About Us

I'm Steph, a 40-something mum who has two girls, now aged 16 and 14. This blog started on the day I visited a 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. Sasha had delayed speech but at the time we didn't suspect it was anything more than that.... Here's the link to my first ever post: Today - A diagnosis of autism?
stephs two girls in christmas hats, laughing
Steph's Two Girls, December 2017, 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, or profile, of Autism called Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). Asperger's Syndrome and Classic Autism are two other sub-types.

My post 'when we first discovered PDA' is a short summary of the early years; more recently I've written a summary of our lives since Sasha was born, looking at everything from diagnosis to her path through education. You can find it here: Our PDA Story week 35.

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 originally noted main features of PDA (and how it may differ from other profiles of autism) were:
  • obsessively resisting ordinary demands
  • appearing sociable on the surface but lacking depth in 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.

Research into this profile of autism is ongoing. For more detailed information about PDA, please do visit the PDA Society webpage where there are many resources and more detailed information on research and diagnostic criteria.

To contact me, please email stephstwogirls@gmail.com