PDA Talk - Specialist Consultation and Support Counselling

PDA Talk - Specialist Consultation and Support Counselling

Providing online consultation to adults seeking to improve the lives of children with a PDA profile. Sally is an autistic counsellor.

PDA Talk works with parents, schools, health professionals and other collaborators in a childโ€™s life. Assisting clients to develop a deeper understanding of the PDA profile and adopt an approach suited to the individual childโ€™s unique needs. Holding space for parents to process their own emotions, as they either begin or continue on with their PDA journey. PDA Talk was born out of a deep desire to

Operating as usual


Only 3 days to go until the 2024 PDA Space Summit! There are 41 Speakers ready and waiting to share their experience and knowledge with you. Included is a Dad's corner featuring Australian Iain Girvan from the Facebook Support Group 'PDA Father Figures'.

Each day's webinars are accessible for a 24 hr period for FREE, however registration is required. Alternatively, a Back Pocket Pass can be purchased for approx $105 AUS (depending on exchange rate). The Back Pocket Pass allows for 12 mths access to every single webinar, including full transcripts.

You can register for FREE, purchase the Back Pocket Pass and/or view the full line up of speakers by clicking the affiliate link below:


Whoops! It's been 11 mths since I posted. Luckily, I have a good excuse. I've been busy being a Unicorn ๐Ÿฆ„.

Spontaneous feedback is the best and always so appreciated. This comment from one of my long-term clients particularly touched me.

I welcome all kinds of feedback. Especially any tips or pointers to improve your experience in session. We are all different. I am here for you and keen to create a comfortable space to fit your needs.

Image Description: Five white stars and numerous silver splodges on a pink and white watercolour background. The words 'PARENT FEEDBACK' and 'You are my Unicorn' are placed centrally beneath a Unicorn motif. A dark pink brush stroke separates this from the website address below 'www.pdatalk.com.au'.


If you discovered the PDA Summit a little bit late or were just too busy to take advantage of the free access, you can still watch/listen to every single webinar. There were so many amazing speakers and topics, with this year's theme being inclusion. The Back Pocket Pass provides access until 30 April 2024 and can be purchased via the link in comments:


The PDA Space Summit goes live tonight at 7pm AEST. There are 30 speakers spread across 3 days. Free registration is open all weekend which gives 24 hr access to each day's webinars. OR purchase the Back Pocket pass to access the entire summit at your leisure until end of April 2023. I can't wait to hear your feedback. Link to register in comments.


Sharing this amazing opportunity to participate in the latest survey from the PDA Society. I participated in the previous survey which was carried out 5 yrs ago and resulted in the groundbreaking report โ€˜Being Misunderstoodโ€™ -https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BeingMisunderstood.pdf
The โ€™Being Understoodโ€™ survey takes 15-30 minutes to complete and is open until 31st May.

Welcome to day 6 of PDA Action Week ๐Ÿผ๐ŸŒˆ Have you seen our โ€˜Being Understoodโ€™ survey? https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CXGSCBT

We'd like to hear from as many people as possible to understand what life is like for the PDA community and use what we learn to influence positive changes. Please visit the link above to take part and share your lived experience of PDA. Thank you.


PDA day falls on the second Wednesday in May, which is 10th May this year - today! I had meant to prepare a post, but now Iโ€™m glad I didnโ€™t because I couldnโ€™t have said it as well as Riko's PDA page

Happy PDA Day (10th May 2023).

PDA stands for Pathological Demand Avoidance, which is a neurological difference where our brains see any action we try to take as a danger that we must avoid at any cost.

We end up avoiding everyday activities like getting dressed, tidying up, going out, as well as things we want to do like hobbies, as well as internal needs such as needing to eat and use the toilet.

We avoid in a variety of ways, from outright refusal or procrastination, to physically fighting, running away or breaking down emotionally.

The PanDA is the PDA mascot because pandas, like PDAers, need a unique environment in order to thrive.

When our environment is adapted to meet our needs, we PDAers are better able to manage the activities we need and want to do.

This means reducing unnecessary demands, changing the way demands are presented so they appear less of a threat to us, respecting our autonomy, giving us control over our environment and lives, and giving us time and space to do what we can when we can.

