Saturday, 31 March 2018

Books to help with Pathological Demand Avoidance and Autism

Over the past eight years since our youngest daughter was diagnosed with autism, I have read a lot of books. Sadly not as many novels as I'd have liked, but instead many information books around the topics of Autism and PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance). PDA is a type of autism spectrum condition.

The following books are ones which I definitely recommend for anyone who wants to understand more about Pathological Demand Avoidance specifically. 
cover of understanding pathological Demand avoidance syndrome in children

First up is Understanding Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome in Children. This is a guide for parents, teachers and other professionals which was first published in 2012. It draws on not only the research and papers of Professor Elizabeth Newson, who was the first to describe certain characteristics as the PDA syndrome, but also includes experiences of educational practitioners and accounts from parents and carers of children with PDA.

As the name suggests, this book is a comprehensive introduction to PDA. Written by Phil Christie, a Consultant Child Psychologist who was Director of Children's Services and Principal of Sutherland House School for 30 years, Margaret Duncan who is a GP and parent to a child with PDA, Ruth Fidler who is now an education consultant and was previously Assistant Head Teacher at Sutherland House School, and Zara Healy who is parent to a child with PDA.

There are six main chapters, each containing a considerable amount of information; What is PDA?, Positive Everyday Strategies, Living with PDA, Providing the best education for a child with PDA, Developing emotional well-being and self-awareness in children with PDA and Summing up and questions for the future. Within section 3 there is a helpful section on siblings which was of particular interest for us.

This book is what I refer to as my bible; the first time I read it, I nodded along to every page. I devoured it in one sitting; it was all so relevant and seemed to describe our girl to a T. It was so good that I wanted to buy a copy for everybody who would have contact with her; sadly I realised not everyone shared my passion for reading in this way... but I can still wish they would!

My second book suggestion is Can I Tell You About Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome? A guide for friends, family and professionals, this is written from the viewpoint of Issy, a fictional 11 year old girl with Pathological Demand Avoidance.
cover of can i tell you about pathological Demand avoidance

It's aimed at readers aged 7 and upwards and would be a great starting point for discussions with siblings and peers. Our girl is not a fan of reading but I'm hoping a time will soon come when she'd pick this up out of curiosity and relate to it. It's short enough so as to not be overwhelming (31 pages of slightly larger type) and also has a strategies section in the back.

Third recommendation is Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome My Daughter Is Not Naughty by Jane Sherwin.
Cover of my daughter is not naughty

Jane is mum to Mollie and Jake (aged 10 and 15 at the time of her writing this book) and started off by writing a blog about their family's experiences of living with PDA. Jane's book about those times was published in 2015 and it includes a lot of in-depth detail about the challenges they faced from the Early Years through to Adolescence. 

I was particularly drawn to this book because it covered the development of an autistic girl with PDA, but there is so much information in it that I would definitely say it is relevant for boys too.

Fourth book is one which really helped us, called Children with Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome (PDA) - a booklet for brothers and sisters. This helped us explain PDA to our younger daughter's sibling when she was about six or seven years old. The language in it is fairly simple and the book shares lots of feedback from other siblings who had the chance to attend courses in Nottingham. Our oldest girl told us it helped her to understand and to not feel so alone.
Cover of Booklet for brothers and sisters about PDA

I've been told that there are still a small number of these books available from Autism East Midlands if you email them for more information, but that enquiries are currently being made about a reprint. I suspect this may depend on more funds being pinpointed - could be a nice project for someone?

Finally, these two books I'm about to mention are not actually Pathological Demand Avoidance specific; they are aimed at parents and teachers of children with behaviour which challenges.
cover of the explosive child book

Written by an American man called Dr. Ross Greene, The Explosive Child is a book which just makes a lot of sense to those of us parenting children who don't seem to conform to the typical parenting strategies. Dr.Greene is a clinical psychiatrist who has spent many years working with children and adolescents, and his book covers his approach called Collaborative and Proactive Solutions. You can read more at that link but in a nutshell it's a more compassionate, productive and effective approach, based around the 'Plan B' idea.

Dr.Greene is a man who I admire greatly despite never having met him; I would love to meet him one day and shake his hand! He provides so much help and advice free of charge on his website Lives In The Balance; I recommend that parents start with the Walking Tour for parents and practitioners select the Walking Tour for Educators.

