We chose the panda to be our ambassador because, just like giant pandas, individuals with a PDA profile of autism need very specific support to thrive …
Giant pandas are very sensitive to their environment and require very specific support and accommodations to thrive. It has been shown how an integrated approach to their care – combining science, a genuine commitment from multiple parties and community engagement – is essential for success.
Similarly, helpful approaches for PDA need to be tailor-made. Conventional approaches based on firm boundaries and the use of rewards/consequences/praise, or approaches often recommended for autism (such as routine, structure and predictability), are often ineffective and even counter-productive for a PDA profile.
Low arousal approaches, which keep anxiety to a minimum and provide a sense of control, are good starting points when thinking about what works for PDA. A partnership based on trust, flexibility, collaboration, careful use of language and balancing of demands works best.
The PDA Panda symbolises these strategies and the P-A-N-D-A mnemonic is a quick reminder of the strategies as shown in our video and infographic below:
The PDA Panda features on our pin badges and car stickers which can be purchased from the PDA Society Shop together with awareness/alert cards and panda plush toys.