We PDAers are able to do far more when others around us understand that we can't help not being able to do things.

We don't avoid stuff because we want to, and it's certainly not a choice nor deliberate. Our brain literally prevents us from doing things.

We can have a lot of anxiety, we can struggle with rejection sensitivity and fear of the unknown, we might have a strong need for control, and we may have low self-esteem.

PDA is a disability that affects our whole lives. Many of us cannot cope in education or work, and struggle to manage relationships and friendships too.

The things we want to do can often be harder for us to manage. Pressure from outside and having things like time restraints and no escape routes can make things harder for us.

When we feel trapped, overwhelmed, anxious or stressed, we may react in extreme ways. This is because our brain sees the situation as life threatening and is trying to protect us from this danger.

We need support and understanding from those around us.
It's not easy being PDA, but things are better when people recognise our disability and adapt accordingly.

Today is PDA Day, and this week is PDA Action Week.
Now is a great time to learn more about PDA and help make the world a better place for all of us.

The PDA Society website has some great information and resources available.


This year I will be speaking at the world's largest PDA Summit along with fellow Australian's Christina Keeble Consulting, Theresa Kidd, PhD and Kristy Forbes - Autism & ND Support. The countdown is on! To register for free weekend access and find out more, simply follow this link (also in comments): https://www.thepdaspace.com/a/2147529109/d2oAbhR4

Photos from PDA Talk - Specialist Consultation and Support Counselling's post 09/02/2023

Today I just happened to be strolling past the local art gallery and felt drawn inside. As I entered the building, I was pleasantly surprised to see the artwork 'Your rules are not for me'. It really resonated and inspired me to reflect on the often-complex interplay between rules and PDA. As is the case with many PDA topics; a paradox exists.

Rules are usually put in place by individuals and organisations who are โ€˜in controlโ€™ and hold power. They tend to be enforced through negative consequence. The mere existence of a rule, suggests that someone else is in charge and therefore directly challenges the autonomy of a PDAer. Yetโ€ฆ at the same time, rules can create a more predictable environment, so it can be of benefit if others follow the rules.

Question - Why is my child so triggered by others not following the rules?
Answer - Perception of injustice.
The child remembers every single distressing moment when they were pushed and threatened to follow the rules. To see another child not follow the rules, is perceived as being unfair, negates their trauma and is taken as a personal affront.

The rules most likely to trigger a threat response, include those which are:
โ€ข Infringing on the childโ€™s rights or needs
โ€ข Developed without consultation
โ€ข Presented without warning
โ€ข Communicated authoritarianly
โ€ข Inflexible
โ€ข Illogical

TERMS AND CONDITIONS (Exceptions to the rule!)
Some PDAer's are strict rule followers and cannot be swayed to bend the rules, even a little. Usually this is due to the child's attempts to blend with their environment and can be viewed as a survival mechanism.

PDAer' are more likely to follow rules when:
โ€ข They can see how the rule benefits them personally
โ€ข They have input into creating the rules
โ€ข They understand that the rule has been imposed by someone other than the person they are in relationship with


Slides have a yellow, pink and blue background at the edges. Content is typed on white crumpled paper. Title image features artwork displayed on a pink background. On the right of the artwork, positioned vertically and in pink font, are the words โ€˜JULIE FRAGER ~ YOUR RULES ARE NOT FOR ME ~ 2017 ~ OIL ON PAPERโ€™. The artwork itself is set on off-white portrait shaped paper. Upper Case letters of different colours fill the paper. There are no spaces between the words which read โ€˜YOUR RULES ARE NOT MY RULES ARE NOT YOUR RULES ARE NOT MY RULES ARE NOT YOUR RULES ARE NOT FOR MEโ€™.

Photos from PDA Talk - Specialist Consultation and Support Counselling's post 05/12/2022

PDA and Declarative Language

Communication style is a key component of a PDA centred low-arousal approach.

There are numerous adjustments which can be made when communicating with a PDAer, for example, externalising demands, using collaborative language and a conversational style.

The purpose of such adjustments is to reduce the likelihood of triggering an automatic threat response, allowing our children to experience safety in both their environment and relationships. This in turn contributes to lowered levels of anxiety.

Declarative language is one of many adjustments we can make to our communication style when adopting a PDA centred approach and complements many other techniques.

