Information for healthcare professionals
The individual you see in clinic may not seem to quite meet the criteria for any one particular condition. Or they may have an existing diagnosis – autism, ADHD, anxiety, an attachment, personality or conduct disorder, or a mental health condition. Or they may have multiple diagnoses. Or no diagnosis at all.
But it’s very likely that you may find their presentation perplexing and almost certain that they won’t respond to conventional interventions or traditional techniques – indeed, these approaches often hinder rather than help.
Exploring whether a PDA profile of autism could be an underlying factor may signpost a way forward.
For more detailed information about identifying and assessing the PDA profile of autism please see:
- Identifying & Assessing PDA (Practice Guidance)
- About Autism & PDA
- What is demand avoidance?
- National Development Team for Inclusion PDA webinar
- What is PDA? booklet
Benefits of understanding the PDA profile
All research points to early understanding of strengths and needs, together with appropriate support, being key to positive long term outcomes.
Working with the PDA profile of autism is a completely different way of being, for the individuals and for me, but it works. My biggest challenge and frustration has been the system thinking we should be firm, not negotiate, not give choices, not recognise PDA. This has at times been heart-breaking for the individual and those who support them – Ben’s psychologist
Please see Benefits of understanding the PDA profile for more information.
Browsing the available resources may give valuable insights – some have been tagged as being especially helpful for health professionals. There are a selection of case studies, books, good practice and insight articles, along with research papers and webinars.
An example of good clinical practice in relation to PDA is the pathway being developed in Solihull.
If you are finding that mention of the term ‘PDA’ is a difficulty for other professionals, you might find that the Being Misunderstood report, the PDA Society statement about diagnostic terminology and the recent ‘evidence for consideration of PDA by professionals’ document to be helpful.
PDA Development Group
The PDA Development Group was an informal group comprised of practitioners with an interest in PDA from a range of disciplines (education, paediatrics, psychology, research) working in both independent and statutory settings. Whilst the group no longer meets, it produced two helpful documents:
Understanding more about the PDA profile of autism, and adopting a needs-based and outcomes-focused approach, makes it easier to think about how best to help. A low-arousal approach is a good starting point, and again there is a wealth of information on our website which provides helpful pointers, including:
- Helpful approaches for children
- Self-help, coping strategies and therapies for adult PDAers
- PDA-related suggestions for inclusion in healthcare passports
- Keys to care
This comprehensive and straightforward NDTi “It’s Not Rocket Science” report makes recommendations for helpful approaches and changes that providers of CAMHS inpatient services can make to improve the sensory environment for autistic individuals. It also references PDA in Bethany’s story (Page 37).
In addition, we’d like to draw your attention to these additional sources of information, topics or fields of study which we feel are helpful in furthering understanding about PDA.
For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The PDA Society also offers a free newsletter service for professionals. To subscribe to receive a round-up of news, resources and events relating to PDA for professionals via email, delivered quarterly to your inbox, please click on the button below: