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!