All posts by vaamy

Autism ACCEPTANCE: There Is So Much You Can Do


Is the world ready for Autism Acceptance? How about you or your community? As another Autism Awareness Month passed us by, it seems pretty much evident that many are becoming more aware of autism. From all other areas across the globe, people and establishments move to raise awareness as a means to step-up acceptance level on autism. People organize fundraisers, special events, talks and forums, contests, art shows, film showing, and a plethora of activities to make April a month for humanity to take a glimpse at what autism is all about. I believe, we have already succeeded in the “awareness” level. However, Autism ACCEPTANCE by way of supporting both individuals with autism and families affected by such is still very much lacking.

With the autism statistics continually rising, the number of unfavorable (some horrible and fatal) incidences also amplifies. Many kids with autism still get bullied or hurt by those who surround them or by those who are tasked to care and keep them safe. This extends to adults with autism. Amid the awareness campaign, many establishments are still reluctant to hire them.

These are the realities in the world of autism. No matter how we deny them, such things are happening within our midst. As a mother to a young adult with autism, I am urging everyone to find ways to support individuals and autism. Acceptance can come in many forms and some of these can truly mean a lot:

  • Stand up for autism when the situation demands it. There are certain times when ignorance sets in. Being “aware” of autism gives you an upperhand. Take time to explain or to give others a chance to understand more about autism. There is no sense not doing anything for someone being lambasted openly just for being who he or she is. Let people learn how to accept autism in society by showing them.

  • Offer to help families struggling with autism. Families touched with autism can be challenging and, at times, exhausting. Rest is but a word to them. There is no day-off. The very least you can do is offer to help them. Why not pick grocery items or a prescription medication? Lending an extra pair of hands to a neighbor or a friend with an autism child will help keep their heads above water. Sometimes, an offer to mow the lawn or simply clean the piled up dishes on the sink brings astounding relief to others.

  • While families with autism gravitate towards each other, the need for greater inclusion in a community is a welcoming idea. Include them in your community events or special occasion celebrations by extending an invitation. Even the act itself can be pure gratification.

  • For teachers, you don’t need a special needs certification to be able to extend help. There are various tools which can be learned online to aid you in making a difference to a neighbor’s autistic child. You can give practical ways to teach these kids. Subjects like reading, arts and crafts, music and the likes can help add more fun to their lives.

  • For caregivers, make it an advocacy to transform services into affection. People with autism need not just your therapies but more so, your love for them. There are some who simply take their jobs as autism caregivers as more of a money-making option instead of a passion to give support to those who need it most.

  • For parents to neurotypical kids, autism acceptance starts at home. Teach your kids the many challenges autism kids and their families face. Give them a chance to see autism through your compassionate eyes. Some kids indifference stem from lack of guidance at home.

In everything else, take time to listen and to understand the plight of families and individuals with autism. Yes, the first few steps to Autism Acceptance are going to be awkward. At times, it may even feel like you seem not to do what you’re supposed to do. Trust me, even without uttering a word—you being there will make a lot of difference.

Photo Credits:

Watch out for Pamela’s Be SAFE Interactive program soon. Check this out > Be SAFE

#AutismAcceptance #Autism #AutismAwareness #CommunityLove #Support #iCare4Autism #LivingAutismDaybyDay

April Autism Awareness Month: Small Victories Go A Long Way

Me and John / Brighton Autism Walk / Adam's Hope
Me and John / Brighton Autism Walk / Adam’s Hope

A report once stated that autism parents have stress similar to combat soldiers. I cannot relate to it as I have never been to combat before, but one thing is for sure—the stress and pressure can sometimes snap any parent into two. This is even more so for those who are still waiting for a diagnosis or have just been given one. The confusion, the anxiety and, often, the over-thinking can put one on the edge. By and by, little milestones come your family’s way—and those will help take the stressors away.

Amid such joys being a momentary relief, celebrating milestones in our children’s autism is one of the lightest feeling to any parent. Sure enough, there will be more tough times than good times but the little victories we experience along the way should never go unnoticed. For one, you deserve it. When we’re too overwhelmed, we often take our own efforts for granted. Taking a short pause to pat yourself in the back will not only allow you to recognize the fruits of your labor but also as a motivation to continue fighting on.