His other book I recommend is called Lost At School; this is a similar book to The Explosive Child but targeted more at educators.
cover of lost at school book

I hope this round-up has been helpful to those who would like to learn more about this particular type of autism. In a future post I will share more recommendations for information booklets and links to articles which we have found extremely helpful along the way.

Spectrum Sunday

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Thursday, 29 March 2018

Are You Autistic?

Are You Autistic? is the title of a Channel 4 documentary about autism which was produced to help enlighten and educate the general public. It was a fairly girl-heavy programme which was intended to highlight the issue of autistic females going undiagnosed. Previous estimates have put the numbers at four boys diagnosed with autism to every single female diagnosed, and the programme was keen to discuss the issues around undiagnosed females.
Picture of heads in rainbow colours with text question Are You Autistic?

Personally I found the program very interesting and informative - it was good enough to drag me away from Ashley Banjo and the brilliant cancer programme The Full Monty on the other side! The main two presenters were autistic females Sam Ahern and Georgia Harper, an artist and a lawyer, and they did a brilliant job of explaining all the different strands of the documentary and pulling it together. They also covered the meaning of the word 'neurotypical' - a way of describing people who are not autistic. There were a further five members of the Ambitious About Autism youth council who gave their views and feedback during the show and they also came across as intelligent, witty and likeable.

One of the premises behind Are You Autistic? was to show that autism is a lot more common than previously thought. An online survey was circulated to 750,000 people before the show and the results then discussed during the programme. Around 87,000 people have results indicating they might well be autistic, with over half of those being female.

The programme followed the paths of two 30-somethings (a mum of three and a male musician who both have sons diagnosed with autism) as they took part in a series of in-depth tests to discover if they themselves were autistic. The climax of this was the result for each of them that they were indeed autistic and you could see the emotion from both of them as their suspicions were concerned. What will the diagnosis mean for them at a late age? Probably simply a greater understanding and peace with themselves.

Then there was a 'speed dating' section which one of my favourite autism advocates Carly Jones MBE took part in; four young men were given the chance to sit and chat to four autistic females without being told of their diagnosis. The aim was to show how 'typical' some females can come across in a situation like this - the men were surprised to learn of the autism diagnosis at the end of the session and were impressed with how well the females had learnt to mask. Masking appears to be quite common for autistic females who have a desire to fit in. It involves them making an extra effort to learn all the social skills and actions such as reciprocal conversation, flirting, eye contact and giving compliments.

There are some areas which I'd love to be discussed in more detail, such as the fact that not all autistic females are able to learn to mask effectively. Certainly our girl hasn't managed this for the large part so far. Although it seems to be fairly common that those diagnosed with PDA can conform when in school then explode like a pressure cooker when home, Sasha has always shown the same behaviour in both environments. We have no idea if she will mask in the future, and if I'm honest, I'm not sure if I want her to or not. From what I've heard, masking doesn't come naturally; it takes a lot of effort and puts a huge mental strain on those doing it. Whilst I'd love Sasha to fit in if that's what she wants, I'd also love her to be herself. It's a tricky balance, I suspect.

There's also the male/female split. Some boys will mask too, and there will be girls who have characteristics more like those of the majority of the boys. What we need to remember is that everyone is different. Everyone is unique. That goes for all of us!

One concern which has cropped up online is that the programme title might give the impression it is inviting people to say they are autistic, when they aren't diagnosed as such. In my opinion, the more people who can take a test the better; the larger the number of people diagnosed autistic, the more 'common' and less rare it will become, and that's one sure-fire way to increase understanding. 

However, if there's one main message I would like everyone to share after this programme, it's that we are NOT 'all a little bit autistic'. This phrase, and the similar one 'we're all on the Spectrum somewhere', are NOT true and they are damaging to the autistic community.

There are traits which can be compared to autistic characteristics, but you need to have the full picture in order to get a diagnosis. Many people might feel like they are socially awkward, that they don't fit in or don't have a lot of friends, but this doesn't mean they are autistic. Being shy and struggling in social situations is NOT the same as being autistic. Some like to describe autism as a brain that is wired differently; there is a different understanding.

