Developing expertise and strategies around Pathological Demand Avoidance
Pathological Demand Avoidance is something that as a school we had little or no understanding of. A colleague that had done some wider reading suggested that a child entering my class in September as a year 11, presented features typical of those with PDA. This child had spent years 7-10 roaming corridors and being so overcome by anxiety that he often lashed out or found himself dealing with inner turmoil when greeted or asked to participate in something and it was time to change our way of thinking. I did some reading about the condition and it's differences to autism and noted the indirect approach needed. I found out the child's interests (Fresh prince of Bel Air) and subtly let him know that I noticed and shared this by humming/singing/whistling the theme tune in passing. This caught his attention and encouraged him to make the first interaction. Further study in the form of the national PDA conference allowed us to develop our expertise and changed the way staff worked with PDA students at our school. We built on their interests and gave them tasks in an indirect way to appease their need for control and reduce the anxiety faced by demand of any kind. Attached is an information sheet detailing background, strategies and progress. Three years later this has continued and the student is now experiencing a very successful post-16 education where he is engaged in the vast majority of sessions.
Age Range (select all that apply) : 11-14, 14-16, 16+
Approximate number on roll : 100-300
Region : Yorkshire and Humberside
School Website : http://www.southfieldgrange.org.uk/southfield
Name of person submitting information : Tom Gilbody
Role of person submitting information : Teacher