Would you agree that self-motivation (endless supply of it!) is the one thing that allowed many parents to children with autism to gain courage every step of the way? Celebrating simple triumphs like learning to flush the toilet or being able to utter the word “Mom” or “Dad” allows a parent to reflect how much progress you and your child made—an exciting reminder that you and your child are capable to achieve more than you think. By recognizing your accomplishments, you can begin working on another step!

Remember the day your son or daughter is fully diagnosed with autism? Or that time when someone insulted your parenting skill over a meltdown of which you have no control of? It cannot be helped to feel awful about your own self. You may have wallowed in self-pity after that dragging your whole self-esteem to guttural level. Acknowledging small victories, however, can help rebuild your dwindling self-esteem. There is something astoundingly good to celebrate your own self. It will help steer you to a strong conviction that “you can do whatever you set your mind to.”

When you begin to acknowledge your efforts as a mother or father, as a sister or brother, as a carer or guardian, as a teacher or a therapist to a child or adult with autism, everything goes full circle. Doing what you do best out of pure love and dedication rather than as a sense of obligation will make the whole thing fulfilling. This is even more so when these pure acts of love deliver positive results.

So, this April and all days thereafter—go and do a happy dance. Laugh all you want. Sing an out-of-tune note or two. Plant a tree. Grow a herb garden. Do something positive for every achievement. Autism is not a problem that needs to be solved or a disease that needs to be cured. It is a way of life. It may be different but not less, and the best that you can do is to live a life of “AUptimism” and celebrate life’s small victories with a grateful heart.

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#AutismAcceptance #AutismAwareness #Parenting #PureLove


Cherish Every Moment – Great or Small


(An ideal day. Fishing in Belize and ending the day cooking up our catch.)

What do you cherish most in life? Do you celebrate memorable moments and let other memories go by? Or do you find something to cherish even during tough times?

As a mother to a son with autism, I completely understand what it must feel like to be on your wit’s end day after day after day. There may even be certain times when you have to let out an exasperated sigh due to helplessness. Yes, I have always figured motherhood as a tough call. But it is even more so when being one requires you to go the extra mile, the longer more arduous route every day of your life.

But looking back these past few months, all these struggles feel like a relief. When you have been into so much hardships and tribulations, it is almost normal to have the tendency to feel invincible, like you can do everything if you put your heart and soul to it. Before Christmas came, my resolve was shaken to its core. After a battery of tests, I was finally diagnosed healthy. But the ordeal made me look more closely at how I live my life and why, today more than ever, the need to celebrate all things big or small is a must.


Me and my bestfriend Willy before our Cave Tubing Adventure

The thought even become more persistent when just a few days after our Belize getaway, for instance, I had witnessed one of the scariest experiences in my whole life. While staying in the Mahogany Hall, a wonderful place to stay while in San Ignacio Cayo because of its strategic location right at the banks of the famous Mopan River, I bear witness to a drowning man. He was caught against the rapids, went under and did not resurface for quite some time. I tried to get him out but the rapids were too strong. Thank God, there were 4 other men on the other side who were able to get to him, performed CPR and then, brought him to the hospital.

Indeed, life is fleeting. Amid all the triumphs and defeat, we will all ultimately go into the abyss called death. But while it is inevitable to die, it is also important to live in the moment. The line that separates life from death is so thin—and that should put our procrastination aside knowing that each second brings you closer to death. It is important to remember that we only have this one shot at life. It is also imperative to see life as it is—unique—and that there is no sense comparing one’s existence to that of another. In the same ways as each autism case is unique so is every person’s life. At the end of the day, one thing remains clearer: live life in such a way that you when you look back, you smile and don’t utter a single regret because you have done it all!

Carpe Diem!

#Vacation #BelizEscapade #Autism #AutismAwareness

Adult Autism At Work: Through My Child’s Eyes

John, Graduation 2016

Last year was a big year for John and his autism. He graduated from Secondary Level with an award of Top Student for Open Communication in his technology class and was able to get an official Beginner’s driving license. We did struggle to find him a college that suits his interests in Culinary and finally found some hope as we join the waitlist in one of the colleges in Whitby. What made the year even more sublime is that he finally found a job—a glimmer of hope for individuals with autism.