What Is It?

When using declarative language, we quite literally declare something. This might be information, a statement of fact or our own thoughts and observations.

Declarative language does not ask questions. It does not require a response. It is non-demanding.

Why Use It?

Safety and Acceptance - meets the child where they are at. Provides space for them to be comfortable with themselves. Validates feelings.

Connection - gently expands awareness of surrounding environment and consideration of another's perspective. Builds on relationships through shared experience.

Independent Problem Solving - engages curiosity. Draws attention to the bigger picture. Informs and facilitates independent problem solving.

Empowerment - builds self-esteem as child develops awareness of themselves, others and the world around. Develops confidence in ability to figure out 'next steps' and take independent action.

How to Do It?

Turn questions into comments:

Have you picked up your lunchbox? BECOMES I left your lunchbox on the kitchen bench.

Which story shall we read tonight? BECOMES I wonder which story you will choose tonight.

Turn directions into observations:

Take a jumper with you. BECOMES It feels extra cold today. I think I will grab my jumper.

It's time to feed the dog. BECOMES The dog seems to be wanting something.

Tips to Remember

Evaluate whether the child is attending to you before speaking.

After making your declaration, allow ample processing time before interrupting this with further speech.

Break information into smaller chunks if the child appears to experience difficulty with comprehension.

Avoid the temptation to follow up with a question.

Be patient. It takes time for adult and child to settle into a new rhythm of communication. In the longer term, both parties are likely to engage more openly and flexibly.

Further Information

'The changes start with the adult and then shift to the child. You are modelling in a heartfelt way what you truly want the child to learn: how to be a patient, understanding, communication partner who hears the other person and thoughtfully responds'.




Slides have a blue spectrum textured background. Title slide is in pink font. Content is typed in grey font on white curved text boxes. Pink font is used to highlight subheadings and bullet points. The final slide features a black rectangular shaped quote box and photo of the โ€˜Declarative Language Handbookโ€™ by Linda K. Murphy.


Talk of self-care can sometimes increase our feelings of alienation from the rest of the world.

Perhaps itโ€™s not possible for us to take a walk, or even soak in the bath, due to the nature of our caring role. Such well-meaning suggestions may highlight to us that what others take for granted, is out of our reach.

If new to PDA, we may feel like the world is crumbling around us. Nothing is as we expected it to be. The future is unknown.

Yet, if we dig beneath the surface, often we can still find things to be grateful for. It could be a drawing your child gave you, that one person who โ€˜gets itโ€™, the smile on your dogโ€™s face when you wake up, or the home delivery grocery service.

Research has shown that gratitude can lift our moods and increase overall health and wellbeing. Most importantly, gratitude is easily accessible.

The simple daily practice of writing down 3 things we are grateful for, can have a profound impact. As each day progresses and we consider what to include in our journal, our attention is shifted to the positives in our life. Reading back over the gratitude journal can be an uplifting experience.

It might be possible to involve your children in this practice. Perhaps they are able to help with suggestions, as you โ€˜struggle to findโ€™ 3 things you are grateful for. Or maybe they would like to try and name 3 things as part of their own daily routine. Itโ€™s totally okay if they would prefer to pick a different number.

Have you ever kept a gratitude journal and found benefit in this? Whatโ€™s something you are grateful for?

Image Description: The words โ€˜What are you grateful for?โ€™ are typed in grey font on a cream background. Pink petals and flowers are scattered in a circular formation around the words.


My daughter recently made the choice to push through her own discomfort in an effort to help other PDAers.

Iโ€™m so glad Rosa put her hand up for this opportunity. She was able to have her say about what PDA is, what helps her and hinders and what she wants others to know.

Thanks so much to Kathy Hoopmann Author for happily accommodating Rosas communication needs.

Please note these posts were shared with Rosaโ€™s full consent.

Recently I had a special zoom chat with Rosa, a 17 year old PDAer with selective mutism. She preferred not to have her camera on and spoke via her mother, Sally from PDA talk - Specialist Consultation and Support Counselling but she gave me some very personal insights into her world of Pathological Demand Avoidance and the things that help her navigate through life. ๐Ÿ™‚


Guess who Iโ€™ve been chatting to? Award winning Australian author Kathy Hoopmann!

