It is extremely encouraging to read the position statement from Surrey on PDA (January 2018). This position statement clearly illustrates how it is possible for local authorities, and supporting organisations, to acknowledge and flag up the PDA profile in diagnosis reports, as a signpost to appropriate strategies, whilst still working within the guidelines of the DSM-V and ICD-10 diagnostic manuals.

Even though this may mean a compromise regarding the exact terminology used in the diagnostic report, the key point is for the report to fully and accurately reflect the individual’s presentation/profile of ASD and signpost to the most appropriate interventions.

What does the report say?

​Whilst saying that PDA will not be diagnosed as a separate condition, very importantly it does state the following:

PDA does not appear as a separate diagnostic condition in nationally and internationally recognised diagnostic manuals such as DSM-V or ICD-10. For this reason, NHS professionals in Surrey do not make this separate diagnosis. However, we do recognise that this profile of behaviours exists and that often the children and young people respond better to a more flexible and non-confrontational set of personalised strategies.
We are committed to supporting all children and young people with autism. Autism is an umbrella term that describes a range of conditions, some of which you may have heard described as Asperger’s syndrome, high functioning autism, social communication disorder, pervasive development disorder or pathological demand avoidance. We recognise that each individual has a unique set of needs and strengths which we will support with a coordinated partnership approach across the voluntary and community sector, education, social care and health.

We understand that many people will remain concerned about the continued possibility of individuals presenting with the PDA profle falling through the ASD diagnostic net (due to their atypical presentation). But it is hoped that local authorities who do accept the validity of this profile of ASD will invest in commissioning PDA specific training to reduce the likelihood of this.​On the whole the PDA Society feels this is a very positive step in the right direction for greater understanding, awareness and acceptance of the PDA profile, and hope that other local authorities will be encouraged to follow suit.

​For further information on defining and diagnosing PDA please see – What makes a good diagnostic assessment for a child with a PDA profile?