Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome by Jane Alison Sherwin

The subtitle ‘My Daughter Is Not Naughty’ defines what I believe to be the real story behind Jane Alison Sherwin’s informative book, ‘Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome: My Daughter Is Not Naughty.’

Any parents of children with behavioural issues that need special attention will recognise Jane’s story; the challenge of the journey from cry for help to eventual diagnosis, the battle for the correct type of help for their specific problem, the desperation of loving this child so very much that you tolerate behaviours you never dreamed of experiencing because you know it’s just not their fault.

‘Am I a bad parent?’ is the torment behind the parents’ early years with their child, as is the need to explain to tutting onlookers just why ‘my daughter (or son) is not naughty’ and educate them as to the reasons why.

Jane Alison Sherwin’s book is a very real and honest account of her journey through Mollie’s early years to diagnosis, her final withdrawal from the state school system and how, with her supportive family network, the mum (and family) learned to adjust her expectations of a parent/child relationship to meet the very complex demands of Mollie’s syndrome.

Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome, or PDA as it is known, is a relatively new diagnosis to the group known as Autistic Spectrum Disorders with ‘The defining diagnostic criteria for PDA … an anxiety driven need to avoid the demands of everyday life and to be in control at all times.’ (Kindle Paperwhite Loc977/3098). As such, very little is known about it in the wider field and books like these go a long way towards helping people understand that apparently ‘naughty’ children isn’t always about the parenting. Unfortunately it will take a while for the knowledge to seep out into a more general field and it is likely to be those with personal experience who will pick up this book initially, but without these books by parents brave enough to tell their story, then maybe it would take even longer.

A very interesting and informative read. Thank you Jane Alison Sherwin.

I give this book 3 and a half stars.




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