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.