Yesterday I went to the PDA conference run by the National Autistic Society in Peterborough.
I stayed overnight the night before, leading up to this was very stressful for Dinky and Me. Dinky was emotional and kept crying, and I felt guilty for making her cry.
Lots of bribery later, and she let me leave the night before. It was a very long journey.
In the morning I facetimed Dinky, and she loved it. My dad had managed to get her ready for school on time! Dinky had left my dad to sleep in the morning as she was watching youtube videos (I will be working on her doing this for me haha).
There were so many people there!
Julia Daunt and her partner Paul came over to say hello. Which was pretty cool. Julia is a legend and her partner is just as lovely as she describes him to be.
Dinky’s teacher came to the conference and made a ton of notes throughout the day. During the breaks we talked about all the things that happened in dinky’s mainstream schools. She was shocked at some of the things said to me by teachers and head teachers (all of which can be found in this blog). She made me feel better about some things and really put me on the spot when it came to my not so positive thoughts about dinky’s struggles in school and my personal feelings on how her difficulties are recognised. Uncomfortable doesn’t begin to cover that aspect!
I really enjoyed listening to Phil Christie, Margo Duncan, Ruth Fidler, Jacqui Ashton-Smith and Judith Gould- one of my highlights was going to hear Julia Daunt (author of Me, Myself and PDA) talk with Ruth Fidler!
I’ve read Julia’s blog, but it is so much better to hear it spoken and live! She will hate me saying this- but she was utterly fantastic and I felt utterly in awe of her as it must have been really hard building up to the event and the demand and expectation of speaking in front of a room full of people. I was so glad that Ruth Fidler left her talk on time and didn’t take questions in order to support Julia, and paul was there to give his support too.
I don’t think much of the conference material was news to me, especially as I didn’t attend the research developments talk in favour of Julia’s talk.
Again, it was great just to hear the other people talk and to know that Dinky’s teacher had heard it all and would be feeding it back to school in a team meeting, not just for Dinky, but for other children in the school too.
When the conference finished I facetimed Dinky again who asked me to come home now, so I started the car and drove home!
Dinky was very happy to see me and gave me big cuddles! She didn’t sleep very much last night, she was up until 1 am and woke at 5am. She then tried to go back to sleep when she was supposed to be getting ready for school. She was not impressed with me. She had several physical meltdowns and I bore the brunt of these.
I really hope she has a better day at school.