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Abstract/Statement

This paper is based on my own child who was diagnosed with Autism (aged 7 years and Autism and PDA aged 11). Using autoethnography, drawing on my own diaries, records and journals that I kept throughout this process, I document how our parenting was continually questioned and considered to be ineffective. This was the case even when our child had received his first diagnosis of autism. The extra stress and trauma that such continual questioning had impacted not only on us as parents, but also on our child with worsening behaviour. It seems that professionals continually questioned parenting styles, rather than focusing on the link between autism and behaviour, nor did they seem to understand the extreme stress and anxiety that parents and the autistic child themselves face. It was only when we started using strategies for Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) that our child’s behaviour improved although despite the casual remarks by the community paediatrician and other professionals that ‘it’s not PDA, it’s ineffectual parenting.’

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