Sunday 30 April 2023

BAPS Award.... Winner!

Wow. I'm still struggling to process that I am now a winner of a BAPS Award! Just over a week ago I was thrilled to be attending the awards ceremony but was shocked when I heard my name read out. I had to go up on the stage (which was difficult enough in my long dress and heels that kept catching on the hem that I had taken up, badly), and then answer some questions put to me by the awards host Cerrie (of CBeebies fame!). 
two women standing on a stage. Cerrie on left with blonde hair wearing long flowery dress, Steph on right, short grey hair wearing bright blue long dress and holding award

BAPS stands for Bloody Awesome Parents and these awards were set up by My Family Our Needs and Bringing Us Together with the aim of celebrating a certain group of parents:

"Once upon a time, there was a group of parents. They weren’t just any parents, they were parents who often:

Had little or no sleep.
Had to give up their jobs to attend appointments.
Needed to learn a whole new language of acronyms, sign language or braille.
Learnt how to stand up to big organisations.
Became self-taught experts on the law, education, social care and health.
These parents, are Bloody Awesome Parents."

Sadly I didn't say anything particularly profound or even anything that made much sense once I was up on stage (thanks to the small* amount of wine consumed beforehand), but I do remember making sure I said the words 'Pathological Demand Avoidance' very clearly. I also remembered to thank everyone who has ever read, liked, commented on or shared anything I have ever written - and of course a HUGE Thank You to everyone who nominated and then voted for me in these awards. You are all making the difference; I see this very much as a team effort, it's not all about me (and my girls).

I was so proud to stand on that stage alongside all the other winners, and extra pleased that two other PDA writers who I admire were there too - Tigger from Bridging the Neurodivide and Nicola from The PDA Space. I was being cheered on by previous BAPS Award winner Danielle from PDA Parenting and lovely Becca who blogs at A Boy Less Ordinary.
group of adults standing on a stage holding awards

I started this blog over 13 years ago and I have stuck at it for longer than any career role I ever had. Although certain aspects have been hard work at times (using social media to try to reach as many people as possible doesn't tend to produce quick results unless you are funny or outrageous, I've found) writing this blog has been a labour of love rather than a job.

The day I started the blog I didn't know very much about autism. I was on a steep learning curve. A few months later I stumbled across descriptions of PDA online and had what is commonly known in this community as a 'lightbulb moment'. Once I had learnt about this particular profile and lived with it for a while, I wanted to help other families find out about it too. My goal became helping other parents and carers find ways of living with PDA that could make life calmer and less stressful. Alongside that, I wanted to reach other people who did not live with PDA, such as educators and practitioners, and help them understand. I am proud of hosting the series called Our PDA Story, where over 50 stories of other families living with PDA have been shared. Many have found these helpful because of the variety of ages and stages of children and differing situations. Read more here: Our PDA Story.

Research into the PDA profile is ongoing and ever evolving - there is so much still to learn and to write. An additional focus for my blog in recent years has been looking into the education system and how it is failing some (many) children, those who are Not Fine In School. Sadly I think there will be more to write there too in the coming years.  

Next year my book will be published and I am already nervous about how that will be received. I have never considered myself to be a great, or even good writer - there are so many others out there who I am in awe of when it comes to writing - but I have tried to be down-to-earth and honest when sharing our story. I guess this award means that some people have found it relatable and hopefully helpful, and knowing that makes me smile inside. And gives me the strength to carry on. Watch this space!

Steph, white woman grey hair in blue dress, grinning and holding up an award and certificate

For more reading about Pathological Demand Avoidance, I highly recommend checking out my post listing some of the best books (there have been lots published now, which is great news!): Books about the Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) profile of autism

And just in case anyone would like to access these books and some other products I recommend for sleep and gifts directly on Amazon, here's a link to my page there (affiliate link means I may receive a small commission if you visit a link and buy something, but it won't cost you any extra!)

Finally, here is a little video of the fabulous BAPS Awards events that took place this year (it was postponed from 2022, for those with eagle eyes!):

*I'm under-exaggerating here, of course. Oops.

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