27 words for ‘stuck’
I’ve started on my PhD, and the first item on the agenda was to write a literature review. I thought that would be quite straightforward as there is virtually no research literature on autistic inertia so far. It has turned out to be a little more complicated.
Because of the lack of research specifically in this area, I have to outline the (rather large) hole I want to begin to fill, and justify why I think this is even an issue. So I went looking for anything to do with autism or related conditions and difficulty with doing stuff. In my travels, I have found the following terms for ‘failure to do stuff’.
Terms used by (or about) the general population (i.e. those without a diagnosis of anything non-standard about their brain):
- Lack of motivation
- Analysis paralysis
Terms associated with psychiatric conditions:
Terms associated with neurodevelopmental conditions
- Executive dysfunction
- Learned helplessness
- Oppositional defiance
- Pathological demand avoidance
- Prompt dependence
Terms associated with neurological disorders:
- Auto-activation deficit
- Impaired mental self-activation
- Endogenous-evoked initiation impairment
- Initiative deficit
And then there’s what autistic people often call it:
As long as every researcher for every condition calls it a different thing, we are doomed to make little progress in working out to what extent these conditions are the same or different, what mechanisms may underlie them, and what we might do to help those who struggle with them.
Pingback: The Initiative Triad – Autistic Inertia
I tagged you in a post on Twitter, but I figured I’d ask more here.
The way you describe it, “autistic inertia” might be kind of an umbrella term for all of these other words as they relate to autistics? I definitely have issues with initiating tasks, but also with other people telling me what to do, etc., and I’ve found a bit of a home within the PDA community. I’m actually reading Sally Cat’s book called PDA by PDAers right now to try and understand myself and my resistance to doing things a little better.
Have you thought much about the difference between autistic inertia and PDA? Do you feel that PDA is under the umbrella of autistic inertia?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
I have thought about it a bit, but I don’t think I know enough about PDA to get to any conclusions. I do know one person who has a lot of both PDA and catatonia, so when she experiences any demand, she freezes. I also know someone who is very avoidant and has just started to identify with internalising PDA. He gets motor-stuck less than I do, but will actually avoid things all the way past an important deadline, which I won’t.
The other thing that confuses me is that PDA seems so very active – the profile I’ve heard of anyway (in children) often involves a lot of fighting, screaming, melting down, and other very energetic processes that seem very unlike inertia.
So I guess I can see why PDA might make people get stuck (in response to demands), but I don’t think that’s the main/only characteristic of PDA, so I wouldn’t consider it a ‘type of’ inertia – more like an intersecting phenomenon.
Does that make sense? Do tell me where I’m wrong.