Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ho hum and avoiding demands

September 26th, that last post was dated. Over a week since, and what's been happening in the meantime? Well, little bits of nothing here and there really. Barney has taken to being home like anyone who's hated his work for the past ten years or so would. He makes meals; he ferries us here and there; he sweeps up. The other day I realised he'd cleaned the kettle. I didn't even know kettles were meant to be cleaned.

At work, we assessed a young man with PDA for a place on the course. What do you mean you've never heard of it? It stands for Pathological Demand Avoidance. One careers advisor described it as being 'an awkward so and so'. It's related to autism and Asperger's, but unfortunately doesn't respond to the techniques that usually work with young people with those conditions. (I questioned him closely about how we could help but didn't get much information. If there's anyone out there knows anything about teaching students with PDA...help!)

I don't really know what to make of this...how far can we go giving names to collections of symptoms that are only collectively experienced by a very small number of people? And PDA is really pretty rare. On the other hand, if this young man and his family experience real difficulties because of these symptoms, and if there are ways of enabling him to learn despite them, then we should make whatever allowances are possible and reasonable to accommodate him.

I think the problem that might arise with this situation is that the allowances we'll have to make will mean him maybe not having to do stuff which other students are already doing very reluctantly anyway. We could end up with a whole class of them claiming PDA and telling us how difficult they find the demands of life's routines and rules. I think I might have a touch of it myself.

11 comments:

SpiralSkies said...

Ok, so this is really mean of me but how is it possible to assess whether someone has PDA or similar and actually isn't just an awkward bugger?

It's not that I'm unsympathetic to people with specific needs/disabilities. But, years ago, they'd have to had just go on with it somehow.

Oh dear, that really does sound awful but I don't mean it so harshly. I just wonder how far society will go to accommodate these tiny pockets of differentness?

Hmmmmm. I sound like a right cow now.

Honeysuckle said...

Not a right cow at all - I know just what you mean, and I think we should just give extra help to whoever needs it whether they've got a diagnosis or a name for their condition or not.
At what stage does something become a syndrome tho'? When there's more than one person with the same symptoms? Is two enough? Or three? I don't really know how these things work...

Penny said...

I have never heard of this particular set of initials! But that doesn't mean the syndrome doesn't exist, of course...

One theory is that everyone, but everyone, has some interest, some abiding passion. It could be anything from marshmallows to motorbikes! The difficult trick is somehow to get alongside, discover what it is and put it to educational use.... best of luck...

Casdok said...

I think we all have a touch of this, dont we? Im sure we all have half a dozen syndromes!!

So all i can say is good luck!!

Honeysuckle said...

Penny - hi. No, I'd never heard of it tho' I'm sure every combination of intials indicates some disorder or another. I try to work to their strengths - tiring tho' isn't it when everyone in class has a different interest?

Hi Casdok - yes, definitely something we all have a touch of. I'm really not at all good with routines. And as for rules...

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