This is my favourite time of year - when The Speech Tree elves get to surprise all of our young people with an end of year gift to thank them for all they bring to our Speech Tree fam! I can't believe we are getting ready for final sessions for the year! Nuts! 🗨️🌳🎅 ... See MoreSee Less
💡 For everyone coming to see us today, our power is off due to works down the road. Consequently, our phone also isn't working. Please leave a voicemail or send an email and we'll get back to you with a phone call from a private number. ... See MoreSee Less
🌟✨🏆 Today, the Speech Tree Wizard Cup swept the clinic up in a world of magic and imagination! 🏆✨🌟
What an enchanting day it has been, with competitions that left us spellbound! Potions were brewed, Occlumency was mastered, and the Care of Magical Creatures had us all in awe. We embarked on a gastronomic journey with Wizard Delicacies from around the world and delved deep into the realm of Wizard Ethics. And, of course, the Charms competition left us all a bit dazed and bewildered (could have something to do the Confundus charm some young people were throwing around)! 💫
But the true magic of the day was the spirit of our incredible young witches and wizards, who embodied the core values of their respective houses. A resounding cheer for the winners of this year's House Cup, the Snake Fang house! 🐍🏆 Their display of creativity, cunning, bravery, and kindness was nothing short of spectacular. 🌟💚
🥄 Pathological Demand Avoidance and Spoon Theory 🥄
Today, a clinician I mentor asked me my thoughts about Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). As an Autistic and ADHD individual, I've often found myself grappling with varying levels of demand avoidance. As I was answering her question I found myself stumbling upon a bit of a realisation.
Pathological Demand Avoidance, for those unfamiliar, is a term used to describe a pattern of behaviour where individuals consistently resist and avoid demands and requests (this can be in quite extreme ways). But here's what's been swirling in my mind and I will refer to my own experience as I don’t have enough information yet on the experience of others: Could my demand avoidance be a result of being chronically in spoon deficit? Could my reactions and responses be a stress response to having a demand placed on me (by myself or others) that I know I have nowhere near the required spoons to complete?
🥄 For those who may not have come across spoon theory before, it's a metaphor often used by individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities to explain the finite amount of energy they have to tackle daily tasks. The idea is that we start each day with a limited number of "spoons," and every activity or demand consumes some of those precious spoons.
Now, let's consider how this relates to demand avoidance. Is it possible that what we call a pathological avoidance of demands could actually be a manifestation of chronic spoon deficit? Could it be that some of us with neurodivergent brains, like myself, expend so many spoons simply trying to navigate the demands of a neurotypical world that we are constantly short on spoons? As a result we become so burnout, and unable to deal with what others might consider ‘basic’ or ‘simple’ demands and that this triggers a stress/trauma response as we ‘fail to meet expectations’, yet again?
What are your thoughts on this intersection of demand avoidance and spoon theory? Let's open up a dialogue and continue to learn from one another.
EDIT: A very kind Speech Tree friend has explained that this may be more true of people who experience demand avoidance, but not PDA as PDA is pervasive and impacts even when the spoons are plentiful! Thanks for learning with me friends!
From my family data pool it’s absolutely a contributing factor. Having individuals with neurodiversity AND chronic illness in the house, it really is a difficult balance and often we’re sweating the small stuff because there’s just no power left in the battery. We have to prioritize and pick our battles to match our spoons. It’s hard when none of us ever start the day with the same amount of spoons and sometimes some of us are giving the spoons we do have to help the others.
It’s a really interesting conversation.
Definitely everything you say resonates with myself and those I care for!
Yes this makes total sense to me too. I’ve learnt to compartmentalise very well, and although I’ve never heard of this reference to spoons, I’ve learnt to only allow the allocated spoons from each compartment, so to speak, be accessible at those times. This ensuring there is still some spoons where needed. That probably doesn’t make sense 😂 but it does to me and this is how I’ve been teaching mr 13yr old ADHD to help get through the day/week. Now having this spoon reference I think it will help with more of a visualisation reference to help him. Brilliant Frances 🤩
A fascinating discussion Frances... usually l've heard discussion around cups, not spoons ( or even sporks!). Great visual cues for consideration.
The note re the energy required for choice making and suggestion of offering a safe activity as an entree really makes sense too.
I definitely find a correlation between demand avoidance & demands. Whenever we enrol in school for example even when it’s child Led & well supported I find it always costs us something somewhere else. All of a sudden activities they enjoyed are now demand avoiding. It’s a very fine balance 😣
I absolutely think you’re on the money!!
Kids (and people in general) do well when they can. ( thanks Dr Ross Greene) We want to do ‘the right thing’ to meet expectations, to complete the tasks that we need to in order to meet our needs.
When children are ‘refusing’ demonstrating challenging behaviours, have a diagnosis of PDA or conduct disorder it is because they don’t have capacity, due to either lacking a required skill, burn out etc aka they are often out of spoons.
Have you heard of spork theory? It’s kind of a joke but it also interestingly tallies. Spork theory suggests that, even when critically low on spoons, you can often find the energy to do something for someone else, when that action is going in to bat for someone, particularly combatively (the joke going - congratulations, you’ve found your sporks! They’re like spoons only more stabby!). This resonates strongly with me.
I mention this to see whether others find that demand avoidance diminishes when the demand is on behalf of another, as a ‘champion’ vs self-related activities.
100% there could be a connection.
The dx of PDA has always been a difficult one for me to "get". Avoidant behaviours are ever present for me and my family. So I have tried to understand PDA. I've listened to and read of people's lived experience, but I continue to find it a slippery one for me to come to terms with. Partly it's because of my own experience of the variability and the complexity (environmental, medical, emotional, cognitive etc) of factors that can overlap in neurodiverse people. This includes both children and older people. I think I'm saying looking more at the likely reasons for the Avoidance Behaviour may be wide and varied in one person eg. not enough spoons, anxiety, past trauma associations, sensory related issues, difficulty shifting perspective, relationships with specific people and patterns or habits in responding. So maybe I'm stuck in the pattern (hmmm 🤔) of looking at likely causality and can't grasp the big picture.
Thanks for sharing Frances Brennan and I am so interested to hear other people's experiences as I'm still trying to understand.
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⚠️Trigger warning: this article describes and contains footage of unlawful physical restraint of autistic young people⚠️
THIS is why I advocate for and educate parents about what neurodiverse affirming care looks and feels like. Unfortunately we can't assume that health professionals are doing the right thing. ... See MoreSee Less
I feel sick. For years they were the service everyone talked about. I just can’t wrap my head around this abuse
This is sickening. I cannot imagine the terror the child felt as the adults who are meant to care for him, abused him. When "therapists" focus only on exterminating behaviours, the humanity of the child is just not on their radar.
This upset me so much - how utterly heart wrenching
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