On a glorious UK morning at 5am we got up and set out for Lancashire. Once over the now overcast Pennines, we found ourselves arriving at a beautiful higher education campus which was obviously slightly more vacant than usual. The friendly security staff helped us park and we entered the building through an oddly placed, green revolving door. We made our way to the designated meeting spot and waited to connect with the person we had driven 115 miles to see.
Right on time, Dr Judith Brown, Head of Autism Knowledge and Expertise (Child & Clinical), National Autistic Society, appeared and introduced herself to us as “Jude”. The next 80 minutes were amongst the most engaging and enjoyable experience, which left us bubbling over with enthusiasm for what we have embarked on with our PDA Matters organization. Clearly both expert and passionate, Jude is also very lively and engaging. The conversation bantered back and forth between a variety of relevant Autism and PDA topics including Jude’s background and her past and current involvement in Pathological Demand Avoidance.
The most disappointing part of our discussion was learning that despite the all of the UK-based research efforts, the Elizabeth Newson Centre (https://pdamatters.org/pda-gold/), autism outreach and awareness and the recent UK Channel 4 series “Born Naughty?” (http://www.channel4.com/programmes/born-naughty) highlighting PDA cases in 2 of the 4 episodes aired in the last 2 months, there is still a vacuum around PDA in the UK. As unacceptable as this seemed to me at the outset, as the concept sank in through my thick cranium it dawned on me that this was simply another twist in the plot. In fact, if anything it makes what we are trying to do with PDA Matters (Raising Awareness and Spreading Hope about Pathological Demand Avoidance – R.A.S.H.) even more needed and not just in the USA!
With a great “first” meeting in our rearview mirror, we parked back in front of the house in Nottingham just as the clock turned 3pm. A great use of a day, and still time to connect with another PDA family face-to-face and seek some mutual comfort through sharing our experiences.
For those of you out there feeling down, out, scared, lost or alone, whatever your troubles are, get out there and feel like you are doing something for others and you will find great peace for yourself. To quote that notable kids’ TV program “Yo Gabba Gabba!” (http://www.yogabbagabba.tv/), “Try it, You’ll like it!”