PDA: Answers 101

Following on from:

I am Beautiful, I am Powerful, I am Bethany

I am a terminator, I can identify really bad things, expose and attack them, but when it comes to people I am too alien to have anything to contribute to putting something better in their place – except, maybe, this one time I am not?

So let’s give it a go.

From your, fairly normal, point of view PDA is counterintuitive, your reflexes seek safety in numbers, task specific instructions are relaxing.

Not sure how typical of PDA I am, but my reflexes seek safety in solitude, and task specific instructions are threatening (and sometimes bewildering), what I need is full information so I can get stuck in.

Supposing the best answers to PDA are also counterintuitive?

From what little I have seen about approaches to PDA they all seem predicated on high levels of support that are at least long term or probably lifelong, but hang on a minute, isn’t that pushing us against our strengths by battering us with our weaknesses?

Unless we have other problems too there is absolutely no reason to suppose that we are any more morally and intellectually disabled than anyone else. Just because PDA doesn’t make any sense to you it doesn’t follow that we are any closer to crazy than you are.

I am not suggesting turning a load of PDA adolescents loose on the world with their own credit cards – we aren’t any further from crazy than you are either, but what if we started to explore the strengths of people with PDA while using high levels of support as a transitional bridge to greater independence than the norm, rather than less as at present? With all due respect, however well intentioned, and however good a purpose they serve, every carer you impose upon us is also an obstacle between us and functionality, let alone the achievement of our full potential. We even learn better alone – I can’t learn in a classroom at all, because the classroom setting and the teaching *IS* the insurmountable barrier for me.

We can hear you, we can think, we can learn morality and common sense just like anyone else, and are more predisposed to self regulation than most, and we can learn self discipline and the need for it (oh if ONLY someone had taught me that one).

Teaching me self discipline

Someone did manage slip a little of that into my life recently and here is how.

Give me a NEED for self discipline, offer helpful hints, tell me what worked for you, make sure I have access to google and leave me to it, we have strengths, and sometimes we have strengths where you would have weaknesses, and one of those strengths is that we automatically self regulate and self moderate as long as we have a reason to and can find out how.

All we need carers for is, obviously, to protect us from the limitations of childhood, to protect us from our own volatility until we can learn techniques for coping and containing it and to desensitize us to at least a degree of co-operation and interaction with others. Instead of aiming that care toward the negative and disabling goal of lifelong care in the community, why not target lifelong independence as the final goal as soon as we can prove we are ready for it?

Sounds improbable? Ok so try it and prove me wrong, because if I AM wrong I want to be the first to know.