My darling husband was born in 1967. When he was born, the ‘theory’ of the origins of autism was that it was caused by parents not loving their children enough and the term ‘refrigerator parents’ was coined. (This is where we all pause and then gasp).
51 years is not a long time in the scheme of things and that belief is so ridiculous to us now that words cannot even sum up the embarrassment that follows such ignorance and closed minds . So why on earth can professionals have the permission to cast an equally ridiculous statement regarding the validity of PDA? Why are Doctors not open minded to new ideas and what makes one specialist sit down and discover new human conditions and the next just follow the papers when they have a true example of the people they are paid to help sitting right in front of them?
Why are parents still being blamed and not respectfully listened to?
I have been very lucky on our PDA journey so far with regard to not being dismissed. I am acutely aware of how many thousands of parents are either speaking up and being silenced, or are too afraid to speak up. This has to stop.
It is with great pride that I am able to announce that PDA has been given recognition in the new National guidelines for assessing and diagnosing autistic spectrum disorders in Australia. It is parents pushing and connecting with open minded professionals that have enabled this to happen. It is a huge step in the right direction. So, in other words, PDA isn’t going to just go away. It’s snowballing and eventually, those who have told desperately seeking parents to just go away, it doesn’t exist, it’s not recognized here, it’s so rare you can’t possibly have it (which is what I was told yesterday) , then I say this. You will be that person that everyone says, omg, you really believed that?!
As I pointed out in my defense of PDA, the reason you have not come across it is because you are telling people that it doesn’t exist. Parents are coming through services and being sent away at the door. It’s not reaching you because we are not being believed. But that is changing and we are coming for you!
I am absolutely passionate that we have to keep on confidently standing up for PDA and not accepting that our parenting is to blame. Just as the mothers in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s fought on behind closed doors, we must fight on with doors open. We need to get PDA understood and the first step starts with us, or it will not happen fast enough for many families who are already facing school exclusions on a daily basis and dare I say it, possible wrong imprisonments further down the line.
With the correct strategies and the right environments, lives can be not only saved but transformed.
We are sick of being blamed, so lets turn that energy around and use it to be heard instead.
If you are in the thick of it and seeking help. Please start with gathering handy files from the support pages you belong to and the PDA society. Gather your evidence and document everything carefully. Find those who can help you to advocate if you are not confident to go it alone. Never ever give up or doubt yourself or your child.
Together we are strong. xx