Yes! You heard that right. John had started working as a Chef’s assistant in one of the most popular kitchens in Brighton—Dougall’s Restaurant. He was so happy that it almost tore my heart to pieces. My son, with his humble and sweetheart, is finally ready for the world. Honestly, I dreaded the day when he will be considered an “adult”. I worry about his future like other parents to kids with autism, and I believe there’s a lot of hope in this world for acceptance to finally be recognized.

John at his Culinary Tech Class
John at his Culinary Tech Class

Focusing on his work experience, I had made careful observations on how everything played out. If you are a mother or a father to a son or daughter with autism, and looking for ways to make your kid find a good job, here are some important points to ponder.

  • Consider your child’s interests and focus on developing their skills around such. John loves to cook and bake. He hovers around the kitchen whenever I prepare our meals. To appease his growing curiosity, I taught him some of the basics of cooking—how to peel and slice, stir-fry, steam, bake, and so on. He loves baking so much that he became our own pastry chef at home. (He makes the best apple pie!)
  • Allow your child to gain hands-on experience—outside the comforts of your home. Enrolling John in a community program to help nurture his interest in cooking and baking helped empower him to do better. He made it a point to listen well during the cooking school’s program. He would then, practice such at home with me in tow. It’s a great bonding experience—and one that allows him to grow more mature and patient.
  • Establish a reliable support network. There will be setbacks and doubts. At some point, something frustrating comes up and without supportive shoulders to lean on, things can easily get complicated with them. John has his family’s support as well as friends and their family members who push him to move forward, to realize his dreams.
  • Be vocal in your motivations. Individuals with autism may not speak or don’t make eye contact but they are listening. They digest every word you say. As a parent, it is our role to make our kids believe in their own potential. Aside from me and my husband, John’s siblings also help keep him on track through constant communication and inspiration.
  • Practice interview questions at home. They can breeze through exams but be interviewed for a job can be tough. So we practice at home. I would ask him interview questions and he found ways to answer. It was so downright hilarious at first. By and by, he become more “into” our little practice that I literally broke down with tears of joy streaming my face.
  • Look for both online and offline job boards. When applying, be straightforward about your autism. John specifically mentioned that he wanted the “boss” to know about his autism. I believe, he wanted to be accepted as he is and so we did.

There is so much that needs to be done with autism acceptance in the workplace. But the world is changing and becoming more open to a whole lot of possibilities than before. I have high hopes for John’s future in the culinary industry. So while waiting for his college admission, I do hope his work experience will keep the embers in his heart burning. And like what my Johnny said, “Be patient, Mama. I will give my best, my all on this job.” That’s enough assurance for me, for now.

Do you have other tips handy on autism in the workplace? Share it with us by commenting below. Feel free also to check out for updates from our Facebook and Twitter page. We’d love to hear from you.

Embracing Happiness in 2017


Life is never a bed of roses. This is even more so when you have seen autism eye to eye. I get that. There will always be challenges in our day to day living. Happiness, however, is a state of mind—and a choice. While March 20 is touted as the International Day of Happiness, you can actually celebrate “happiness” year-round, on a daily basis.

Happiness doesn’t come easy though. Like pesky gnats, annoying circumstances can push us to our limits that even the best stuffs tend to lose their luster. From financial issues to challenges in autism services and acceptance, meltdowns and adult autism woes, the idea of living life happy just seems so far out.

Over the years, however, I have learned how to cultivate a happy disposition. I have learned to acknowledge the good amid the negativities and that wherever life drags me, whether up or down, I know precisely that I am where I’m supposed to be. I keep a daily journal (in the same way as my book, Living Autism Day: Daily Reflections and Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage) noting down at least two good things that happened in a day. This is also the perfect time for me to think of new projects to enhance my advocacy, of letting people accept autism as it is.

Unlike before, I take in everything in a stride nowadays. I wake up earlier than everyone and practice the “no-rush” routine. I could stare forever in the glimmering lake water from my favorite window in our kitchen thinking nothing but pure gratitude of what life has to offer while offering deep prayers for my son and daughter who are away from home. It’s a common pain among parents, particularly mothers, to see children spread their wings and soar high. Yes, I have raised my kids well. They are grounded individuals who are deeply rooted to their ancestry.

