The Positive PDA Journey – Parenting a Panda

Mummy, it’s not fair, all I have to look forward to when I grow up is having PDA. Would you swap to have my brain?

They were the words my six (nearly seven) year old daughter whispered to me in bed a few days ago.

I replied of course I’d love to have her brain, then I could be like her and have some of her superpower senses, like when she was able to smell sweets at school from a different part of the building.

I’m not even exaggerating – she could smell them and led a teacher to them from the first floor to a secret stash in a room on the ground floor!

“I’ll keep my button nose,” she said, “yours is too big.”

She changed her tone of body language, I could touch her sadness.

I knew what she was thinking about. Her five year old sister had cried herself to sleep after a terrible bedtime from being injured.

An argument had erupted and younger sibling was thrown into a piece of furniture. She is very robust and it takes a lot for her to weaken after a battle.

Younger sibling had pleaded with me, “I don’t want to be hurt anymore. Please can I go and live with nanny?”

At last the melancholic silence is broken.

“I don’t belong in this family, I hurt you all.”

Those words are so cutting and tell a true depiction of the low self-esteem our children face with having a pathological condition that controls them.

And also the brutal impact it may have on other family members, particularly siblings.

Yesterday, I attended the PDA Conference in Birmingham and the theme this year was ‘The PDA Journey.’

In that room so many people had been on a variety of individual journeys, but we were united by our common goal which is to help others better understand the autistic profile of Pathological Demand Avoidance.

Getting there was extremely challenging, as was a common discussion I heard throughout the day, whether that was being a parent stepping away from their caring responsibilities or as an adult PDA’er venturing into a very unpredictable environment.

The morning I left, my daughter had woken up crying and had used lots of avoidance tactics to keep me home.

I promised I would send her some photos so she could see where I was staying:

She told me she liked it and as you can see from the pictures (that are a bit snap-happy!) it was so nice to get away for some ‘me’ time.

Then I sent her a selfie but with a hidden motive.

I wanted her to be reassured I was safe, that was the important part, but also for her to see mummy with the PDA logo in view.

It will be a subliminal message but I want her to know that I am proud to tell the world about PDA.

To meet others and make new tribes, to improve my knowledge and to learn from the way that she interprets the world so that I can help parents. The emblem says it all.

PDA does not define her. It is a route in to how she understands and processes information.

Whilst I was there, I purchased some of the merchandise on sale (for those who wasn’t able to make it a new online store went live yesterday, please click here to view some useful products).

When I returned home I presented a new panda 🐼 to my children (something I have discussed as to why they are unique and thrive in certain environments). They were thrilled with the new addition to the family,

Well the journey going was definitely worthwhile and has revigorated some positive energy, in what has been a very crucial time to all of our family.

Cuddling her new soft toy, she made the following observation:

She loves the subject of evolution and I like how she made this metaphorical connection.

Maybe she may start to look forward to her ongoing journey with PDA once again.

I’m glad she can see herself as special.

As a parent, there are certainly worst trajectories to go on in life than to be raising a panda.

We just all need to remember that!


  1. Stephs Two Girls

    Oooh, you had a nice room! Joking aside, it was lovely to meet you yesterday and I LOVE this super positive post which I know will bring hope to many. I also feel a swell of pride at how well yesterday’s conference went and was so glad to be a part of it. You are an amazing mum, and she is an amazing girl, and I’m sure now she has much better support in school she will go far with you by her side xx

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