Hemel Hempstead woman's blog about neurodiversity nominated for BAP award

Amanda with her familyAmanda with her family
Amanda with her family

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Neurodiverse Adventures gives Amanda a chance to share her story and support others

A woman from Hemel Hempstead who created a blog about living with Neurodiversity has been nominated for an award.

Amanda Maguire, 46, from Adeyfield, is up for the Newcomer award for her blog Neurodiverse Adventures, at the BAPs Awards, which allow SEND bloggers to be recognised for their talents, tales and achievements.

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Amanda's blog is about being able to connect with others, and share her story, it was also a place for her to write down her ideas around neurodiversity.

The mum of two, said: "My family are all neurodiverse, meaning that we all have different or the same neurotypes.

"I am autistic, attention differences (ADHD) and dyslexic, other members of my family are autistic with a PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) profile and some are neurotypical, therefore we are all neurodiverse.

"Last year, during lockdown I began to research ADHD and autism, and I came across a lady from Australia and I ended up doing her course and it was really interesting.

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"I did not realise that some of the things I did were autistic.

"Actually discovering my neuro-type has led me to be myself and grow, to have a identity of my neurology rather than trying to fit into a society that is presently not made for us.

"From there I wanted to put my thoughts somewhere, and that's how the blog began.

"I knew that there were other people suffering and I wanted to help others, other people, other families, that's how the blog started.

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"It is based on trying to educate people about neuro-diversity and especially PDA, there is not enough information, awareness and acceptance about PDA.​"

Amanda met Danielle Jata-Hall, who is also up for two awards at the BAPs Awards, a few years ago and they discussed PDA.

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SEND blog by Hemel Hempstead mum nominated for two BAP awards

The PDA Society says many autistic advocates embrace the social model of disability and view a range of neurological differences as being part of a natural human variation (neurodiversity). A cluster of traits can be called a presentation or a profile – in some cases this can be quite different from what some people think autism ‘looks like’.

The overriding key feature is that the individual is driven to avoid everyday demands and expectations to an extreme extent – which is always rooted in high levels of anxiety to need to stay in control.

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Amanda said: "I met Danielle a few years ago and we were talking about PDA and it fitted the behaviour and actions of my daughter.

"It has been an adventure from there really, researching and then sharing with others.

"I think it is important to listen to adults who are living with PDA too.

"They are the minority of society and are can often be marginalised.

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"I got my diagnosis of ADHD and autism this year through the ‘right to choose NHS’ after finding out that there is a four year waiting list with the adult community mental health team.

"There are many others out there like me that are Autistic and they are not aware.

"I got my diagnosis with ADHD and autism last year, I think there might be other people out there that are autistic and they are not aware.

“For 46 years I did not know I was autistic, there was many times in my life when I was told I was depressed, and actually wasn’t, it is because I am autistic and suffered with burn outs."

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Amanda's blog has reached the final for one award at the BAPs Awards, organised by My Family, Our Needs - a place for parents and carers supporting children and young people with additional needs.

Amanda added: "I was shocked, I didn't think people actually read the blog!

"It's a nice feeling though, and it's great to be nominated, hopefully the blog is helping people.

"I hope through Neurodiverse Adventures, I can set an example for my children, families or professionals, that we grow and learn together, respecting all Autonomies and treating each other with dignity and respect."

You can follow Amanda's blog on Instagram and Facebook.

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