Kathy has written over twenty books including the much loved All Dogs have ADHD, All Birds have Anxiety and All Cats are on the Autism Spectrum. Kathy is now working on her next book, to be published in 2023 โ€“ the topic is PDA.

As part of the research phase, Kathy is diving deep into the PDA community. I was fortunate to be introduced to Kathy by Tracey Churchill from PDA Australia

It was my great pleasure to zoom call last Friday and discuss all things PDA. I have no doubt this book will bring further awareness and acceptance to the PDA profile. The book is in great hands, and I just can't wait to find out which animals might feature. Any ideas? ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿฆ„๐Ÿ๐Ÿฆ“๐Ÿ˜

Image Description: a pale blue background with the words โ€˜Guess who Iโ€™ve been chatting to?โ€™ written in colour at the top. A photo of Sally appears on a laptop on the left and a photo of Kathy on a laptop on the right. Between the laptops are two speech bubbles. Sally and Kathy both have white skin and dark hair. Sally wears a lilac-coloured top and Kathy wears a black one. At the bottom of the image are cartoon images of two girls reading books.

Photos from PDA Talk - Specialist Consultation and Support Counselling's post 05/10/2022

As parents of PDAers we may be required to liaise with numerous services, therapists and other providers. Yet, we don't tend to have glossy email signatures advertising the importance of our role. Nor do we get to put on another hat and take two weeks leave, setting the email to autoreply 'out of office'. We are not paid for our time and we certainly don't chase people for fun.

The PDA profile is still relatively unheard of and commonly misunderstood. As a result, our help seeking interactions do not always have the outcomes we desire. In some cases, they can leave us and our children traumatised.

I acknowledge what it takes just to โ€˜show upโ€™ and I thank you for trusting me.

Photos from PDA Talk - Specialist Consultation and Support Counselling's post 29/08/2022

Separation anxiety is a common theme to come up in parent sessions. Sadly too, it is an area in which childrenโ€™s needs are frequently misunderstood by outside forces, who may wrongly assume that anxious parenting is to blame. This is particularly the case when the child is able to mask their distress whilst in unfamiliar situations and with unfamiliar people.

I hope the information in this series will help parents and professionals alike to understand what is really happening for these children. And to make informed decisions that support children with compassion to move forwards.

Below you will find Part One:

Photos from PDA Talk - Specialist Consultation and Support Counselling's post 29/08/2022

Part Two of PDA and Separation Anxiety:

Timeline photos 19/07/2022

As you make the switch to PDA aligned parenting, itโ€™s natural to be feeling apprehensive.

Even when the first few steps are clear, you might feel uncertain about what lies around the corner.

Sometimes it can feel like you have more questions than answers. At least the kind of answers you understand.

I want you to know that itโ€™s okay to begin on this journey without having it all figured out.

True understanding. Deep understanding.
Comes through experience.

โ€˜As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.โ€™

Timeline photos 13/06/2022

This popped up on my Facebook feed today. It resonated deeply with my experience of parenting a PDAer.

It spoke to me about the importance of relationship.

The willingness to be flexible and see the bigger picture, has enabled me to be 'still standing' here with my daughter today. To love and support her into adulthood.

I am so thankful for this opportunity. One which I would not have, had I continued to push her to meet expectations.

When we make the decision to go against the grain and honour our PDAers true needs, it can feel like we are taking a big risk. This takes enormous strength and courage.

I acknowledge the bravery of so many of you who are stepping out on this journey.

I would love to know how this image and quote speaks to you. Does it resonate? Please feel free to comment on the post or through messenger.

[Image description: The background is a sandy beige colour. A white rabbit and a young boy in blue clothes with a shaved head, sit upon a broken tree trunk with their backs turned. The image has words written above it which read, '"How strange that the grass is all that remains standing after the storm," said the boy. "Sometimes being soft is strong," said the rabbit.' The image is credited to Regina Linke].


Today is PDA day ๐Ÿผ

Please consider donating to Australiaโ€™s very own registered charity PDA Australia. Founder Tracey Churchill has a bold vision to increase awareness and acceptance of the PDA Autism profile and provide much needed support to Australian PDAers and their loved ones.

