I think it is 18?!? As I sit down to write this, I am exhausted…knackered…shattered. I have been up and down with PanKwake all night long. Over a dozen times. Every hour or less.
BUT through it all, I KNOW that my unusual methods are working…better than anything I have seen from the ‘experts’.
How do I know?
PanKwake apologized to me. She told me that she was sorry for getting me up so much. No excuses. No shifting the blame. Just a simple apology. For something she cannot even control actually. But she felt my pain…and expressed her remorse for causing it. That is pretty damned amazing for someone with Pathological Demand Avoidance. Accepting responsibility for actions.
Even more, she gets her role in this life. At one point in pure frustration, I lightly joked that she was a ‘pain in the butt.’ She smiled at me and said,
“But, Mommy, that’s my job in life. Being a pain in the butt and changing the world.”
I almost feel sorry for this screwed up world. Because this one is a force to be reckoned with.
So now let me begin this blog as I had intended…with the story of the moment when I knew just how far ahead of this game I really am with PanKwake.
PanKwake’s official diagnosis is high-functioning autism in accordance with the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association…the bible by which doctors and other ‘experts’ diagnose all mental health conditions).
Pathological Demand Avoidance did not make it in there. But that does not mean as much as you would think. It took decades for some things to make it in…and of course some things that were once in there like homosexuality (yes, it was once a mental illness) have been removed.
But I KNOW without any ‘expert’ telling me that PanKwake more closely fits the criteria for Pathological Demand Avoidance. So when the local autistic group offered a day long session on the subject by the PDA Society, I signed up.
But as I sat there listening, I quickly realized two things….
- These were the same strategies that I had learned years ago from my own research…what I had been doing all along. But more importantly, I saw…
- I was the only happy parent in that room…the instructor included.
That’s right…not being smug or self-righteous or braggadocious…But even with ALL the right methods and strategies from the ‘experts’, I had still managed to stumble upon the key which takes it all from survival to thriving.
What is that key, you ask?
It is was American self-help guru Stephen Covey called…a PARADIGM shift!
The whole difference between just surviving and raising happy, truly HIGH-functioning children with PDA, and holding it all together as a family is as simple as…
How you see things!
It is just that simple…
And incredibly hard!
To swim upstream. To stand stalwart in the face of disapproving society. To defend and fight not against your child…but for him or her. It is not as easy as it sounds.
The very first thing you must do is…
Throw out everything you have ever heard or thought you knew about being a parent.
This child is not some blank slate, tabula rasa, upong which you can write your hopes, dreams and beliefs. This child is a human being with hopes, dreams and beliefs all his or her own…incredibly STRONG ones too.
This is NOT a war with your trying to impose your will on theirs. You have to accept that everything your child does is out of some internal and deep-set need to control his or her environment…and not some personal attack on you. And if you treat it that way, there is only two possible outcomes 1) you will loose and create an angry adult or 2) you will break your child’s precious spirit.
In other words, you must do the unthinkable in terms of what society believes a parent-child relationship must be….
You MUST treat this unique human being…this incredibly gifted person…as your EQUAL!
You must see him or her as a gift from whatever or whoever you believe in…a divine treasure…sent to challenge, train and teach you every single bit as much as you are there to do the same and guide them.
And that is NOT as easy as it sounds, folks. Not just must you fight every thing you have ever been taught about parenting. But then you must defend those actions to the whole friggin’ world.
But the thing is…
It is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WORTH IT in the end!
The other problem is…this is not a short-term strategy, an instant fix, or a cure…
There is NO cure for AU-some!
I have been doing this for over five years now…and it has taken that long to see results. But oh what results!
At the same as with home education, I realize that as sad as it makes me…not every parent is capable of that PARADIGM SHIFT. Some, though they genuinely love their children, cannot unburden themselves of a lifetime of expectations and the need for approval from others. In those cases as horrid as this may sound, it is my prayer that these special blessings have the strength to withstand it all and not be broken.
But mine is the voice in the darkness calling to those who are willing, who want better, whose heart yearns for the success and more importantly HAPPINESS that we have given to PanKwake. And so I shout it from the roof tops to those that would hear…
There is a better way!
And yes, home ed is an integral part of that way…probably the only way to achieve this. And that is tomorrow’s blog….