Princess Diana: Finding a Voice



Having watched the controversial TV program this week Diana in Her Own Words, so much of the content resonated with me.

As much as I have wanted to talk, of late, about what has happened I know that I can’t.  The time will come to put it into words our experiences, but we need time to process and to heal.

Just like Diana, I have discovered hidden systems and agendas, plotting, corruption and lies.  All from professionals who are put in place to protect families like ours.  In fact it started at the beginning and yet I was none the wiser – oblivious to the inappropriate conversations that were to shape our future.  This just manifested itself into a confidence-stripping exercise, robbing any self-belief I had about parenting.  More importantly, I was unable to hear my daughter’s pleas of distress.

As the last school days came to a close in July, my social media was jammed with images and happy memories from parents of present givings for teachers, sports days and annual celebrations.

My vacant posts on social media was a true reflection of how I was feeling: empty, shaken and uncertain of the future.  My daughter had a goodbye present to give to her beloved teacher, only we were powerless to let her do it.  Her eyes welled up and as she shed hot, cathartic tears,  I truly saw the damage, right there, the past two years had done to her.

We desperately wanted to take part in the end of year festivities just like everybody else.  Instead, we were a silent story few knew anything about and we were facing a fight with a dark, omnipresent system.

As my friends took pictures of their beautiful infants reaching appropriate milestones, I was sat at the laptop, writing a letter to the Director of Children’s Services to highlight the pure neglect and corruption I had experienced.  My complaint was quashed without any further investigation and my points ignored.

The continual rejection from people I have begged for help has damaged me, just like our tragic Princess Diana.

Yet that program uplifted me in some strange, spiritual way.  Despite all she had been through, she still found the strength to help others and to find her voice.  It was that strength that unnerved those around her.  What was she going to do with it?

Sometimes I sense those around me are thinking the same thing, what is The Mum going to do with hers?

They have attempted to dismantle me, re-write the history of our schooling and care experiences, as well as withholding key information I have requested.  The isolation grinds me down but I will still keep on fighting.

My love for my daughter gives me the strength to continue.

There is another reason why I will continue to keep making a noise.

My daughter is not the only one.  We are not the only family affected.  There are other distressed children in our school, in our area, in all areas who are left isolated and misunderstood.

I will continue to highlight all of the failures that we have experienced because I know there are so many other children in the system whose needs are not being met.  I want to  enable their voice too.  I want to reach out to their parents and reassure them, empower them and connect with them.

Diana found helping others a coping mechanism for the melancholy she was experiencing.

I can relate to that.

I think this need to help others just about keeps my head above water.

You can’t begin to describe how it feels, for example, when you find out that a member of teaching staff was advising parents to complain about your child so they ‘could get rid of her’.  The injustice, the despair, the anger.  The emotion is too raw right now to talk about.

Oppression occurs in many areas of society, Princess Diana was a public example of how it affects those we assume are more fortunate.

It is over twenty years since those tapes were made and yet they transcend time.  They speak even louder in volume than the day they were made.  Diana found her voice and used it carefully.  I will endeavour to do the same.



  1. Charlotte

    Hi Danielle, why I have not seen your website before, it is beyond me, as I follow you on Facebook and often feel your emotions through your words and experiences as my own. But today I was
    searching for a review on the web for the fantastic book the Super Shamlal so I could send a link to someone wanting a better book than How ton Starve the anxiety Gremlin, which has been suggested recently to me from the EP that observed my daughter. It had also been recommended to another parent and as I feel it’s not at all PDA friendly, went on my quest. My search found your review which led me to your webpage. It is packed with so many useful lived experiences, as I scrolled, many jumped out the page at me but the quote from Princess Diana stopped me in my tracks as I had to think about whether this is true for every lived experience. You will understand all to well that PDA can isolate a child from their fears of the real world after suffering emotional based anxiety leading to school refusal and the whole system being a complete big let down and for everyone involved to be starring eagle eyed at the one person who is trying to change the crap happening into something productive and meaningful – the one person that will stand tall and empower what school should have done. My daughter started to self harm in 2020 and there were no reasonable adjustments . No one was supporting us – all I could see was my daughter’s function to live making her feel depressed and this was no life for a 7 year old. Pushed from pillow to post, CAMHs , GP and school – none of them offering any support cos my daughters disability was hidden – no one believed what I was observing, or what my daughter was feeling every day on her return home from school, no one wanted to listen to my cry for support in the morning as her uniform would come off and she would stomp up stairs, refusing school, slamming the door, and screaming crying, hiding, rocking, hitting her head on the wall or floor. All school could say about that moment was “ get her into school or be fined!” “ tell her we will fine mummy will be fined.” “Phoebe is fine in school.” But Phoebe wasn’t fine in school and I wasn’t fine about knowing nothing was being done to support her learning differences or hidden disability. Recently the after a struggle I finally secured the LA to observe my daughter so I can apply for an EHCP. But the EP report is screaming out that Phoebe return to school because her separation anxiety is because she is isolated and spends to much time with mum probably because she is EHE. The report made no reference to her PDA profile. Phoebe is not isolated but as she learns about autism and PDA she recognises what she prefers and what helps to keep her safe. It’s not that simple either some days just the thought of going outside will unbalance her. I am now writing a eHC needs assessment and it will reflect accommodations that support PDA and SPD, selective mutism, social anxiety and phobias, trauma that are related to PDA. My daughter’s isolation is not to dismantle who she is in any shape or form as that would be seen as changing her behaviour that is authentic to her. But the system has dismantled my daughter, piece by piece until she was broken because accommodations were not proactively promoted to provide stability and to make her understand that being Phoebe is enough, that she didn’t need to be like anyone else but herself and this is how the system cruelly makes our children suffer. Because of the trauma she suffered from endless days masking and fawning, internalising how she really wanted to behave the system has made her retreat to her safety and isolate. As she has got older she has discovered socialising is hard work and makes her tired, lots of things exhaust her. She enjoys getting out and about and meeting old school friends occasionally but she prefers her world where she can have control, choices and have autonomy, this is something the government are yet to understand about PDA. And how our school system cannot provide this flexibility.

    1. PDA Parenting

      Hi Charlotte, I loved reading your message, Phoebe sounds amazing and definitely a personality not to be broken or dismantled! I hope you can continue to move forwards. Thank you so much for taking the time to message and feedback as I see you on the FB page and it means a lot x

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