Although everyone with autism will have some common difficulties, autism affects everyone differently. Below I have written how it affects me.
By Ida Anderson
With PDA I get affected by the most obvious trait, avoiding demands. This is because they make me feel very anxious and under pressure. I use social strategies such as giving excuses, putting things off and saying something that might upset someone just so I don’t have to do the demand.
I also display obsessive behaviour focused on people. My boyfriend thinks I can be a bit controlling but I don’t mean to be, I just am very anxious.
And I mask my autism very well to anyone besides my parents, brother and boyfriend. Everyone else thinks I’m just shy.
One of my social communication difficulties is that I struggle to see things from somebody else’s point of view. This is because I don’t really understand how they will be feeling different from me. For example, if me and my mum are having an argument, I won’t understand why she’s feeling emotions when I am the sad one.
I also find it difficult to talk to new people and even though I can make eye contact, I find it very tiring to do it with them. I only feel fully comfortable making eye contact with people I am close with.
I am very oversensitive to a lot of things, this is called hypersensitive. I can smell smells stronger than other people and a lot of smells I don’t like such as magazines and my dog, sadly enough. I am extremely sensitive with taste and I only like bland foods, such as rice. Anything spicy would really hurt my tongue. And I can’t stand a lot of sounds or noisy places as it hurts my ears and irritates me.
With learning I am very good in some areas, especially visually and with my long-term memory. However, I am really bad at comprehension and inference. And I tend to think in one way and when my mind gets fixated on something it is very hard to change it. This is when the repetitive thoughts come in, as I keep thinking of it over and over again. For example, I wanted to buy a record player and even though I could barely afford it I had to buy it immediately. If I didn’t, I would get very distressed as the thoughts wouldn't go away.
Another thing that affects me is my meltdowns. This only happens when I am in deep distress and everything has become too overwhelming. I also have excessive moods swings and will be fine one minute, then the next minute I will be crying and screaming.
PDA definitely affects me in many ways, but every day I am learning how to cope with it.