Sadly these type of programmes often tend to divide opinion, with some left feeling not so positive, because only one aspect of autism has been discussed, and it doesn't directly relate to them or their child. Perhaps Channel 4 could produce a run of these documentaries on autism; a mini-series. Week 1 covers autism and girls, week 2 autism and boys, week 3 Pathological Demand Avoidance, week 4 adults, week 5 young children, week 6 Aspergers and week 7 non-verbal? 

However, the saying 'you can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but rarely all of the people all of the time' springs into action at this point. There were similar discussions around The A-Word programme when that was broadcast. This kind of disagreement is inevitable I feel, as there are so many different aspects to autism that it would be impossible to cover them all in one program. 

BBC Stories recently published the words of six women who were diagnosed autistic later in life and this was also an interesting read. As far as I am concerned, the more information about autism out there in the media for public consumption, the better. Personally I choose to focus on Pathological Demand Avoidance, as that is the topic closest to our hearts, but I'm keen to see as much as possible which can help educate others about all types of autism spectrum conditions.

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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Our PDA Story {Week 32}

For World Autism Awareness week I'm pleased to be able to share Week 32 in the series 'Our PDA Story'. It's so important to help with understanding about all kinds of autism, and in this series I've focused on experiences from other people living with, or who care for those with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). There's been a great variety so far and you can find them all via the link at the bottom of this post.
Our PDA Story badge graphic

The post this week takes a comprehensive look at the whole development so far of a young boy who is close in age to Sasha. It's particularly interesting because it looks right back to the early years and follows through from there; I'm intending to do this kind of summary for Sasha in the near future.

It explains a lot of the specific behaviour in detail and why this family have now moved on to unschooling (that's a whole topic for a post in itself!). Although it may sound like a long story, I know that there is so much more to it than we get to read here; more meetings with professionals, emotions involved, all those kinds of things. If you can leave any comments of support after reading I know the writer would appreciate it.


Charlie was born by c-section at 38 weeks due to pre-eclampsia weighing just 5lb 8oz.  He was breastfed for the first few weeks then bottle fed from there on. At around 3 months old he developed plagiocephaly and brachycephaly.  He was fitted with a helmet at around 9 months old to try and correct this.  He was generally a good baby but very clingy to me.  We tried to put Charlie in nursery so I could return to work around 6 months of age and he just wouldn’t settle there.  They tried everything and he just constantly cried.  Charlie walked just after his 1st birthday but didn’t seem to crawl before that. Charlie was a passive baby.

Charlie became very, very difficult around the age of 18 months; he liked control.  For example if we got on the train and just sat anywhere Charlie would have a fit, he wanted to choose where we sat and would always have to go to the bike carriage and sit on the chairs that folded up and down.  He would repeatedly open and close the seat banging it up and down and if I tried to stop him he would lie on the floor and kick and scream.  He would do the same on buses, I lost track of the amount of times I would argue with people because of his disruptive behaviour. 

Normal parenting techniques never seemed to work.  Charlie didn’t babble he would just point and make an ‘aaaah’ noise.  We started to become concerned over his repetitive behaviour and his lack of speech at around 2 and a half.  He wasn’t speaking he didn’t deal well with lots of people around him.  We couldn’t go to family parties or gatherings because he would be so disruptive and again he would go straight to the doors banging them open and shut or he would just seem very stressed and anxious.  Shopping was out of the question.

It was at this time that we had job offers in Malta so we decided to make the move there.  Charlie’s need for control continued, his behaviour was outrageous at times, he never did as he was told, we battled every day to brush his teeth and wash him.  He had no sense of danger on roads.  He was always obsessed over buses and would look for the long bendy buses and yellow ones.  His obsession at this time was Thomas the tank engine.  When in the house and relaxed he would play for hours and hours with the trains in role play situations.

We became desperate so we went to the doctors in Malta literally in tears at a loss and they referred us for an assessment for Charlie.  Charlie was 3 years old at this stage and he wasn’t speaking.  The paediatricians and specialists assessed Charlie and ruled out autism due to not meeting all the criteria but they did notice his processing and language delay.  They referred us for regular speech therapy and rapidly Charlie’s language started to catch up. 

