PDA Parent Carer and Wayfinder
Wayfinding with Rosie
My conscious PDA journey began in 2016 when a friend mentioned autism might be behind my daughters troubles as she neared the end of primary school. After a bit of internet rambling I stumbled upon the PDA Society website and had that lightbulb moment many of us share. I experienced a heady mixture of thrill and foreboding as I sensed deep in my heart that life as I knew it was over and a new path lay ahead. Little did I know then that I was about to go on the mother of all healing journeys with my daughter and husband.
I say conscious journey because of course my daughter was born with her beautiful PDA brain. Despite knowing there was something ‘going on’ with her, I had a voice within (mirrored by voices in the playground and within the wider family) that any challenging behaviour from her was because I was soft and just needed more discipline/routine/(insert someone else’s opinion here). All of this was set against my own need to fit in, intuition that the naughty step and punishment just didn’t feel right and chronically low self esteem.
Receiving confirmation that my daughter was neurodivergent, that I was too and my husband self-identifying as PDA was a massive curveball. But it was one that finally explained why life had felt so difficult, both before and on becoming a mother. Marriage too had been an uphill struggle beyond the daily tit-for-tat. We were all tackling an invisible and internal battle with how to do life and nobody, not least ourselves, had been aware of the cause.
In the last four years as a family we have been undertaking a series of significant adaptations to our lifestyle, invested in our own individual health and well-being and immersed ourselves into PDA wisdom and specialist coaching. As a result, my daughter has gone from being aggressive and permanently indoors to having her sparkle back, engaging in her passions with unbounded energy and enthusiasm and slowly beginning her reconnection with the wider world.
I offer emotional, mental and spiritual health support in 1 to 1 heart-centred wayfinding sessions online. I bring years of experience of my own healing along with professional training.
I have previously undertaken 5 years of transpersonal integrative psychotherapy training, had a private psychotherapy practice for three years and currently host a number of emotional and spiritual support circles.
I also walk the path of recovery of self through early life trauma, late autism diagnosis, special needs motherhood, disordered eating practices, co-dependency, drug misuse and early widowhood.
My intention when being with each unique client is to nurture their own self-forgiveness and self-love, reconnect them with their own soul language and symbology that will always be there to guide them.
A Spiritual Perspective On PDA And How It Can Save The Day!
Having already begun a spiritual programme of recovery for codependency and an eating disorder, it felt natural to start applying some of the principles I was learning to the challenges I was facing within our family. I was also undertaking a professional training to become a transpersonal integrative psychotherapist which taught me that every breakdown is an opportunity to breakthrough.
These hugely inspirational teachings have changed my experience of life beyond measure, and I am deeply grateful to my teachers. My hope is that I can use what I’ve learnt to help other PDA parents who, finding themselves in crisis, will begin to trust the process unfolding around and within them. I understand what it is to crave freedom and autonomy and love another who feels the same. What a perfect recipe to ninja press every single button you have!
My old way of doing life became completely defunct as my daughters needs started to push against everything I felt I needed to do, and as a self-confessed control freak and perfectionist this was extremely harrowing. Why could I not get my family happily along to a National Trust garden for a nice day out? Why did it feel like there were no adults in the room when the three of us were together? Why couldn’t I get my girl to do her homework? The only answer I had for a long time was that it must be my fault.
Slowly but surely, I started to find that the very same principles I was being taught to become a therapist and recover from my addictive patterns could not only support me at home but actually aid my daughters recovery from the breakdown she had sadly at the tender age of 6. They were the answer to every meltdown (hers or mine), every difficult conversation with a wider family member or professional, every unmet need (of which there were many).
The spiritual principles I’ll be sharing my own experience, strength and hope around how they have positively impacted us as a PDA family are humility, tolerance, acceptance, honesty, open-mindedness, surrender, faith and willingness. If you’re new on the spirituality scene, it’s not religion, or some hippy thing, or something that involves ouija boards! It’s a whole-hearted approach to life that involves getting to know, understand and accept all of your self. I can’t understand why it’s not taught in Western schools, as surely this is the best pre-cursor to becoming parents who can unconditionally love our children? After all, it’s only if we are able to meet ourselves with the same unconditional love that we can offer it to our children.
In my opinion, this is what our kids are here to teach us. And they will accept nothing less. Much suffering within a PDA family comes from there being a lack of it. Focussing on the behaviours that stem from this that doesn’t also include self-reflexive parenting and a deep dive into your own belief systems will fall short. And I trust that if you’ve been chosen as a PDA parent, you’re up to the task!