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  • Writer's pictureMagdalena Jedowska

Strategies that Help Autistic Children with the PDA Profile- Interview.

Hello, and welcome to my Autism Blog. Today's post is on Personal Stories and Perspectives: Stories and experiences shared by individuals on the spectrum, providing insight into their unique journeys, challenges, and successes.

I am a teacher specialising in Autism. I have been teaching Special Needs children for over twenty-five years now. My passion for Autism and then PDA started a long time ago.

PDA Eureka moment.

One da,y I heard first time the word PDA. It was all new to me and it felt like all the puzzle pieces were in the right place. I started studying Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) with great passion. This gave me a better understanding of my students. I finally discovered why my teaching strategies worked well with autistic children but not with some of the others in the class. I realised that what works with autistic children will never work with the one with the PDA Profile. Eureka!

Since then, my teaching strategies have always been divided in two. One for Autism and the second one for the PDA Profile.

I have worked with many individuals with the PDA Profile over the years. Each one was different and very inspiring. I spent hours looking at and designing individual models which would work with my students.

Not long ago, I was supporting a teenage boy from London, who opened my eyes to PDA even more.

It was a long, challenging and exciting journey which ended with a great connection and friendship.

One day, I asked if he could list some strategies he would like everyone to know about his PDA.

The exciting moment has come! Please remember that we only talk about one person with the PDA Profile. The strategies he listed may not fit everyone. They only give suggestions to try and describe the behaviours he struggles with.

A child with hands in front of him.

'As a person with a Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) profile, I often find specific strategies to help me navigate the world more effectively. These strategies are tailored to my unique needs and may vary for different individuals with PDA. Here are some that work well for me'.

  1. Flexible Approaches: I respond better to indirect requests rather than direct demands. Using suggestions or giving choices helps me feel more in control and less overwhelmed.

  2. Reducing Pressure: When I feel overloaded with demands or expectations, I need space and time to process information. Allowing me the freedom to manage my schedule and tasks flexibly is beneficial.

  3. Visual Aids and Planning: Visual schedules, charts, and lists help me understand what's coming up and reduce anxiety about tasks and transitions. Having a visual plan makes it easier for me to navigate my day.

  4. Building Rapport: Creating a trusting and understanding relationship is essential. When I feel supported and listened to, I am more likely to engage in activities and discussions without feeling overwhelmed.

  5. Empathy and Understanding: Recognising my feelings and difficulties goes a long way. Instead of pressure, understanding and empathy help me feel more at ease and willing to cooperate.

  6. Adaptable Learning Environments: An environment that accommodates my sensory needs and allows me to work at my own pace without rigid structures is more conducive to my learning and productivity.

  7. Reducing Demands Gradually: Introducing tasks or activities gradually and gently helps me feel less anxious or resistant. Slowly increasing expectations can be more manageable for me.

  8. Negotiation and Collaboration: Being involved in decision-making and having my voice heard gives me a sense of control. Collaboration and compromise go a long way in making me more comfortable with tasks or situations.

  9. Maintaining Calm and Positive Reinforcement: A calm and supportive atmosphere with positive reinforcement for achievements helps me feel more encouraged and less stressed.

  10. Patience and Flexibility: Being patient with me is incredibly important. Sometimes, I might need extra time or a different approach, and flexibility in handling situations helps me manage better.

These strategies help create a supportive and understanding environment that enables me to navigate the demands of everyday life with less stress and resistance. Remember, strategies that work for individuals with PDA can vary, so being flexible and open to adjusting approaches is essential.

thank you blocks

I wanted to thank my student (he approved the content before posting and wished to stay anonymous) for his time and dedication to the project, the interview, and everything he taught me. He is an amazing young man who let me into his world and gradually started participating in our sessions. We went through a lot together, but I wouldn't change anything if I met him for the first time again.

If you are interested in the PDA profile or you have a child who was diagnosed with Autism, but you feel there is something more to it, please check one of the best websites about PDA, which provides help, support and resources.

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