Petition update

The Dark Side of PDA: How Bad Can it Get? (And the Harmful Ignorance by Those in Authority)

Autistic Parent
United Kingdom

Jun 7, 2018 — Dear Supporters,

this anonymous case I will detail, is a shocking reality. It tells of how the extreme negative behaviours that can be present in PDA, can cause untold damage, especially when IGNORANCE of PDA as a condition is evident by those in authority.

This lady, who we shall call Sally, is mother to a young adult teenager with PDA, who we shall call Jane. Jane, who has a diagnosis of PDA, has a history of spontaneous sexualised conversation towards her family, which is part of the more negative behaviours that can result from PDA. Sally, separated from Jane's dad, has faced all the challenges that raising a PDA child brings, has tried to be there for her daughter, but unfortunately had a nervous breakdown not long before this scenario occurred. Jane seems to blame Sally for not being as emotionally available during the period of her breakdown as she usually was, this may have been a trigger for the false accusations she then made.

Jane went to live with her father and out-of-the blue made false allegations of childhood sexual abuse against her mother, to her utter shock. A police report was filed. Sally was arrested and placed on endlessly renewed police bail. A case is being built against her and the police are not listening to her protestations of innocence.

Jane has befriended people who have seemingly encouraged her tale of abuse. She has been treated as a victim, by counsellors and the police, who have accepted her allegations as fact and confirmed to her that she has been abused. Jane's fantasies and lies are being given a lot of attention, which would appeal to her need for control.

Sally's parents, Jane's grandparents, have submitted statements to the police regarding Jane's history of sexualised commentary. They have explained how innocent events have been distorted and others fabricated. But the police are convinced they have got a genuine abuse case and are pursuing it as such. Innocent family photographs are being scrutinised for signs of abuse.

Sally's own parent put a thread on the PDA Society forum explaining what's happened:

And here is another similar thread from a different family:

The police have told Sally, that she is MAKING UP her daughter's PDA! They don't understand it's an ASD sub-type, or how serious PDA behaviours can get. Let's face it, the general understanding of autism in society is abysmal, letalone PDA. And this is a time when it REALLY matters that there is awareness and understanding. To unquestioningly take at face value, the allegations of someone with a neurodevelopmental disorder, with no evidence, without analysing the traits of their condition and how they impact on the validity of their allegations is appalling police work.

"It is important for lawyers to recognise that some people with a learning disability can be more easily led during questioning due to suggestibility (being easily persuaded), acquiescence (accepting what the other person says) or confabulation (creating false statements or memories)."

Sally is devastated and has already attempted suicide once as a direct result of the situation. Not because she is guilty, but because despite the horrific false accusations her own daughter has made against her, she misses her daughter, is heart-wounded by the accusations and is distraught that her daughter has cut all contact with her.

It doesn't get much worse than this. And she is facing a conviction, and jail time, based on the word of a young lady with a specific neurodevelopmental condition, which frequently has as part of it's profile, lying, confabulation, false blaming, vengefulness and fantasising. Not to mention also vulnerable to manipulation by others who might encourage the fantasising/lying.

Those with PDA often have high IQ and vocabulary such that they can also, especially with the potential to be manipulative, be very plausible. It makes for a terrifying and horrible place for a parent to be in. This issue has to be addressed. Many parents have been falsely accused by their PDA child as The PDA Society has taken calls on this. Few are so serious as this case however. Here is more information on relevant the traits of PDA:

"In contrast, other features characteristic of PDA very clearly differentiated PDA-like individuals within the ASD group. These included (amongst others) apparently manipulative behaviour, difficulties with other people, harassment of others, fantasising, lying, cheating, stealing and socially shocking behaviour."

PDA Presentation by Glamorgan Council. See slide 15: Care/Disability/Autism Resources/Tier4PDA.pps

"6 engaged in fantasy communications such as poison pen letters, fantasy love letters, hoax phone calls and letters, false accusations to the police, and obscene stories" examination of the behavioural features associated with PDA using a semi-structured interview - Dr E O'Nions.pdf

"One failed to appreciate why she couldn’t steal. Many tried to pass on the blame for their own bad behaviour to others, or denied things even when caught red handed. Several made false accusations (“She will make things up and tell tales to get her brother into trouble, and then wants me to tell him off in front of her”)".

Those with PDA of course have positives about them the same as anyone else, but it's a disorder that can have serious consequences for the person with PDA and their families and we cannot forget that.

So what is a parent to do in this situation? There is a DESPERATE need for recognition of the profile and severity of PDA, the harm to families without it, is simply too great. Now you know how horrendous it can be, please do all you can to help get the 11k signatories from the Government petition, to sign this one. Maybe the publicity will help this poor lady and prevent the same happening to others in this situation.

Thank you on behalf of all PDA families.

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