Sharing is caring

I’m a blogging virgin, who has arrived at this point because I have  found more solace and invaluable advice from bloggers like Steph’s two girlsLovePDA, The Learning Curve and PDA Parenting than most professionals I’ve encountered (apart from a handful – you know who you are if you’re reading this!).

As no two PDA’ers are the same; I’m hopeful that I can add something slightly different without diluting the wonderful contribution of others and, if nothing else, raise some much needed awareness about PDA along the way.

I’m wife to a self confessed control freak and mum to two dragons: my 12yr old daughter  (Neurotypical #justsaying) and my 10yr old son, diagnosed ASD with a generous dose of pathological demand avoidance thrown in. Oh, and our beautiful Springador who is a great distraction from the daily grind.

My story, thus far, reads very much like so many PDA journeys I’ve researched to death over the last 12 months (I’m very good at research…..it tricks my brain into thinking I’m doing something worthwhile). I’ve ticked all the boxes from the ‘bad parenting’ box (we ticked that twice actually – just for good measure) to the ‘changing schools’ box and the ‘we can’t help your son because we don’t recognise PDA’ box. Finally, after chasing our tails for three years, and repeatedly ending up in the same spot at the expense of my son and the family, I’m stopping the bus and resolutely disembarking (I’m leaving the baggage on the bus too – the guilt, the frustration and blind faith are of no use to me where I’m heading).

desert-cactus-3535792_1920My son, started refusing school, on and off, around March this year despite all their support and his amazing Learning Support Assistant (LSA) properly carrying the PDA mantle. His anxiety levels increased as the year progressed and his behaviour escalated (meltdowns of violence and self harm). Over the summer break, we went to France for a couple of weeks with friends and we experienced more moments of joy with him in those two weeks than we’ve had in the last year. With the start of the new school year (Y6), he went rapidly downhill again. We told him there was no pressure to go in, but we foolishly didn’t account for that annoying achilles heel of an ‘internal demand’ and the fact that he wants to go in, of course! So, with the view to safeguarding his mental health (he asks to die everyday) and facing the cold, hard truth that none of our collective initiatives have done anything to minimise his pain, our GP has signed him off school on medical grounds until the end of October.

I’ve only just told him…as you can imagine; the timing and the wording was critical. The gist of it involved a) apportioning blame to the doctor (we’re not saying you can’t go to school), b) reassuring him that his valued friendships could be maintained with regular playdates and c) it’s not forever. His reaction was unnervingly vanilla, but it’s early days and only time will tell…which brings me, (eventually!) to the main reason I’m heading off on this blogging journey: To capture and monitor daily life as we take off on this new trajectory, to selfishly offload some of the tougher times and celebrate the wins. With any luck, I can offer some help along the way too.

Writing my first blog has been unexpectedly therapeutic (a healthy alternative to self medicating with gin!). As a parent of a PDA’er, I’ve developed a tough skin and welcome honest feedback…….as with everything else, it’s a ‘work in progress’.

23 Comments on “Sharing is caring

  1. You are a natural blogger and I’m sure by you sharing will help others fully understand the challenges you have had and will have. I hope that this first step you have made on your blogging journey has a far reach and you reach other parents and professionals that can contribute in a positive way on your journey. ❤️

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  2. Hi
    Just wanted to say I have just read your blog and it’s brilliant. My son experienced some traumatic events when he was younger and sometimes he has some almighty emotional meltdowns, so whist not diagnosed with anything inparticular I can fully understand where you’re coming form. I am very lucky as I have some fantastic support from other adoptors so frequently off load to them. I find sharing my experiences help me get through the real dark times, although I agree a cheeky G&T doesn’t go amiss. Keep up the good work.

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    • Thank you! It sounds like you and your son have weathered many storms together which is why having the right support/tribe around you and a cheeky gin or two is essential. I’m a big fan of finding the right strategies for the child, irrespective of diagnosis or lack of one. You keep up the good work too 🙂

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  3. Fi, you write so beautifully about something that is so hard for you, your family and your gorgeous boy. You do a FAB job and can’t wait to read more of your posts 🙂

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  4. Good luck with your blogging journey, and with the challenges ahead. End of year 5 in mainstream was where our girl hit a brick wall too. Hope you get some good support x

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    • Thanks so much Steph – you and your blog have brought me a great deal of strength and inspiration. I’m convinced they get to that age when they become more self aware of themselves and others around them. For someone who intrinsically needs to control their internal and external environments, there must be ‘ignorant bliss’ on one side of that wall and ‘terrifying chaos’ on the other side! Just my opinion 😉 x

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  5. Well done…you did it, and the first one, I am sure, is the hardest! As you so rightly say, you need to keep note of what’s going on day-by-day, and what better way to do it than to share it with others that maybe starting research themselves, or be in the midst of their own journey in PDA. Either way, I do believe that someone out there will be helped by what you’re doing here, as you have been helped yourself…pay it forward and well done you, I will read on and follow your journey. X

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    • Thank you so much for the lovely welcome and positive feedback – it means a great deal coming from you. The gin and friends were awesome, however I’m not sure they helped resolve my twitter and wordpress issues…..today’s tasks! 🙂 x

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      • It takes a while to get a grip on the tech stuff – I’ve still got loads to learn!! Steph is a pro, I want to get better at it. I shared on FB but couldn’t tag you x

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      • Thanks for sharing and for the head’s up re the tagging. I did contemplate not publishing anything until I had got on top of the tech stuff but as a serial procrastinator, that would have been lethal! x

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  6. Brilliant ! You are a wonderful, kind, funny and caring lady. The more we can all learn about PDA the better we can help support you all xx

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  7. Well done on this brave and honest blog! I’m so grateful to Kerrin for sharing this (and your story) with me. We also have a son of 11 with PDA. It is so hard. But made much harder by the ignorance and social isolation we experience. I am tired of explaining PDA to people – many of whom I wonder feign interest or understanding. Sometimes I even sound to myself like I’m talking nonsense. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself it must sound like something made up to excuse bad behaviour or poor parenting. Thanks for putting our struggles out there and for sharing the pain of a parent who can do so little to ease the pain of their child. PDA feels to me like a chisel chipping away little bits of my heart all the time. Strength and love from me to you.

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    • Thank you Lisa – your words are equally brave and honest (must be a common trait among parents of PDA’ers!). I empathise with your struggle on all levels and have also had those moments where I’m pretty sure I’m sounding ridiculous. I find it helps if I explain that it’s neurological (his brain is wired in such away that it prevents him from following everyday demands) – it almost adds a physical element to the invisible disability. Lots of strength and love back to you! x

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