Parents, schools and health and education professionals are finding that the management strategies that come with an understanding of PDA are extremely helpful for children and young people in their care.
It is good news that thousands have been through training or attended conferences on PDA in the past year alone.
However, although there is increasing understanding amongst a range of professional groups, the 'medical model' which underpins the practice of clinicians has been constraining some, particularly those who don't have sufficient experience or knowledge of the condition.
Survey of professionals
A survey of more than 50 professionals by the PDA Society (2016) showed that half of the clinicians who were responsible for diagnosing an Autism Spectrum Disorder / Condition (ASD) were prepared to diagnose PDA specifically. In addition, others would diagnose ASD and then describe the demand avoidance difficulties within the 'profile'. This is an entirely acceptable alternative: the purpose to focus on the problems that are causing most difficulty to ensure appropriate management strategies and resources may be brought to bear.
The survey suggested we are reaching a tipping point with knowledge spreading quickly in recent years, but also highlighted some difficulties.
First, PDA is a relatively rare condition, so practitioners had generally only come across just a few individuals with the characteristics. In addition, many were not up to date with the latest research, which is again not surprising, given its infrequency.
The PDA Society is working to share research outcomes as they are published and to generate more materials to improve understanding of the condition. The series of case studies should be especially helpful for those who have limited experience of working with those with PDA, as they explain behaviours, what worked and what didn't.
Please come back regularly to look for updates and share these resources with your colleagues:
Reference Booklet for Practitioners