We decided to try and put Charlie in a new nursery that had been built and he was one of the first children to join them.  We think that because the nursery was empty that this is why he took to it so brilliantly.  He liked the carers that ran it and they did lots of interesting things with him.  We had child assessment go and observe Charlie and he was doing ‘great’.  Teachers comments were always positive but the comments were always he is a leader not a follower.  Charlie was popular with other kids and would always tell them what to do. 

As the nursery grew more popular Charlie seemed less thrilled with going there. We decided to put Charlie in a school kinder but kept him back a year because of his speech delay.  Charlie’s teacher was really nice and she spoke in a soft manner, Charlie responded well and had friends.  Charlie was absolutely obsessed with getting everything in order for school.  He would ask over and over again if we had everything as if he was anxious about drawing any attention to himself.  The teacher said he was very bright but hated being told off and would go into a sulk.  He was very, very rough in school and didn’t seem to sense danger. At the same time he never hit any of the kids, was just running around mad.  Getting him to actually go to school was a battle every day, he had to play on his iPad first or watch the TV. If we got up late and had to rush out he would go mad.

We learned to adjust as a family.  We found ways to get Charlie to comply although they didn’t always work.  We gave in to his demands as we could not win.  If we tried to exert our authority over him he would have a massive fit, become very confused and have a violent outburst. We felt like the worst parents ever, as nothing seemed to work.  Charlie never understood when he did things wrong and when we tried to explain what he had done he would say ‘it’s your fault not mine’. He never accepted blame even though there was no doubt he had done wrong.  His sister Neve would get the blame for everything and even we started blaming her for starting a tantrum even though it wasn’t her fault.  The guilt became a very big problem for us. Neve is an amazing child, very thoughtful and wonderful but sometimes she would behave as badly as him, as if she were copying Charlie and wondering why she didn’t get away with it the same as him. 

My husband and I often discussed Charlie and he puzzled us beyond belief. He appeared sociable with good eye contact yet we found it hard to have flowing conversations with him.  His friends would come over and play and they seemed light years ahead with their conversation skills.  We put this down to his speech delay but it hasn’t improved even now and he is 7.  Charlie’s obsessions with trains along with his ipad lasted until he was 5 then the youtube videos took over.  He would literally be happy to sit all day long and watch game walkthroughs.  His conversation was mostly based around games.  He would answer anyone who talks to him but mostly with yes/no answers or repeating the question.

Charlie seemed to have some sensory issues as well.  He will not wear jeans or any coats that cover his hands.  He has a very real problem brushing his teeth and will go weeks without doing so and it really seems to repulse him, sometimes he nearly vomits.  He will not take medication under any circumstances and we have to hide it in orange juice if he needs it.  He had no sense of danger and seemed to have quite a high pain threshold.  When Charlie is sick you have to literally guess what is wrong as he won’t tell you where something hurts, he goes very very quiet and becomes well behaved.  Usually this is a good indication for us to investigate further.

One thing that did happen is when he was hitting me, I was trying to keep calm and I just cried in front of him.  He did recognise how upset I was and said ‘are you crying’ I said ‘yes’ he said ‘why’ I said because you hit me Charlie.  This seemed to shock him.  He stood there looking at me for about 5 minutes then he came to me and said he was sorry which he has NEVER done before.  After saying sorry though he continued to act in an aggressive manner.  In bed that night he started to make repetitive noises like stimming as if he were trying to calm down.  He always wants to be cuddled and he sometimes asks me to rub his feet.   

Not long after Charlie entered year 2 in school it was becoming increasingly difficult to get him in.  He would come home from school and just walk round in circles over and over again, he started to want to fight with his dad but wouldn’t stop and would attack him with toy weapons.  In the mornings he started to totally refuse to leave for school, crying, sobbing, banging his head on the wall, telling us he wished he was dead and would kill himself if he had to go to school.  We struggled with the rest of year 2 and he took lots of time off.

When we were in England in the summer holidays, we saw the programme called ‘Born Naughty?’ and the little girl on there had a form of autism called PDA.  It was like being in the right place at the right time and my husband and I just looked at each other and said that sounds exactly the same as Charlie.  After much research and various forums we were utterly convinced without a doubt that he has PDA.  He fits the bill perfectly.  We pursued this as a diagnosis and got it from Malta even though they knew nothing of it.  We took the research to them and they agreed with us.

