Supporting Students with Pathological Demand Avoidance
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Pathological demand avoidance (PDA) is a little-known profile on the autism spectrum that can cause problems for students if appropriate strategies are not used. Most of the strategies used in schools for autistic students do not work for students with PDA, causing an increase in demand avoidance and challenging behaviours. While PDA is increasingly gaining acceptance as a profile under the autism spectrum, it is little known in Canada and as such, schools that encounter PDA children may not know how to best support them. This capstone paper details the differences between typical autism and PDA, and the effects of PDA on the individual’s mental health, interpersonal relationships, academic success, and on the classroom as a whole. Strategies that have been shown to be successful with PDA students are described. One of these strategies – declarative language – is suggested as a focus for a professional development workshop for school staff with a detailed workshop plan included.