There are no ways to sugar coat this message.
If you are a professional about to conduct a visit or assessment on a child or young person with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) then please do your homework first.
Otherwise, as soon as you enter their space, the likelihood is you are going to know about it – and even more chance that you won’t ever forget the visit in a hurry either.
As a parent I could be here all day with anecdotal stories about how my daughter has worked the space like no way you could ever imagine.
She seizes control of the situation, twists and turns your entire being, until you are just about left standing and if she has enjoyed playing with you in the visit then she barricades the door for you to stay longer.
She impulsively changes tactics throughout any visit and underlying it will always be an anxiety need to be in control of a situation that feels unpredictable and uncertain.
She often starts with insults. Then refuses to engage with the activities that are set, swiftly changing to doing them in a comical way or swapping to make the assessor do them instead. You may get a tour of the house or be dragged to see an item of interest – particularly if you could scream seeing a rat.
If you are talking to her parent she is likely to highjack the conversation and terrorise you all further. This could be launching items towards you to stop you talking or something socially unacceptable like unreeling sanitary wear and sticking it to your activities.
She might ask you a few questions so she can store the information and use it back at you later, like “Why does your hair belong in the 90’s?” or “Where do you do YOUR poos, at home, or at work?” Questions that could embarrass you and make you want to end the visit there and then.
Let’s just say expect the unexpected!
So how do you survive and get what you need from the assessment?
Just lay back, relax and enjoy the ride. No reactions are required, take away your agenda and you are more likely to see the skill, mirrored with the needs, of the individual you are there to see.
The insults will soon stop.
The risks might start reducing.
And you may just see in full glory the information you need.