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Strategies and PDA

November 26, 2019

Strategies (cringe and screw up face) and PDA.

I’ve been chatting with a few fellow PDAers about this one, as I do like to explore whether others join me in my discomfort around certain words or issues, or whether I'm just being a bit of a toss.

'Cause sometimes I am.

A toss.

Anyway, here's a word I hate..


It feels a bit dishonest and manipulative to me (actually, very much so).

Strategies are.. a trick.

It’s when we present something at surface level as one thing, but underneath it’s really something else.

And let's be real, it's a very common word in the language of the raising children world, particularly the autism world, and especially, the PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) world.

The challenge presented here though with PDAers is that we are triggered by dishonesty, lack of transparency, indirectness, inauthenticity or as I've shared before..

"The..bullshit of life".

We sniff that stuff out, dishonesty, lack of authenticity, and when we see it and know it, it disconnects us instantly.

And then, parents, educators, carers, professionals lose out big time in terms of our trust and our willingness to even spend time in your presence again.

Dishonest will completely shut us down.

We come to learn very quickly that those adults around us are always seeking ways to get around us, our behaviour and to work us out and as a PDAer, it’s a very real threat for us.

Which is why we spend so much time following you around, listening in on your phone calls, interrupting your conversations with others, shadowing you, asking a myriad of questions as children.

We’re just checking in for an honesty and transparency check.

An insurance of our safety.

So whenever a person asks me "Do you have any strategies for..."

I know it will almost always be followed by a desired outcome, controlled by a person who is not the child.

In other words, a demand.

"Do you have any strategies to get a child to attend school, brush their teeth, take a shower, stop swearing..?"

And why, yes. Yes, I do.

The number one strategy that is most helpful is...

Drum roll...


Strategies tend to overlook challenges, dismiss needs, deny origins of trauma or triggers.

Strategies are what we use in business, or in games.

I don't use strategies with human beings.

PDAers will see straight through that, and in turn, we will further stretch and fray that very fragile and thin thread that connects us to the PDAer who has already suffered enough trauma and betrayal.

And yes, this is how it's received by the PDAer.


We use honesty, transparency, trust based language.

We connect, we engage, we respect, we accept.

We use language that is less threatening and we make friends with the PDA neurology by learning about it.

By understanding the PDAer is at the whim of the self preserving neurobiological process of their neurotype.

We support.

We explore.

We love.

And, there's nothing strategic or calculated about that.
Kristy Forbes
inTune Pathways


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