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  • John Murray

PDA Paradox: The Highs and Lows of My Life on a Little-Known Part of the Autism Spectrum

Harry Thompson

4 Reviews

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Coping with disability

A memoir by an adult with PDA, reflecting back on his early childhood through to present day

Diagnosed with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) in his teenage years, Harry Thompson looks back with wit and humour at the ups and downs of family and romantic relationships, school, work and mental health, as well as his teenage struggle with drugs and alcohol.

By embracing neurodiversity and emphasising that autistic people are not flawed human beings, Thompson demonstrates that some merely need to take the "scenic route" in order to flourish and reach their full potential. The memoir brings to life Harry's past experiences and feelings, from his torrid time at school to the peaceful and meaningful moments when he is alone with a book, writing or creating YouTube videos.

Eloquent and insightful, The PDA Paradox will bring readers to shock, laughter and tears through its overwhelming honesty. It is a turbulent memoir, but it ends with hope and a positive outlook to the future.

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Praise for PDA Paradox: The Highs and Lows of My Life on a Little-Known Part of the Autism Spectrum

  • Being a mum to a teenage PDA son is life-changing, and at times, utterly heart-wrenching experience. Seeing Harry through his own candid, entertaining and diplomatic lens, fills me with hope, quiet optimism, and (most importantly) confidence for my own son's future. Thank you Harry for your insight.

  • As a clinician who has worked with complex young people and adults with Autism throughout my working life, I was delighted to be asked to review this book. I read it in one sitting. It is the most articulate, honest, entertaining (and sometimes funny) book about PDA I have read. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to gain an insight into how this profile impacts upon individuals, their families and those who work with or are involved in their education.

  • In this book Harry has told the fascinating story of his interesting and inspiring life. With great use of humour, grace, and emotion he gives brilliant insight into his Pathological Demand Avoidance, which I'm sure reading it would be helpful to many people.

  • The theme of neuro-diversity runs through this book, with an emphasis on recognizing that people on the autistic spectrum are 'differently wired' rather than somehow 'flawed'... This book is an interesting read and Thompson explains how his own symptoms vary from day to day and, in particular, how anxiety levels can fluctuate and lead to major meltdowns. Thompson is clearly passionate about educating the reader... he has tried to develop an understanding of his 'differences' and how stress can affect his behaviour and interactions. He raises awareness of how family members and schools can be proactive in the management of circumstances and environments and this book gives the reader some insight into his world.

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Harry Thompson

Harry Thompson invented many TV comedy hits such as Have I Got News For You and Da Ali G Show. He was the author of several acclaimed bestsellers, including PETER COOK: A BIOGRAPHY and PENGUINS STOPPED PLAY, as well as a historical novel, THIS THING OF DARKNESS which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He worked as a producer at Talkback TV and in his spare time he ran the infamous cricket team, the Captain Scott XI. Harry Thompson died in 2005.

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