Monday 9 August 2021

Being Julia {Book review}

*This post contains an affiliate link and I may receive a small commission if you click and buy. It won't cost you any extra*

I was thrilled when I heard about the upcoming publication of a new book on PDA, Being Julia. This is the story of Julia Daunt, an adult diagnosed with Pathological Demand Avoidance, ADHD and psychotic episodes. 
Blue front cover of Being Julia book with title text and text saying a personal account of living with pda. also has colourful line drawing of Julia
Co-written with Ruth Fidler, a well-known independent education consultant with many years experience in the field of PDA, Julia's memoir covers life from a very young age right up until recent times. The book includes many examples of school and social experiences, with some earlier memories being provided by Julia's mum and old school reports.

Julia was assessed for PDA at the Elizabeth Newson Centre at the age of 12 and she shares how initially she tried to hide her diagnosis from others. She explains that she felt embarrassed and didn't want to be judged - that's a phrase I definitely relate to as it has cropped up in our house several times over the last few years. A quote from Julia's mum also jumped out at me:

Most children, even babies, can be persuaded in some way. Not Julia, right from the start. It was her way or all hell broke loose...

Chapters cover a variety of issues such as growing up, avoidance, language and communication, friendships and relationships as well as meltdowns. Common worries for parents and carers of children with differences are whether their children will have friends, or how they will get on in school, and Julia writes about how she got on in these areas. Julia also bravely shares some details around adolescent relationships and vulnerability which are important for all parents and carers to consider, in my opinion. Being aware of the pitfalls has got to be a good thing.

There's a whole chapter on sensory differences which I think will be very enlightening to others, including a few pages on interoception, a sense that isn't yet widely understood. Julia also shares some good techniques which have helped to keep her sensory system regulated. Throughout the book there are many helpful examples of how Julia has experienced daily life and events and an in-depth look at different types of demands and Julia's responses to them. There is also a whole chapter written by her partner Paul that gives a unique insight into living with a person with PDA and the amount of care and accommodations which are needed. 

As a parent to a child with PDA who will grow up to be an adult with PDA, I've always listened carefully to what adult PDAers have to say (or write). It has been important for me to absorb these insights, to understand the 'can't not won't' aspects. I want to be able to provide support in whatever way I can for our daughter, and others like her who face more challenges in every day life than most people.
Blue back cover of the book Being Julia - lots of text including endorsements from PDA Society and Steph Curtis and introductions to Julia and Ruth Fidler
I devoured 'Being Julia' in just a couple of sittings and I highly recommend ordering and reading this as soon as you can - to be honest it is so good I know I will read it more than once. An extra bonus is that Julia has kindly included her recipe for the best ever chocolate brownies at the back of the book.... I'm off to make some right now!

Being Julia is available for pre-order now, from Amazon (out on 19th August).
Front cover of Being Julia book

For more information about PDA, please read the book shown below: 
* this is an affiliate link and I may receive a small commission if you click and go on to buy anything. It won't cost you any extra.
Book cover for Understanding pathological demand avoidance syndrome in children, by Phil christie, margaret duncan, zara healy and ruth fidler
(Other PDA books can be found in my 

To find out more about our experiences, please check out our 'About Us' page or the summary of our experience in Our PDA Story Week 35. If you are looking for more online reading about Pathological Demand Avoidance, the posts below may help.

What is PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance)?

Ten things you need to know about Pathological Demand Avoidance

Does my child have Pathological Demand Avoidance?

The difference between PDA and ODD

Strategies for PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance)

Pathological Demand Avoidance: Strategies for Schools

Challenging Behaviour and PDA

Is Pathological Demand Avoidance real?

Autism with demand avoidance or Pathological Demand Avoidance?

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  1. It sounds brilliant and I'm glad I've already pre-ordered a copy! I completely agree with you that the more we can hear and learn from adult PDAers the better equipped we will be as our PDA kids grow up. Thanks for a really helpful review.

    1. Thank you for reading this, glad you liked it, and I'm sure you will love the book!


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