Panda Explosion #PDADay #Autismawareness

The day has dawned. It is #PDADay. For our family every day is #PDADay as we support Edward who has a diagnosis of Autism with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). For more about what this means see my post Of Pokemon and Dinosaurs and being Edward and the website Being Edward, where his mum explains a little of the excitement that is life with Edward. In order to raise awareness of this, often overlooked and misunderstood, condition. Martha began to organise a Panda for PDA Day campaign. It began with close family agreeing to hide pandas around the country, which were accompanied by information about PDA. Friends got on board, then it spread to friends of friends. Martha spent a small fortune purchasing and posting pandas to willing volunteers. We began to hide pandas on Sunday and there are many still to be hidden. Worries that panda finders would not enter into the spirit of the thing and feedback news of panda discoveries, were unfounded. We’ve barely begun and already the responses have been overwhelming. We’ve had pandas hidden in many English counties (with more to come) and today I will be hiding what we believe will be the first Scottish panda.

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One (we think it is Frederick Herbert panda #18) started his journey in Manchester, has been found twice and is currently on his way to Clapham Common. Another, Star, was hidden in a station and is now on his third train ride. Pandas have been hidden in shops and libraries, near schools and on footpaths. Panda hiders have told their friends and colleagues about the project and that too has spread awareness. The success, even at this stage, means that we will be continuing this throughout the year. It is obviously not sustainable to keep purchasing pandas, so we will be knitting and crocheting our own and looking to repurpose small charity shop pandas. Alternatively, why not make pandas from Hama beads or Fimo or paint a panda or a stone? – although we need to work out how to attach the information cards to stones! Anyone can join in the fun, anywhere in the world. We can email you the information details for you to print out and attach to your pandas and at the end of the week a printable label will be available on the Being Edward blog. We can also find patterns for you to make your own woolly pandas. We hope that you will then report on where pandas have been hidden, either on Martha’s website or on the Pandas for PDA Facebook Group or by tweeting @Being_Edward.

As well as raising awareness, Martha has set up a go fund me page to enable people to support the invaluable work of The PDA Society. She is also inviting those who make a donation to name a panda. Names vary from ancestral names (for my family historian friends), items from nature, book characters (potential for my authory friends here) and other weird and wonderful inventions – your panda, your name choice.

P.S. If any of my local friends have oddments of black or white wool, please leave them in my porch.