Preparing for an assessment
If your GP agrees that your child would benefit from seeing a Paediatrician or CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service), you will receive an appointment for an assessment.
In order to best prepare for this assessment, all the points that would be relevant to a GP appointment would be equally valid for a consultation with CAMHS, paediatrician or other specialist service. However, in addition to these points, here is an opportunity to raise specific concerns that your child is presenting with a PDA behaviour profile. Many professionals will be unfamiliar with PDA, but all will have some knowledge of Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). It might be helpful to introduce your concerns by discussing that your child has certain traits or behaviours that are reminiscent of an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, yet does not appear to satisfy the full criteria or has strengths that do not fit with the stereotype. It is here where you can mention PDA and give details of how and why this describes and explains your child so well.
It is worth printing details about PDA to take with you. It is helpful if this material is from a variety of different sources, such as the National Autistic Society, as this shows that PDA is recognised and taken seriously by a range of organisations. You can leave this documentation with them and provide details of this website for them to access further information. For the actual appointment it is advisable to have a copy of the PDA diagnostic criteria and be able to illustrate the ways in which your child fits these. Remember, no one will be surprised to hear of a child who avoids demands, uses role play or can be behaviourally challenging. So what you need to show is that these (and other PDA characteristics and difficulties) occur to an extreme that is way beyond what would be expected for a typically developing child. With particular reference to demand avoidance, parents can usually think of examples of where a child's demand avoidance and anxiety can get in the way of an activity or experience that should be enjoyable for them. This helps to show that the child is not merely choosing to be difficult over things that they do not wish to do, but have difficulty controlling their behaviour.
It can also be beneficial to illustrate how learning about PDA has helped you with your understanding of your child. You might use examples of how your child responds better to PDA friendly strategies than they do to more traditional approaches.
This tool has been developed from research into the PDA profile. It is not a full diagnostic measure, but is an indicator of the likelihood of PDA being relevant for the child. The questionnaire can be completed by a parent or teacher. A completed test might be another useful piece of information to present to professionals.