Six weeks into the beginning of year 3 we made the decision to illegally remove him from school (it’s illegal to home-school in Malta) for his mental health and general wellbeing.  At this time he was not yet reading.  We removed all demands, even letting him hang around with no clothes and not brushing his teeth, washing etc. We let him do whatever (within reason) he wanted to do.  After a few months Charlie’s behaviour was greatly improved, all violent outbursts stopped.  He stopped the attacks on his father, his meltdowns became very rare.  He taught himself to read.  He amazed us with facts that he had learned from YouTube. 

He is very bright but we cannot sit down and get him to do academic work of any sort, he has zero attention span and simply switches off.  For this reason we have decided to go down the unschooling route and trust in his ability to teach himself.  We try to get him to join in with things from time to time, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.  Charlie will go through stages of wanting to go outside to maybe a park or the beach but then he will need lots of time indoors in his safe space. 

Charlie still needs support to get dressed, wash and sometimes help after he has used the toilet.  He eats with his hands and is very messy. He managed to keep one of his friends who comes to our house once or twice a week.  Sometimes Charlie will ignore him though and watch his YouTube videos.  His friend is happy to be bossed about a little at this time so goes along with what Charlie wants to do.  They are very close and have known each other since they were 3. 

Since Charlie has been out of school for nearly 2 years now we know we need to move from Malta as we cannot legally continue to unschool him.  We are looking to move to Sligo in Ireland as we have discovered a school that we think may actually be suitable for Charlie.  It is a Sudbury model school (basically an unschool school) Kids are free to follow exactly what they want to do.  The school is democratic and the kids have a say in how it is run and the rules in which they follow, there are no lessons, no classrooms but instead they have facilitators and mixed age children who are free to follow their own passions and interests. 

If any school were to work for Charlie it would be a school like this.  We have explained to him about it and he seems keen to go.  We mainly wanted him to go for social reasons and also he will be able to observe others and join in activities he may not have been exposed to at home.  We have no idea if this will be a success and we know there will be challenges but it is worth moving to another country just to see if we can find a place for him where he feels he can be himself but also somewhere he can hopefully make friends. 

Charlie has taught us as a family to work together as a team.  He has taught us patience and he has taught us to be better people.  We still have challenges and we have had to develop a thick skin and the ability to not care what anyone else thinks, including other family members.  We have to trust in him and lead by example only.  That is the only way we can move forward.    


Thanks for taking the time to read. Comments are much appreciated and sharing on social media could really help get these posts to people who have still not heard about PDA.

For more reading about what Pathological Demand Avoidance is, please see 'Challenging Behaviour and PDA'. One of the most popular posts on this blog is Strategies For PDA.

PDA can often be mistaken for ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) but there's a definite difference; more information here: the difference between PDA and ODD.

A variety of experiences of living with PDA can be read using the link This is our PDA story

If you feel up to sharing your own experiences with my readers to help spread understanding (this can be anonymously), please email

The PDA Society webpage has a huge amount of information about Pathological Demand Avoidance, and there are also links on the PDA Resource website. 

The PDA Society are holding a PDA conference in Birmingham on 18th April 2018 and I'm hoping to be live tweeting from the event on their behalf! 

Pathological Demand Avoidance Society website

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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Autism Book - What We Love Most About Life

World Autism Awareness Week runs from 26th March - 2nd April 2018 and I'm bursting to share with you all about our journey with autism.

One large part of that is all the books and information which has been digested along the way. Yesterday I shared with you a new release called 'Autism - How to raise a happy autistic child', but today I would like to show you one of my all-time favourite books about autism.
Book cover of what we love most about life

'What We Love Most About Life' is a book which was pulled together and published by Chris Bonnello. Chris runs a very successful website called Autistic Not Weird, and a couple of years ago he had the amazing idea to create this book in order to spread some positivity on the subject of autism. He connected with 150 children across the autism spectrum, a variety of ages and genders, and asked for their answers to the question on what they loved about life.

Chris is a former primary school teacher who was first assessed for autism at the age of 4, but only diagnosed later at the age of 25. I totally recommend his website which has so much insightful advice on it - for example, this article 'Top 10 tips for teenagers with Asperger's Syndrom or "mild" autism' and another titled 'When should I tell my child they're autistic, and how do I tell them?'
Sasha on page 95 of the book, swimming in rapids

Sasha features on page 95 of this book and of course I am very proud to see her in there. I dip in and out of the book most weeks, as there are so many amazing answers. It's clear that every child is unique, and it's also clear that there is much love for life. Some answers come from non-verbal children or those with limited understanding, so parents have guessed what their answer would be based on what they show that they love on a daily basis - communication is not always verbal after all. 

