And only a day late. Because…PanKwake let me get a good night’s sleep. A great one actually. She only woke me up once…and then for food. Back to that progress that seemed to have slipped away.
Before bed, I ASKED her…please do your best to let Mommy sleep. We have a big tomorrow with your home ed group. And miracles, she did. Well, more accurately she could because she had slept well in her own bed that day…and she did…partly because of the way I asked though.
Which takes us back to a couple of points on the PDA Society website, practical strategies for communicating with your child with Pathological Demand Avoidance (or honestly with any child…or human being). Things that go back to my point about treating your PDA child as YOUR EQUAL…and not your property. Let’s look at them now:
- Voice control
- Indirect praise
- Use indirect commands
- Make them feel useful
- Pretend you don’t know or get it wrong.
Let’s examine those one by one and see how they work out…
The absolute WORST thing you can do is scream at your child. It won’t work. It will just make the situation worst by frightening them.
The best tactic is to speak in a low, calm tone. Almost the same monosyllable that they can sometimes use. Add one more adjective to make it even better…SLOWLY.
The thing is that communication deficiencies is one of the hallmarks of autism…all forms of it. But those with Pathological Demand Avoidance can appear at times almost normal. You may not even realize the difficulties your child is having with receptive language. Until you tell them to do something. It really is essential if you have any hope of doing so that you utilize KISS strategies…Keep It Simple, Silly.
Use indirect commands
Notice that rather than TELLING PanKwake she must give me some sleep, I ASKED and just as importantly to our logical Mr Spocks…I EXPLAINED why.
That is the magical combination…
ASK and EXPLAIN…
Important note…when I say explain, it needs to be personal to them. They cannot relate to…I need some sleep. Even the scientific explanation of the human body requires sleep may only get you so far. But when you tell them WHY it is good for them…we have a big day tomorrow with YOUR home ed friends…then they are most likely to comply.
Make them feel useful
One of my biggest ‘what-ifs’ in life is what PanKwake might have been like had I not miscarried her baby sister. You see there is nothing that motivates my little ‘alien’ princess like playing ‘big sister’.
Her carer has a small niece about three and PanKwake ADORES helping this little girl. Her maturity shoots through the roof. You would think she was ‘normal’ in that situation. Even her carer is astounded at the difference. And meltdowns? No way…because she is needed.
Pretend you don’t know or get it wrong
Oh, this one is brilliant when it comes to home ed. PanKwake may resist giving you an answer if you ask directly, but get something wrong…and she delights in CORRECTING you.
This may seem strange but the reason is simple…SUCCESS is a demand in and of itself. Which leads us to…
This one is a big challenge for me. I am the type of person for whom words of praise just come naturally. Good girl. Thank you. That was great. All of those just slip out of my mouth.
Except for those with Pathological Demand Avoidance success and praise produce anxiety…because they fear that you will then EXPECT it every time.
A couple of times PanKwake has even gone so far as to tear up drawings and worksheets that I praised. That is classical PDA behavior.
Instead Cookie Monster and I talk ABOUT her in her presence. She is doing really well with… Yes, it seems strange to us too but with PDA or anything else in life…
But going back to that success and praise creating anxiety…and yesterday’s blog about bad days…
REMEMBER: Even if you do all this…get it all ‘right’…there will still be times when your child…JUST CANNOT DO IT.
Not will not, not some battle of wills between you and them…
And then it is up to you to remain calm, keep your cool and hold on to those good times…knowing that they too will come again as surely as the bad ones.