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How do I fix the anxiety in my PDA child?

October 17, 2019


How do I fix the anxiety in my PDA child?

Many parents come to my page and talk about how so many of us with lived experience talk about what causes the anxiety and what drives the ‘behaviour’ in PDA autistic children, but we never address how to fix it.

And therein lies the first step to move beyond.


You see, I understand that experiencing our children in a state of perpetual struggle is devastating.

I understand the trauma that resides within families with children who are PDAers.

You might be surprised to learn that the trauma, the struggle, the devastation is not a result of PDA.

It’s the result of our fight against it.

Autistic people read intentions, motivations, the words unspoken, unexpressed but felt deeply

They feel the resentment, the fears, the pain of others

The desperation

They are consumed by the desperation

Every projection of every internalised emotion, thought, sensation is an energy

It creates an atmosphere that autistic people breathe in, feel, take on

It is all consuming, distracting, smothering, stifling

We PDAers begin to live out our every waking moment in reaction to those energies

Those projections

That atmosphere

Our true expression is compromised

Shut down

By the fears and insecurities of a society not accepting

Not inviting

Not welcoming

Of those of us who challenge

Challenge authority

Challenge conformity

Challenge isms






All the isms

All the phobias

All the injustices

All the social constructs

Cultural constructs


And we, in turn

Are classified




Demand avoidant

But we overlook the word demand ever so conveniently

an insistent and peremptory request, made as of right

ask authoritatively or brusquely

The very thought,

Those very words

cause my spirit to shudder






We feel it to our very core






Without choice



Social balance

Runs deep within

A drive for social change

Courses through our veins

Fish born on dry land

Flapping about

Jumping up and down

Gills frantically pumping

Gasping for air

All the while

Everybody, every system

Stopping us

Preventing us

From reaching the water

And demonstrating the beauty

Of flow

The way we can cohabitate

In an environment meant for all

Instead, we’re left to flap


Writhe about


While others watch on

Attempting to find ways to transform us

Into dry land creatures

Just like they

And those before them

Were conditioned to be

Our behaviour

All the behaviours

The screaming, shouting

The shut downs

The ‘insubordination’

Is us cowering



Even without the demands

Even without the expectations

There are demands


That we will change



The subtraction of the demands

We know

Are temporary

And the hope

The prayers

The desperation

For us to change

To not be who we are

To no longer struggle

Is the ultimate demand

That drives us to the ever present


Extreme anxiety

It is lifelong

A hypersensitive inbuilt alarm system

To protect and guide us

As all else has failed

As all else expects


Exudes fear, insecurity, desperation

Smothering us

Like the warm embrace of a soft blanket

Laced with the pain, trauma, fear

Of our loved ones

Of society

We want you to be happy

We want you to heal

To be at peace

To let go

To accept

To work on yourselves

To live and let live

To not be consumed with the superficial

And the supermundane

Prerequisites of socially acceptable humanity

When you accept yourselves

When you love yourselves

When you focus on yourselves

When you heal yourselves

We will follow.
Kristy Forbes
inTune Pathways
Art: Adrian Myers


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