About Us

This blog was started on the day I visited the paediatrician with our younger daughter Sasha (aged 2 years and 7 months at the time). The visit produced some shock news that she might be diagnosed with autism. She had delayed speech but at the time we didn't suspect it was anything unusual.... Here's the link to my first ever post: Today - A diagnosis of autism?

Steph's Two Girls, December 17, aged 12 and 10
Steph's Two Girls, December 17, aged 12 and 10

I instinctively felt that I should begin a diary to record what was happening for us at the time, and I also knew that I wanted the story to be about what happened next for the whole family, in particular Sasha's older sister Tamsin, rather than just focusing on the autism. That led to the decision to name the blog Steph's Two Girls.

After much reading and research, we came to the conclusion that our youngest girl has a particular sub-type of Autism called Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). Asperger's Syndrome and Classic Autism are two other sub-types.

The central difficulty for people with PDA is their avoidance of the everyday demands made by other people, due to their high anxiety levels when they feel that they are not in control.
People with PDA tend to have much better social communication and interaction skills than other people on the spectrum, and are consequently able to use this ability to their advantage. They still have real difficulties in these areas though, mainly because they need to control the interaction.

The main features of PDA (and how it differs from other sub-types of autism) are:

obsessively resisting ordinary demands

appearing sociable on the surface but lacking depth in their understanding (often recognised by parents early on)

excessive mood swings, often switching suddenly

comfortable (sometimes to an extreme extent) in role play and pretending

language delay, seemingly as a result of passivity, but often with a good degree of 'catch-up'

obsessive behaviour, often focused on people rather than things.

I've recently written a summary of our lives since Sasha was born, looking at everything from diagnosis through to the path through education. You can find it here: Our PDA Story week 35.

For more detailed information about PDA, please do visit the PDA Society webpage where there are many resources and information on research and diagnostic criteria.

To contact me, please email stephstwogirls@gmail.com