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Just Saying Hello Can Be A Demand Too

PDA can present in unexpected and subtle ways, as well as in more apparent and confronting expressions.

It includes not being able to do things you really want to.

Even things that could be seen as very small demands and expectations.

This evening my sister phoned and had her boys with her in the background (William’s cousins).

William excitedly said “Do the boys want to speak to me?”

I said “Oh hang on I’ll put you all on loud speaker.”

The boys both cheerfully chimed in; “Hi William”.

William froze momentarily before running away and hiding behind the sofa.

I knew what had happened and said “William is smiling boys and wants to say hi back. You all have a lovely evening ….”

I ended the call as quickly as I could without being rude, before going behind the sofa to find William crying.

He looked up at me and said “Mommy I really wanted to say Hi but I just couldn’t, once it was my turn I just couldn’t do it”.

PDA also presents itself in the everyday, taken for granted moments.

It’s not always dramatic incidents or challenging behaviour.

It can also be very quiet and very misunderstood.

PDA can be wanting to connect, but not always being able to.

Sometimes meeting very small demands or expectations can feel too overwhelming, especially when the day is coming to a close and all your demand spoons have been used up.

It is so important that we know PDA is Can’t, not Won’t!

And that not being able to do things such as saying hello when it is expected, is not a sign of rudeness, but a sign of anxiety and flight in the face of an unavoidable demand.

💛

You can also find more information and a really welcoming community over on our Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/ChangingTheNarrativeAboutAutismAndPDA/

By changingthenarrativeaboutautism

Author: Integrative Counsellor, BSc (Hons) Psychology.

Neurodivergent Mother, passionate about the acceptance and respectful treatment of neurodivergent children and adults.

My personal experience, relationship and connection with my son, provides me with a depth of insight into PDA. Our family's lived experience and love for our son, has driven me to research and write about PDA.

In addition to this lived experience, which I am very gradually making sense of, my professional background supports my ability to critically reflect and make sense of some of the strengths and difficulties we face.

My career started in 1999, when I graduated with a 2:1 BSc Hons Psychology degree. As a graduate I worked in a residential care setting for Adults with Autism and Learning Disabilities. I went onto complete a further three years Integrative Counselling training and then later; two years clinical psychology training. My clinical experience includes working for the NHS, Action for Children and Relate:

For the NHS, I worked in a University Hospital Psychology and Counselling service, a Community Mental Health Team, a Parenting Team and a Community Neuro Rehabilitation Team.

For Action for Children, I worked in a Leaving Care Team, and in a residential care setting for Looked After Children.

For Relate, I worked in the young people's service providing therapy to children facing a range of difficulties from trauma, loss and separation to depression, anxiety and self-harm.

I first developed my interest in Neuroscience as an undergraduate. I connected more fully with this during my time working as a trainee alongside a very inspiring Neuropsychologist in a Community Neuro Rehabilitation team. My passion for neuroscience became even more valuable to me, when I became a parent.

The Polyvagal Theory, in particular, has been central in helping me to develop a deeper understanding of PDA.

This led me to hypothesise and write about the relationship between neuroception and PDA in my article “Highly Sensitive Neuroception May Be at The Heart of PDA”.

I hope you find this site helpful and I thank you for your participation and feedback.

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