The PDA Society is delighted to announce that its longstanding Trustee Paula Webb has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2022, for services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in her role as Trustee of the PDA Society.

Paula selflessly channelled the knowledge and skills gained from parenting her own children, one of whom has a PDA profile of autism, into empowering thousands of parents and autistic adults to navigate the complex world of accessing diagnosis, understanding their individual support needs and ensuring they receive the right educational and social care services. She has also worked diligently to help the many professionals involved in the sector to understand and support PDA people more effectively.

Paula has volunteered in various posts – from helpline adviser to chairperson – in several autism charities for over 20 years. During this time she has been involved in all aspects of operations and governance, with a particular skill for warmly and patiently nurturing her fellow team members, but her passion has always been in advising, supporting and empowering others.

“Paula’s knowledge and experience is unparalleled, and her quietly passionate, dedicated and inspirational approach has helped improve outcomes for many thousands of autistic people and their families, especially those whose PDA profile means they are often missed, misdiagnosed and misunderstood,” comments Sally Russell OBE, Chair of the PDA Society. “The PDA Society and the wider PDA community are all absolutely thrilled that her enormous contribution has been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.”

Paula adds: “I am slightly stunned and deeply honoured to be awarded an OBE, and hope that this recognition helps to further raise awareness, increase acceptance and improve outcomes for PDA people and their families.”