Steph is a finalist in the Blog Post with Biggest Impact category. Her post ‘Everyday challenges with PDA‘ gave an honest insight into what living with the condition can really be like, starting with a routine trip to the dentist and ending in tears and meltdowns.
What inspired you to start your blog/organisation?
I started writing my blog the day I’d taken our younger daughter to see a paediatrician. She was just two and a half at the time, and was diagnosed with autism that day. It was a surprise, because in many ways she seemed very similar to other toddlers. I instinctively decided that writing a blog would help me explain to others the ways in which her behaviour was different, and would also serve as a reminder of our daily lives to help me with future appointments. That was over ten years ago!
Several months after the autism diagnosis, we stumbled across descriptions of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) online and realised that this type of autism fitted our daughter to a tee. As I began to understand more about PDA, I realised that there were many people who hadn’t even heard of this and so the focus of my blog slowly moved towards sharing information about PDA.
What other blogs/organisations do you turn to for advice?
I love reading all sorts of blogs, personal experiences of parents of children with all kinds of disabilities or without, and I find that Facebook groups can be a great source of advice. The PDA Society is the organisation I have turned to and appreciated the most since the early days; their volunteers are all parents of children with PDA, or have PDA themselves. I always recommend that parents in a similar situation to me read blogs of adults with PDA as they are so insightful. For any families living with children or adults with violent or challenging behaviour, I always recommend Yvonne Newbold.
Describe yourself in three words
Caring, loyal, friendly.
Cheese and biscuits. Or Pimms!
Favourite thing to do if you have some ‘me’ time?
I’m forever at the computer, reading new blogs and browsing social media during any time I have to myself. However, if I was to be able to grab a longer amount of time to myself I’d go to London and take photos of the scenery, because I love London! Or, I’d go to a spa…
If there was a film of your life, what would it be called?
Steph’s Two Girls: a story of love and life with PDA!
Which talent of yours are you most proud of?
I’m not sure I have that much talent… maybe my ability to listen well? Or the fact that I’ve worked hard at blogging and social media and stuck at it for so long!
If you could be one fictional character, who would you be?
Mickey Mouse. Always spreading happiness.
What’s the closest thing to magic?
Creating a new, little human.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start blogging?
Just do it! Start somewhere, with a free blog on blogger.com or wordpress.com. You don’t have to pay for hosting. Think carefully about the name you choose, and how that could translate onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest handles – having them all match helps with recognition later on.
Getting the words out can sometimes be the most difficult part. You have to decide if you are writing for yourself or for other people. The former will probably make you happier but the latter might make you more money! It can involve a lot of hard work on social media if you want to promote your work and make sure it reaches more people.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s BAPS Awards?
Seeing old blogger friends and meeting new ones. Lots of hugs (if we’re allowed by then!).
The Baps Awards Ceremony takes place 4th November from 6.00pm. This year we are at a stunning new venue – The Athena in Leicester. We’d love for you to join us for a fun night of celebration – book your tickets here.
The BAPS Awards
The BAPs (Bloody Awesome Parents) Awards allows SEND bloggers to be recognised for their talents, tales and achievements. Founded by Bringing Us Together and My Family, Our Needs, these awards celebrate SEND Bloggers everywhere. Click here to find out more…