As it is World Autism Awareness Day, I would like to share some information on a lesser known type of autism, Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).
“Pathological demand avoidance (PDA) is increasingly, but not universally, accepted as a behaviour profile that is seen in some individuals on the autism spectrum.
People with a PDA behaviour profile share difficulties with others on the autism spectrum in social communication, social interaction and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests.
However, those who present with this particular diagnostic profile are driven to avoid everyday demands and expectations to an extreme extent. This demand avoidant behaviour is rooted in an anxiety-based need to be in control.”
Children with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) do not often respond to typical parenting techniques or even the usual strategies for autism. These approaches either do not work or make the situation worse. Effective approaches to best support PDA children are quite different and therefore it is important for people to understand this.
Natasha, who writes over at unschoolingaspies.blogspot.co.uk, says that being flexible is key. “The more inflexible the child, the more flexible (and creative!) the adult needs to be.” So true!
Amelia has one word of advice for other PDA parents: “patience“. I couldn’t agree more! Lots of it.
Further information on useful strategies can be found on The PDA Society website.
In terms of educational approaches, again The PDA Society website has an excellent educational strategies booklet from Positive PDA available for download here. The Autism Education Trust have also created this PDF document ‘Strategies for Teaching Pupils With PDA’ sponsored by Department for Education.
Kayleigh, A parent of a PDA child, also advises that PDA families “find people who are understanding”. I wholeheartedly agree. I feel that awareness, acceptance and understanding are essential.
On that note, I was thrilled when I found out that Fiona is running the Milton Keynes Marathon to raise awareness – and funds – for PDA. She has already reached her £1000 target for The PDA Society, which is amazing! Of course, further donations are warmly welcomed!!! If you would like to sponsor Fiona, go to her Just Giving Fundraising Page.
Can I tell you about Pathological Demand Avoidance? by Ruth Fidler and Phil Christie
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