12 April 2017

Autism Awareness - #YourJourneyMyBlog - Could She Be Autistic?

The month of April is best known for the explosion of Easter Bunnies, obscene amounts of chocolate as gifts for children and a magnificent feast to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. To many people April is Easter, they plan, they organise, many months in advance sometimes, Children have the time of their lives, gorging on chocolate, receiving gifts from extended family members, but to me, April is Autism Awareness month.

So to celebrate this, I am going to dedicate my blog for a whole month to families who wish to share their Autism Journey with you.

Some of these people have autism themselves, some are autistic parents to autistic children. We have teachers with autistic students and even Bloggers who want share their journey with me, which I am very grateful for. 



"My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way."
- Ernest Hemingway





#DifferentNotLess
 
Our awesome girl is five and the all important 'half', years old.

She's bright & oh so bold
She's affectionate
She loves to dance, act, & sing
She directs anyone like a BOSS!


She's recently received a formal diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum with a pathological demand avoidance profile (PDA)

By the time we took her for an assessment we had a very good understanding of Littleys' triggers and the causes of her anxiety & overwhelm, plus we had accessed many people, books, & online resources to advics us on how to best support her.

We are just so blessed that there is such a fast growing information and support network for PDA!

As she was growing the first thing we noticed from when she was about two years old were her sensory sensitivities and how easily she was overwhelmed. Lights, sounds, and too many people seemed to cause her to be overwhelmed very easily. So we started reading up on SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder)

We did wonder 'Could she be Autistic?' but we didn't really see enough of the signs we'd expect.

As time passed and we saw her struggles we would go back to that question now and then. Our research taught us more about Autism in girls, and how the signs that are different are often missed even by the professionals.

We even tried implementing some changes over time that we thought may help her if she was Autistic...

Wins!!!
Ear defenders
Inside out socks
Slowing life down


Lose!!!
Routine
(There are several things we're still paying the price for today for attempting to implement into our daily routine. People with PDA actually thrive on routine, but only the ones THEY implement)


Our aha moment finally came when her clever Dad came across a write up on PDA on the PDA Society website whilst googling something like - 'autism and role-play'
-as we were trying to marry what we were observing i.e. some ASC traits combined with her extensive and passionate love of role-play which truly never seemed to end! Plus her resistance to any implemented routine.

We felt getting the correct diagnosis was valuable, not as a label but for ensuring our daughter had access to the correct support and strategies to benefit her most and also that she had the best understanding of herself as she grew. On hearing others experiences of assessments for both girls and PDA, we decided to her for a private assessment with a specialist in PDA.

Chicken or Egg?
 
Actually we had decided to home educate long before we realised Littley had PDA as it's in line with our own belief system about education, but we feel our choice to unschool her is especially supportive of the PDA learning style.

"You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself"
- Galileo


Our girl is so private about what she shares and I don't like to speak for her, but she seems to us to be a happy and fun girl who loves her family and her home. We both have great relationships with her and she teaches us so much and fills us with joy and love.

As for our parenting, I think we try to take the path of least resistance and give her space to thrive with her own wisdom and passions.

Having a child that doesn't fit the mainstream 'norm' (if there is such a thing) may offer unique challenges to parents, but it is also an amazing gift & opportunity for both them and you.

Why?

Because it makes you stop!

When you can't follow the automatic path you stop and examine, question, and become a thoughtful and questioning parent as well as a loving one who counts every blessing.




This blog post was kindly written by Lindsay Guttridge who also runs a Support group  for Emotional Freedom Techniques and is an EFT coach - on Facebook for PDA parents - 
 




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