The majority of children with PDA will start their education in Mainstream School.  The amount of extra support they will need will depend on their presentation and degree of PDA difficulties.

Every child with PDA is different!

PDA is a “dimensional” condition, it is on a spectrum of difficulty. Therefore every PDA child's needs, within school, will vary.

When your child enters school and your child has a diagnosis, or you know that he may have Special Educational Needs or Difficulties ask the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) to place your child on the school's SEN Register and ask for an Individual Education Plan (sometimes known as a Personal Provision Map) to be completed for your child. (IEP’s should be reviewed termly to see if the child is reaching their targets).

Other professionals and agencies

Below is a list of other professionals your child's school can make referrals to in order to obtain the correct advice and support to meet all your child's needs.

  1. Inclusion Support Team
  2. ​Autism Team Behaviour Support Team
  3. Speech and Language Therapist
  4. Occupational Therapist (Sensory Difficulties or Motor Skills)
  5. Paediatrician
  6. Educational Psychologist
  7. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team
  8. Social Services (Childrens Disability Team)

Remember, parents can write letters directly to the above professionals asking for support for their child too. 

Getting the right professionals involved can be done through various ways:

  • Meetings with the school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) who will ask the L.A. for extra funding (or advice from other professionals) for your child's support within mainstream school.
  • A Common Assessment Framework (CAF) – A good process to initiate for when a child with Special Educational Needs has difficulties within the school or home. Regular meetings are held and professionals are invited to discuss and resolve the difficulties. A Lead Professional is appointed to conduct the CAF effectively.
  • Multi-Agency Meeting – This could be a “one off” meeting or a series of meetings for professionals to discuss a child with SEN difficulties.
  • Requesting 'statutory assessment' which may lead to a Statement of Special Educational Needs / Education Health and Care Plan. See below.

'Statements' and 'Education, Health & Care Plans'

Having a diagnosis of autism or PDA does not necessarily mean that your child will need a Statement of Special Educational Needs, although many do. Statements will be phased out from September 2014 and will be replaced by Education, Health and Care Plans. If a parent or school feels the child's SEN would best be met through a Statement/EHC Plan, either can apply. Parents need to write a letter to their Local Authority Head Office asking for “Statutory Assessment” of their child's SEN. 

School placements

Children with PDA may have average or above average intelligence but their high levels of anxiety and need for control (and other presenting difficulties) may prevent them from achieving their full,  academic potential. Therefore there may come a time, for some children with PDA, to be placed in an alternative educational placement other than mainstream school.

Children with PDA may be catered for in a full range of educational placements that are available either within your county or in a neighbouring county, please see below:

  1. Mainstream Schools (most children with PDA will need some extra support via a Teaching Assistant and/or small group work)
  2. Mainstream with “Resource Unit” (usually ASD resource unit)
  3. Pupil Referral Unit (usually a temporary placement for children who have been excluded from school and are looking for their next long term educational placement)
  4. Local Authority Special School
  5. Independent School (small class numbers)
  6. Independent Specialist School   
  7. Specialist Residential School (38 week or 52 week placements)
  8. Home Tuition (funded by the LA)
  9. Home Education (educated by Parents)

Funding for an educational placement or extra support has to be granted by your Local Authority.

“What is the right school placement for my child with PDA?”

Finding a school that has a genuine commitment to inclusion, strong support from the Head Teacher and leadership team; together with a positive, creative, flexible and adaptable outlook.

When searching for the right educational placement for your child, ask the Head Teacher lots of questions, have a few visits to the school and make sure they understand the needs of children with Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome.

Further information

For more information on education for children with PDA, read Chapter 4 of the book “Understanding Children with Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome”.

​For more information on education for children with special needs, see the following web sites:

You may also find useful information and advice in our discussion forum.

Visit our education pages for information to take into your child's school.