Tuesday 14 September 2021

BAPS Awards Finalist 2021

This year I am thrilled to have been named as a finalist in two categories of the BAPS Awards. BAPS stands for Bloody Awesome Parents and Supporters and covers all bloggers who are writing about a variety of issues, challenges and achievements in the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) community, along with parents/carers and other individuals who may not be blogging but who are investing their time to help in other ways.
stage set with 4 pillars, each one with a capital letter full of lightbulbs on spelling out BAPS
The BAPS Awards were created by Debs who writes over at Life As-pland, along with a great team at My Family Our Needs. In 2019 I went along to one of these events and actually managed to end up on the stage - but only because I was collecting an award on behalf of lovely Miriam who writes at Faithmummy. I still feel incredibly guilty because I stood up on the stage as a winner so that Miriam would be represented and not forgotten, but I'm still not sure I did the right thing by doing that....
Photo of 7 bloggers on a stage, holding awards, with tickertape floating around everywhere. Steph is far left in a pink dress
This year's awards ceremony will be in November and I'm excited about the chance to dress up again after a very quiet couple of years at home. I might even get a selfie with the brilliant Mathew Horne who is the presenter this year. More than that though, I'll get to mix (maybe even hug) with all the other finalists and supporters, some of whom I have known for several years now. I started writing this blog over 11 years ago and had no idea of where it would lead. I'm always so pleased and proud when people message me to say that my writing has helped them and their families.

Last week I was immensely proud to read that one of my blog posts (this one) had been reviewed and shared in Schools Week by Gerry Robinson, an Executive Headteacher in the Haringey Learning Partnership.

This blog is vital for all school staff, especially those who work closely with students who have autism, Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) and/or any form of school-based anxiety. Steph Curtis is the parent of two girls, the youngest of whom has autism and, more specifically, PDA. She uses her blog to detail family life, including their experiences with the education system.
... this one is especially important to read at this point in the year. Curtis reminds us poignantly that for some young people, the start of a new academic term is fraught with stress, anxiety and despair. Not only that, there is a risk that school staff don’t see the extent of the distress young people experience, sometimes due to ‘masking’ or perhaps because they avoid school altogether.
It’s a timely reminder of why we should create spaces for parents and carers to have a voice in our school communities. Not only can they help us see what we’re missing, but with insights like these, they can truly help us improve.
This gives me hope that there are educators out there who are prepared to listen (and read) about our children who have significant struggles in life, and particularly with the education system as it is. Often it is attitudes that can have the biggest impact on any of us and it's a relief to know that there are understanding people out there helping our children.

It always feels a little 'cringey'* asking for votes for awards. I do this not for me personally, but because I know it is an extra way to raise awareness of this less well-known profile of autism. The awards are a chance to make sure Pathological Demand Avoidance is talked about and understood more, something which I am passionate about. It helps not only our family but many more families and children around the world.

I'm a Finalist in the Post with Biggest Impact and Truth about SEND categories, and I would appreciate it if you had two minutes spare to vote for me by clicking the following two links (honestly, it's very quick and easy to do!):
Teal coloured BAPS Awards logo badge
Teal coloured BAPS Awards logo badge

Voting closes on the 17th September so there's not long left! There are other categories too, each with four brilliant finalists, so please also go and vote for your favourites in these:

Thank you so much to everyone who takes the time to read my posts here on the blog, or over on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. Sharing is caring, as they say, and you are all the people who make a difference by helping to spread the word further. I couldn't have done any of this without you and you are much appreciated!

* Today Sasha called me a #Cringefest. That's par for the course for being a teenager's mum, right?! She often makes me laugh a lot with her choice of expression.

For more information about PDA, please read any of the books in my post 
Books about the Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) profile of autism 
Stack of book spines, all books about PDA listed in the post link given

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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