While there are some potholes along the way, 2016 is quite great for John. Aside from graduating high school, he was awarded top student for Open Communication in his Technology class. He was also able to get his Beginner’s License in driving after trying out 4 times. Yes! That’s how persistent he is. But what made me and the whole family beam with glee is that he had started WORKING as chef’s assistant at Dougall’s Restaurant—doing what he loves best!  He is currently on waitlist for Durham College’s Enhanced Culinary Course. I believe that thoughts about my children and how far they’ve come made me feel grounded and complete.

The pursuit for happiness, for me, is never a conquest. Happiness presents itself to all of us every day. We always have a choice. We can shun it or embrace its full glory. One thing for sure though, it is when we give back and connect with others that often, make living life happy more worthwhile.

So, come and join me in welcoming 2017—bring it on!

Photo: 4Seeds 

Read more about living life as it is by Pamela Bryson-Weaver, bestselling author of Living Autism Day: Daily Reflections and Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage, on


#Autism #Acceptance #Happiness

Merry Christmas from your Living Autism Now Family

May God’s bountiful blessings shine down upon you and your family not only this holiday season but all year through!


Sending love from our family to yours.


Photo: Margaret Berg Art

Autism and Birthday Parties: How to Have Fun Without the Stress

autism parties
Children having fun in a party

My heart breaks into pieces each time I hear children with autism being stood up for their birthday parties. Like any other children out there, many kids with autism and special needs also want to have the same fun and enjoyment. Some may not be able to verbalize it or may feel torn between sensory overload and inner joy, but upon closer look, kids—with special needs or not—love to have fun.

It cannot be denied, however, that parents will be as overwhelmed as their child with autism. Yes, there will be vast amount of stress and energy to consider when preparing for one. The pleasure on your child’s face and the squeals of glee among his coterie will definitely wipe-out all the fatigue and misgivings.

I’ve had my fair share of preparing special occasion parties with John. While he may be what others call “sensory seeker” as he loves being around people and traveling, I cannot help but still feel overwhelmed on what specific aspects to prepare to make the shindig friendly for everyone. It’s a tall order but, trust me, you and the rest will get by. So, how do I always make it happen for John? Here are some tips which may apply to your own child with special needs.

  1. It is important to ask your child what he wants to do for his birthday. This is not about you or any other family member. Make this day count by asking him if he wants a party. Do not impose your own social meanderings to your child. Some kids simply love it while others would rather do it with just you, Dad, and his siblings.
  1. Ask what theme he would like to do with his party. Let your preparation revolve around his idea of fun. Would he want a pool party (insert safety warning)? a day in the park or a local playground? a zoo safari? a chicken, macaroni-and-cheese, or pizza palace?
  1. Once you have set the date, the guest list, and the venue, it is time to think of fun activities and games. There are various activities that will make all kids, with special needs or not, enjoy such as matching halves games, guess-that-smell station, sculpting clay, painting, making alphabet or glitter bottles, and so on.
  1. Go deep into the children’s interest. Prepare a sensory table for kids to enjoy sifting, squishing or digging into something. This will engage them to their sense of touch, sight, and hearing without feeling overwhelmed.
  1. When doing party at home, always prepare a battery of cartoon shows. Turn on your Disney, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network channels. This will keep kids glued to one place and may also give them a chance to relax.
  1. Do make sure to inform the parents or caregivers on these activities beforehand. This will help them plan ahead on how to handle things should a meltdown or any form of challenge occurs.
  1. Consider safe food options. Gluten-free recipes abound online. Some of your child’s guests may also have special food requests so make sure to add that to your invitation card’s RSVP.
  1. Transportation, restroom, adult helpers, decors, and other party needs may also be required. So, make sure to get these covered. Ask friends and relatives to help. A local autism community organizer may also be tapped.
  1. Remind who you invited at least a day before the party. Let your child know what to expect. We have heard a lot of horror stories, of guests not going, leaving your child groping for the hurt.
  1. Always have a plan B and, perhaps, a C. Three tubs of ice cream on different flavor with one being gluten-free or dairy-free. Different cupcake flavors on top of your birthday cake because someone might not want a sliced-up cake or ma want to blow his or her own cake. Yes, the most surprising things can happen. So, be ready.

