Supporting a move in education


Supporting the transition phase and early stages of the placement

This article offers some practical suggestions on how you might support pupils who have a PDA profile through a school transition phase, and how you can start to build up their educational confidence during the early stages of their placement. PDA children can challenge school environments and policies, as school organisational rules and procedures can be difficult for this group of pupils. Traditional behaviour management approaches such as clear structures, routines and rewards, which are often successful with children with an autistic spectrum condition, are generally ineffective and may cause even more anxiety and possibly inflame situations for children with PDA.

These suggestions should be viewed as a toolkit of ideas and are not exhaustive. As with everything, there will always be exceptions to the rule. It is also important to remember that PDA is dimensional, and not all children will require the level and intensity of adjustments that are discussed in this article. Working with children with PDA requires a holistic approach, and it is vital that a school ethos and philosophy allows an environment that is flexible enough to embed collaborative learning, as well as considering how you can:

  • allow for an overall decrease in demands
  • offer a curriculum and pace of activity that correlates with a pupil’s emotional states and ability to engage at any given time
  • allow a pupil to have the maximum possible control of both their learning and social interactions (with pupils and adults).


Author: Jilly Davis