is not an absolute. If anything, PDA is one of the most variable of all conditions. What a person can and cannot do changes so frequently and sometimes with such intensity that it’s foolhardy to say a person cannot have PDA because they have managed to do something, or even many things. This isn’t just about masking, this is about our functioning levels constantly moving, in all settings.

Take a child who is mostly Demand avoidant at school, they will refuse to engage with whatever is placed in front of them, whatever they are asked to do. They will use a range of avoidance tactics to avoid Demands. But every so often, even in amongst Demand refusal, the person may meet a Demand. This is normal. We cannot avoid all Demands, all of the time, it’s impossible. Even if we are just talking about school work, there will be times the PDAer just does the work without any avoidance strategies used. This doesn’t mean the person has ‘recovered’ or never had PDA in the first place, or is just ‘faking it’. It means that for that short amount of time, for whatever reason, that particular Demand wasn’t flagged by the brain as a danger enough for it to be avoided.

For some PDAers, this is a one in a blue moon occurrence. For others, it’s everyday. We’re all different, we all have different levels of anxiety, we all have different ways of dealing with Demands and different ways of avoiding, we all have different levels of ability and different amounts of spoons. So to say that a person cannot have PDA because they sometimes comply, only shows the speakers level of ignorance. And anyone who thinks PDAers cannot do anything at all ever, well, we’d all be dead if that were true, and I can assure you, even when we are avoiding what seems like every Demand in life, we are still breathing!

5 thoughts on “We can’t avoid all Demands”

  1. This is great!…as are all your posts 🙂
    Could you give an opinion? My son (9) is supposed to go on a two night camp with school. It is to a new place, TONS of unknowns, and no downtime/ quiet time. Sleep for him is a great stressor at the best of times. He is feeling completely overwhelmed by the whole scenario, and reading your blog I realise this is likely just the thought of WAY too many demands and a massive shortage of spoons! My gut feeling and that of our psychologist is not to push it. We all think that the overwhelming demands will be incredibly difficult for him plus trying to hold it together in front of his friends. Any opinion would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi, yes that does sound overwhelming. Some people have found that taking the kids for just one of the days but not for the sleepover helps as they still get to join in some activities but avoid the majority of stresses. I don’t know whether that’d be optional for you but maybe worth considering.

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