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The Teacher's Introduction to Pathological Demand Avoidance

The Teacher's Introduction to Pathological Demand Avoidance

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This essential guide for working with PDA pupils outlines effective and practical ways that teachers and school staff can support these pupils, by endorsing a child-led approach to learning and assessment.

Beginning with an introduction to PDA and how it can affect the education experience, it is then followed by thoughtful, useful strategies school staff can implement to build a collaborative relationship with pupils and help them to thrive in the school environment. The activities presented aim to make children more comfortable and at ease, and therefore better able to learn. It covers key issues for children with PDA, such as sensory issues, preferred language and phrasing of demands, social skills, and recognising distressed behaviour. The chapter summaries and simple activities listed throughout make this a useful tool for busy teaching staff working with PDA pupils.

Clare Truman has been a special needs teacher for eleven years, and specialised in autism for eight. She is currently completing a PhD at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education at UCL London. In January 2017, she established Spectrum Space Community Interest Company, a social enterprise and alternative education provision which specialised in supporting children with a PDA profile.


 1. PDA - What Do We Know So Far?

2. Prioritising Demands

3. Presenting Demands

4. Designing and Implementing a Child-Led Curriculum

5. Invitations to Learn

6. Teaching Social Skill

7. Adapting Traditional Autism Strategies

8. Managing Distressed Behaviour

9. Hidden Forms of Distressed Behaviour

10. Managing the Needs of the PDA Student in a Class of Thirty

11. Eating, Drinking, Washing

12. Paperwork

13. What I Learned From Spectrum Space

Afterword; Further Support and Further Reading

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