Back then, Sasha would not engage in answering a question like that, so I took her interests at the time and used that in a phrase, along with a picture of Sasha in one of her happiest places in the world (the rapids at Center Parcs). I always hoped that she would be able to answer the question for herself in future years, and in time she might.

About a year ago I used the book as a tool to start talking to Sasha about autism, when I felt the time was right. I wrote a blog post about that entitled 'How to tell your child they have autism', but it occurred to me recently that I didn't give an update about what happened next. I left the book in Sasha's room, and after a few weeks I could see that it had been looked at, so I asked her if she had enjoyed it. Her response could probably be classed as a grunt, but with a twinkle in her eye. She's not big on question and answer sessions... I'm pretty sure she had leafed through it though. In my head, I imagine that after so long in a mainstream school where she didn't feel she fitted in, it must be nice for her to feel that she is part of a group of other people who are all autistic too. 

Sasha has many extreme anxieties and fears, ranging from travel to weather and natural disasters, but despite the challenges we all face in the light of those, she still does love life and is mostly positive and bubbly. She brightens my life of course, and has taught me much about her own particular 'brand' of autism (have I mentioned PDA before?!), which in turn has led to me developing a broader understanding of what autism means. I hope that by sharing on social media, I can share that understanding with others and make this world a more accepting place overall.

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Wonder The Movie - out now on DVD

One of my favourite books of all time is the New York Times Bestseller, Wonder by R.J.Palacio. It's a story of a young boy called August Pullman (Auggie), who was born with a cranio-facial condition called Treacher Collins Syndrome. It focuses on his return to school after having been home educated for some years, and the challenges which that brings. 

It's quite rare for me to be able to make it out to the cinema these days, so I was thrilled to be invited to a special screening of the movie ‘Wonder’ which is based on the book. It was being shown in the lovely Soho Hotel, and the event was hosted by Kleenex®. Surely the best partnership idea ever, considering this is a film which will really tug at your heartstrings and takes you through all the emotions?! I know I needed those tissues...
Steph and Tamsin in cinema with Kleenex pack

I was thrilled to be able to take our eldest girl along with me. As we watched the film together, I'm not too proud to admit we held hands and blubbed together. Julia Roberts plays the part of Auggie's Mum brilliantly and a lot of the emotions she experienced would be similar to those of any mum with a child who is different. I think for Tamsin there were also some likenesses to be drawn in the way Auggie's older sister experienced life as a sibling to a child with a difference, and that really hit home for me as I watched her the emotions run over her face during the film. 

This movie was both Academy Award®* and BAFTA** nominated and was released on DVD yesterday (26th
March), so if you haven't had chance to see it yet, I definitely recommend buying it and I'd suggest stocking up on the Kleenex® while you're at it! Check out the short video below and you might just spot someone you know in it....

Wonder wasn't based on a true story, but it was inspired by real life events. The mum who wrote it had experienced an occasion where her young son was frightened when sitting next to a child with a different kind of face. She left the ice cream shop they were in abruptly, but later wished she had just spoken to the child as she might have done any other, in order to show her boy that there was nothing to stare at or be scared of.

Sadly we humans are not explicitly taught how to react when we see something which is different. One mum who could teach us all a lot about this is the fabulous Charlie who writes her own blog over at Our Altered Life. Charlie has two boys, and one of them was born with Goldenhar Syndrome. Charlie has now created a charity called More Than A Face, to support her providing workshops to high schools to help children understand facial disfigurement better. If you go and visit her blog you can see what she made of the film Wonder, and how close to home it was for her.

Charlie's son is also diagnosed with autism, and so all this week she will be sharing posts related to autism over on her Our Altered Life Facebook page. As this is officially World Autism Awareness Week, why not pop along to learn something new?

I think there are a couple of highlights which jump out at me from this movie Wonder; the idea that you can't blend in when you were born to stand out, and the #ChooseKind motto which is one of my favourites. We can all make an effort to show more compassion and acceptance to those who are different.

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