Helping your child with PDA to play: eight strategies for supporting a child withPathological DemandAvoidance Syndrome at home


Josephine Carlile

Good Autism Practice Journal

Editorial comment

This­ paper­ aims­ to­ add­ to­ the­ growing­ literature­ and­ interest­ in­ the­ group of­ children­ labelled­ as having­ PDA­ (Pathological­ Demand­ Avoidance syndrome).­ Discussion­ and­ debate­ continue­ as­ to whether­ this­ is­ a different­ condition­ from­ autism,­ whether­ it­ is­ perhaps­ the­ female presentation­ of autism­ (as­ more­ girls­ have­ been­ identified­ with­ the­ PDA profile­ than­ boys)­ or­ whether­ it­ shares some­ of­ the­ key­ features­ of­ autism and­ so­ should­ be­ recognised­ as­ a­ part­ of­ the­ autism­ spectrum.­ A book has­ recently­ been­ published­ on­ understanding­ PDA­ in­ children­ which provides­ details­ of­ their characteristics­ and­ discusses­ some­ of­ the­ main debates­ and­ strategies­ which­ are­ likely­ to­ be­ effective­ (Christie­et­al,2011).­ What­ is­ true,­ is­ that­ children­ given­ this­ label­ are­ often­ very­ hard­ for parents­ and staff­ to­ work­ with,­ as­ they­ strongly­ resist­ the­ demands­ of others­ to­ engage­ in­ activities­ at­ home­ or­ at school.­ This­ paper­ describes the­ work­ done­ at­ home­ with­ a­ 7­ year­ old­ boy­ thought­ to­ have­ PDA and suggests­ that­ these­ children­ need­ a­ rather­ different­ approach­ to­ that typically­ suggested­ for­ a­ child with­ autism.

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