About the PDA Society

The PDA Society started out as the PDA Contact Group, set up in 1997 by parents of children with a PDA profile of autism, and became a registered charity in January 2016.

We provide information, support and training about PDA for individuals, families and professionals. We aim to increase acceptance and understanding of the PDA profile within the concept of ‘dimensionality’ in autism, and to improve outcomes for individuals and families by focusing everyone involved on ‘what helps’.

The PDA Society is led and run by a small team, all of whom have a direct connection with PDA and many of whom are volunteers. We receive no statutory funding and are reliant on donations, income from our training courses and the small profits from sales of our merchandise.

Our activities include …

  • Supporting discussions around people’s experiences of PDA
  • Providing support to individuals, families and professionals
  • Campaigning for greater recognition of the PDA profile of autism
  • Providing training for different audiences
  • Sharing good practice and supportive ideas
  • Developing new resources and tools which can aid understanding
  • Collaborating with professionals to share knowledge and understanding
  • Organising an annual PDA day and biennial conference
  • Working in partnership with other organisations, providing PDA expertise, in order to improve services
  • Helping to increase understanding through research

The PDA Society is a member of the Embracing Complexity coalition and the Small Charities Coalition.

We’re delighted to be partnering with Great Minds Together and the NHS Health Education England Autism Peer Education programme – working together to increase understanding of PDA and what helps in order to improve outcomes for individuals and families.

The PDA Society Team

The PDA Society is led by 5 volunteer Trustees all of whom have a direct connection with PDA: Sally Russell OBE (Chair, External Affairs/Research Lead), Vikki Threlfall (Vice-Chair, Secretary, Comms Lead), Paula Webb (Enquiry Line/Events/Safeguarding Lead), Hilary Harvey (Admin/HR/Training/Forum Lead) and Jilly Davis (Education Lead). In 2021, the PDA Society appointed its first CEO Helen Evans to help further the charity’s mission and reach.

Our team of volunteers and contractors offer parent-to-parent support via our enquiry line service, moderate our discussion forum, send out our literature and merchandise and help at our events. We also work with a team of self-employed training facilitators who help deliver our training programmes and have contracted help for our admin, social media, website and enquiry line team.

We have several voluntary advisers including Dr Judy Eaton, Cathie Long and Harry Thompson and work with a PDAer panel including Julia Daunt, Sally Cat and Riko Ryuki. Sally Cat also provides graphic design services and Julia Daunt raises funds through her annual Christmas craft auction.

We’re proud to be finalists in the 2021 National Diversity Awards. It’s a wonderful celebration of the mutual support that the PDA community provides and a marvellous validation of our work.

The PDA Society in numbers

Social media followers
Website visitors per month
Number of people we’ve trained
People supported every month