This is a copy of the email I have just sent to my sons school regarding the PDA Webinar. Thought I would post it here in case anyone wants to use it.
I wondered if this might be of some interest to you and your staff.
The National Autistic Society ‘Autism in Education Webinar’ will next year, also include Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome (PDA) Educational provision and teaching approaches for children with PDA – http://www.autism.org.uk/news-and-events/nas-conferences/webinars.aspx
Although PDA is rarely written as a diagnosis on a statement of needs due to old research suggesting that a dx of Autistic Spectrum Disorder will cover such needs, and keeps it all under one umbrella; PDA is becoming better recognised hence, more and more children are being identified with PDA. It is really important to highlight the additional different needs of a child with PDA from say, the needs of a child with Aspergers or other sub-catorgories of autism.
Children with PDA are one of the highest excluded from mainstream schools each year in the UK. Many of those children end up in Pupil Referral Units, which is a completely inappropriate setting; some children with PDA are in autistic specific settings – recently the head from a well known group of autistic schools spoke out about his concerns that more and more children with PDA were being referred to autistic schools, he strongly believes that this type of setting is completely wrong for this group of children due to (in most cases) their autism needs being milder than and their other overlapping conditions which are complex and requiring a different type of support. Many children with PDA are placed in BSED/EBD schools, which often does not cater for a child with PDA, due to staff lacking in ASD/PDA training, understanding and knowledge.
PDA children may appear to outsiders to have explosive behaviours, a defiant manor, inappropriate language, the child might be considered as naughty, in some cases the child’s behaviour may be different in school than in the home, blamed also on so called bad parenting skills (even though the other children in the household behave… ‘normally’).
Explosive behaviour is a panic attack not a child being naughty. PDA children have extremely high anxieties, a varying range autistic tendencies combined with irrational/imaginary thinking, obsessive behaviours, with minimal understanding of social skills, cause and effect actions or even concept of time – ALL of this is then topped off with one other contributing factor, which research is finally catching up on, the fact that three quarters of children with ASD/PDA suffer from stomach and bowel issues such as IBS, excess wind, stomach spasms and often resulting in added toilet problems and impacting further on anxieties. The behaviour of a child with PDA may escalate dramatically before a bowel movement or if the child is constipated.
The staff at ………….. are wonderful with …………, but I feel there could be better understanding about his condition (I am continuously learning). I truly hope that your School will become the example of how to offer children with PDA the right learning environment so that all other schools can then follow your lead.
My thanks, kind regards with much appreciation