While it is going to be a hit-and-miss to hold birthday parties or any other special occasion for that matter, we should never stop doing so for our children. Amid their autism and sensory issues, deep down they are yearning for that connection and enjoyment. The idea is to embrace stress like a best friend with the thought of putting your child’s happiness before your own. As it should be.. for always.


Looking for the best Christmas gift? Check out Pamela Bryson-Weaver’s Living Autism Day by Day: Daily Reflections and Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage. Available in Amazon now!

#AutismFun #PartyWithFriends #LivingAutismDaybyDay #Birthdays #Holidays

Autism Acceptance—How Hard Can It Be?


Photo: Psychologies 

It’s been quite some time now that I have been receiving emails from people whom I haven’t met. Some simply wish me well on my journey as a parent to a young adult with Autism. Others are seeking for help and guidance as well as resources in their own areas. It makes me truly happy to be able to give advice and connect to these people. Whenever I answer these mails, it feels like those moments when the early morning sun touches your bare skin. Tingling. Goosebumps. Exciting.

It makes me feel alive, accepted.

On rare occasions, I also receive discombobulating views on what I have written, posts being shared on social media, or about autism in general. Some people just have so much judgment in them that perhaps this is their way of unloading some of the burden. Trust me, it can hurt but not in a way that makes me wallow in self-pity or despair. It hurts me to see other people being hurt and hurting others—and they don’t even realize that they are doing it.

I want to help. Yes, I can be of help!

All these—my website, my social media presence, my book— Living Autism Day By Day: Daily Reflections and Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage, the Be Safe campaign, the symposium and talks, and another book on the works—are meant to be of service to others and to give them hope, that they are not alone. I am not perfect but I do try my best in raising awareness and acceptance of autism.

Whenever someone turns combative in some of my stance, my impression always turn not on annoyance but of understanding and compassion. Pain, fear, and other negative emotions even when hidden in the recesses of our soul always come into the surface. In our effort to hold unto them, we tend to have this strong urge to convince others to feel otherwise, to provoke, to cause pain—in the same way we feel it but just cannot accept it.

Handling emotional “talks” even with people we don’t personally know can be challenging. Aside from not really knowing their situation and individual behavior, cultural and emotional tendencies, people will always hold on to their judgment as final and non-negotiable. I fully understand how some people felt strongly against vaccine, medical cannabis, research, clinical trials, etc. I also understand how some felt totally in agreement of all these. The virtue of autism acceptance is for everyone to be accepted, no matter which side of the fence you are on. It is about understanding each and everyone’s struggle.

Whenever I feel being pushed and pulled in two opposing directions, I always remember Johnny’s words to me—“Everybody thinks. Not just in the same way at times.” I believe I can never make people be what I want them to be or to believe in what I believe in. I cannot also decide what is best for them. I can only choose for myself, for my son (if he asks me to) or for my family. All things else, the universe is so accepting, so tolerant, so happy in its own orbit. So, why can’t we be?

Holiday Tips for Families Touched By Autism


Fun Time with the Whole Family

As the leaves turn from green to orange-y yellow, many homes touched by autism are on the verge of bursting at the seams from the crazy mix of excitement and anxiety. Holidays have always been perceived as a momentous occasion for family and friends to celebrate good food, unlimited conversations, and fun activities. To many families touched by autism, the holidays can also bring in a lot of challenges not only to the kids with autism but to everyone as well.

So, whether you are celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Kwanza, Halloween, Ramadan, or Thanksgiving, it is important to understand how the sudden onslaught of audio-visual stimuli can put so much challenge to holiday celebrations. For families with a first-time diagnosis, I have personally recount how our family and that of some of my friends have gone through all the chaos and joy of preparing for the long haul ahead.

  1. It is important to tackle holiday plans as a family. Yes, you will need all the support that you can get to ensure minimizing, if not eliminating, disruptions to routines. If changes to established routines are inevitable then, it is also important to ask assistance from all family members to ensure that positive behavior be instilled.
  1. Plan ahead of time for activities. Do you intend to travel for Thanksgiving to visit family members? Are you expecting visitors in your home? Depending on a child’s capacity to understand and absorb the chaos that holiday visits bring, it is important that you communicate clearly certain expectations and for those people involved to at least be aware of your child’s needs.
  1. If you plan to go traveling for the holidays, do check if your local airport has Wings for Autism program. This is a national initiative allowing airports to give some sort of “rehearsal” for families and individuals with autism to better prepare and raise awareness among aviation personnel. If planning on a long land trip, be prepared to have items or materials that will keep him or her occupied while on the road. Make good use of handy gadgets at this stage.
  1. Create a visual schedule for your child. Our family loves to celebrate and travel is also part and parcel of our yearly schedule. So, what I do is plan ahead of time and brief John on what to expect from each holiday travel or celebration by using visual calendars. Turkey for Thanksgiving, Christmas tree for Christmas, and costumes for Halloween—these are just some awesome visual schedule to help relate your child to a particular holiday season.
  1. If you love to decorate like me, do it gradually. Never change the whole place’s ambiance—all at once. Be reminded that most kids with autism can’t take in flashing lights, glittery ornaments, or decorations with music. To check of your child’s reaction, allow him or her to interact with them beforehand in the store or a friend’s home. I would tag John along to the nearest home depot to check for his reaction.
  1. A family photo session is going to be an uphill climb at first. The key here is to set up everything in advance and putting your child last into the frame. This prevents him from going into a meltdown from all the commotion of balancing spaces particularly for families in huge numbers. If possible, go for candid shots and make it fast. John loves to ham it up for the camera now but, it was not that way growing up.
  1. As much as possible, do holiday shopping alone or do it online. The marketing ploys of many stores can be too much for children with autism. Think about blaring sounds, twinkling lights, or out-of-this-world decors. Feel free to check though for any autism-friendly outlets which allow families to shop an hour in advance preventing all that stimuli from causing your child to have a meltdown. Some shopping centers also have this “quiet room” to give kids with autism breathing space.

Do not be discouraged if things do not go according to your plans for the holidays. There are many ways to help reduce stress brought by the holidays while enhancing your child’s positive reception of the festivities. The key is to plan in earnest and make sure that initiatives being undertaken are pointed at creating happy memories together.

Do you have other tips handy for the holidays? Share it with us by commenting below. Feel free also to check out for updates from our Facebook and Twitter page.

SAFETY: A Main Concern to Individuals With Autism

Pamela during BeSafe Symposium in Fairbanks, Alaska

Children slip, fall, fumble, and do crazy stuff putting life and limbs on the line. Being curious individuals, they will find ways to unravel what pique their imaginative minds. They can crawl into hard to reach holes or dive into dangerous trenches just to get what they want, that is, when nobody’s watching. This is even more so to individuals with autism.

As parents, we all know that our children and their autism can put them directly in harm’s way. Some do not fear fire, water, cold, heat, and other hazards in the environment. Most of them are fascinated with certain things which, when goes unattended, can easily turn into a catastrophe.

Safety Concerns

Many causes of wandering or elopement emanates from some individuals with autism incapacity to feel fear or perceive harm. Some also is due to their incapacity to communicate. Children, as young as 3 to as old as 18, sometimes possess traits that prevent them to process danger. Many of them do not follow the typical pattern of how we perceive hazards or fear. Many are also incapable of communicating or doing self-harm which doubles the alarm signals.


Aside from the perceived environmental threats, we are also besieged with gruesome news on police altercation involving teens and adults with autism. Just recently, a therapist had been fatally shot due to inconceivable assumptions. Aside from the tragic circumstance, the idea that the cop was actually targeting the distressed man with autism is unfathomable. It was terrifying!

It is with the series of spiteful events that have happened that I am firm in my resolve to once again bring the BeSafe campaign to where I am at. Aside from having Be Safe Teaching Edition: Movie & Companion Curriculum, and thoroughly studying the video-modeling movie encompassing 7 episodes of how to react on police and first responders interactions, I was also trained and certified as a coach for the BeSafe Teaching Program in Fairbanks Alaska at the University of Alaska June, 2015. I had the pleasure of learning straight from the makers of this valuable piece of educational and safety campaign.

In A Nutshell

We cannot just put our children’s safety to the hands of others. It is high time for us to actively rally on this in our homes, in our communities, and in our local law enforcements. Do not hesitate to send me an email at for any symposium on the BeSafe campaign. It is high time that we do not leave the safety of our autism community to chance.

Watch out for my BeSafe Symposium soon! ~~ Pamela