I recently read an article explaining why PDA isn’t diagnosed, the article basically inferred that PDA doesn’t exist and is just attachment disorder being mislabelled. Amongst the comments at the end of the article was one by an ‘Autistic individual’, this person said, and I quote:
“Not all autistic individuals support PDA.” and “I do not think PDA exists, it is better explained by other labels and it is not needed to access support.”
Aside from the fact that this person is clearly wrong and PDA is not better explained by a mass of ‘sort of fit but doesn’t really explain everything’ labels and that the basis for the article’s judgement of PDA actually being attachment disorder is based on a case where the child did have trauma (having been adopted after experiencing abuse) occur in their life rather than one where no trauma was present so as to further ‘prove’ their opinion (because that’s what it is) that PDA doesn’t exist, my point of this post is the first quote from the ‘Autistic individual’.
“Not all autistic individuals support PDA.”
You would think, after the history of Autism, years of people believing:
‘Autism doesn’t actually exist’
‘Autism is just being an excuse for bad behaviour’
‘Autism is poor parenting’
‘Autism is another name for attachment disorder/schizophrenia/psychosis/sociopathy/bipolar/etc’
‘Autism is a made up condition’
‘Autism is a childhood disorder, it goes away when they get older’
‘Autism isn’t in the DSM/ICD so it doesn’t exist’
You would think, that after everything the Autistic community has gone through to prove Autism does exist that they would be more open to conditions which aren’t yet in the ‘holy bible’ that is the DSM. If this were just the opinion of one lone Autistic individual then I could just ignore it as someone who is rather opinionated and rather ignorant of the condition they state ‘doesn’t exist’. Sadly though, this isn’t the first time I’ve come across this thinking in the Autism community. It’s baffling to me how people can think a group of people with Autistic traits and PDA traits can be better explained by a plethora of ‘other’ conditions. Does it really make sense to these people that ADHD, social disorder, attachment disorder, ODD, emotional dysregulation disorder, bourderline personality disorder, bipolar, etc etc, can be better than the one PDA diagnosis. Can one child really have all those labels and they actually make sense when their parents say the PDA profile ‘fits him to a T’, and yet the PDA label be wrong when all those other labels only explain small parts of the child and don’t quite fit. It doesn’t make any sense. Even if you are averse to the PDA label you can’t really say that a profile which fits so many people , thousands in fact.
I can understand NT’s thinking PDA doesn’t exist, there are still so many who believe Autism and ADHD doesn’t exist and is just an excuse for bad behaviour, but for Autistic individuals to denounce PDA because (insert ridiculous reason), it’s insulting. These are our cousins, and yet they push us away because we don’t fit their idea of what Autism looks like. PDA is the black sheep of the family, the naughty brother who no one wants around. They see the way PDAers act and decide they are nothing like us so they distance themselves from us, despite the obvious Autistic traits present in PDAers.
Every time I think we are getting somewhere in spreading understanding of PDA, every time I see an Autistic person on the side of PDA, I see another Autistic person pushing us back. We should all be standing together, Autistic and PDA, we are fighting for the same cause after all, acceptance and understanding, and yet so many of our brethren are willing to push us away because we don’t fit into their Autistic world. Why aren’t we all standing together. If PDAers were to say Autism doesn’t exist then we would be the first ones to shout them down, so why then are Autistic people being allowed to say PDA doesn’t exist. How can we get society to accept PDA if our own cousins refuse to acknowledge us. It saddens me how some can think this way, it’s not like there isn’t proof PDA exists, so many wouldn’t fit the profile so well if it didn’t exist, so why are we being held back by the very people who should be standing with us.
I hope more and more Autistic people start to stand with us and call for PDA to be recognised. PDA awareness day is just around the corner (15th May), PDAers are already starting to spread awareness of PDA. We are so far behind the Autistic movement that we are still at the stage or raising awareness of PDA, it’ll be a long time before we are actioning to spread acceptance of PDA like Autistics are doing. I hope this year more Autistic people stand with us rather than against us, I hope our cousins can accept us for who we are and help us, because we help them.