Watch the video to learn more about the charityโ€™s goals and founding story. If you are not able to donate, you can still help the cause by sharing amongst your networks.


Timeline photos 24/04/2022

Commonly parents begin their PDA journey with the hope that a new approach will get their child to conform to expectations.

Instead, what tends to happen, is that in learning more about PDA, the supporting adult adjusts their goals for the child.

This process does not happen overnight.

It occurs through newly acquired information and most importantly, through experience.

As the supporting adult witnesses a reduction in the childโ€™s distress.

Providing the incentive to continue.

In the early phases. Before seeing results.

It can be challenging for adults to look beyond the notion of โ€˜winningโ€™ and โ€˜losingโ€™.

I encourage a fresh perspective.

A reframe.

Each time your child says โ€˜noโ€™ to a request or suggestion.

Each time you accept this. Without question.

The child learns to feel safe.

Safe in their environment.

Safe in their relationship. With you.

Safe from demands.

And thatโ€™s a huge win.


Are you unsure whether you, your loved one or someone you support has a PDA Autism profile? This fantastic new resource from the PDA Society provides guidance on identifying and assessing a PDA profile.

NEW practice guidance on identifying and assessing a PDA profile, collating the professional practice and experience of a multidisciplinary group of professionals, has been produced by the PDA Society and is FREE to download now: https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/new-practice-guidance-published/

The goal of this document is to aid assessment of a PDA profile, to distinguish PDA from other presentations of marked demand avoidance, and to signpost appropriate support and guidance for individuals and families.


Thanks to Tracey from PDA Australia for her very kind words. It was so lovely to meet and chat in person about all things PDA.


๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐๐ƒ๐€?
Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is widely understood to be an Autism profile. Autistic individuals experience differences in social communication and interaction across multiple contexts. According to DSMV they also display โ€˜restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests or activities.โ€™ Such differences and behaviours โ€˜cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of current functioningโ€™ (๐‘‡โ„Ž๐‘’ ๐ท๐‘–๐‘Ž๐‘”๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘†๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘€๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘ข๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘€๐‘’๐‘›๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐ท๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘‘๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘  5๐‘กโ„Ž ๐‘’๐‘‘.; ๐ท๐‘†๐‘€-5; ๐ด๐‘š๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘ƒ๐‘ ๐‘ฆ๐‘โ„Ž๐‘–๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘ ๐ด๐‘ ๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘๐‘–๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘›, 2013). Additionally, those with the PDA profile may experience many key features listed below.

๐—ž๐—ฒ๐˜† ๐—™๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ฃ๐——๐—”
๏‚ฅ ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—ฑ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ฒ โ€“ such demands may be externally or internally imposed and can include pleasurable activities.
๏‚ฅ ๐—จ๐˜€๐—ฒ โ€˜๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—นโ€™ ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ โ€“ a repertoire of strategies may be relied upon to avoid demands including distraction, delaying, negotiation, physical incapacitation and fantasy-based responses.
๏‚ฅ ๐—” ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—น โ€“ this can be driven both by anxiety and potential/actual demands.
๏‚ฅ ๐—˜๐˜…๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐˜๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐˜€ โ€“ demands may trigger threat responses such as fight, flight, freeze, flop or fawn.
๏‚ฅ ๐—”๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ฒ, ๐—ฏ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ธ ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฝ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด โ€“ individuals are often socially motivated, but may โ€˜maskโ€™ underlying differences.
๏‚ฅ ๐——๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ฒ๐˜…๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฑ ๐˜€๐˜„๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐˜‚๐—น๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† โ€“ often in response to unsupportive environments and compounded by difficulties with emotional regulation.
๏‚ฅ ๐—”๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†, ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜†, ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ฒ๐˜…๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐—ฒ๐˜…๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ โ€“ may take on other personas for extended periods of time or respond to questions with fantasy-based answers.
๏‚ฅ ๐——๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜† โ€˜๐—ผ๐—ฏ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒโ€™ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฒ โ€“ can become negatively or positively fixated on others.

๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ด๐˜๐—ต๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ง๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐˜€
Individuals with the PDA profile possess a multitude of varied strengths and talents. In my experience, these often include the following:
๏’ Strong sense of social justice
๏’ Natural affinity with animals
๏’ High levels of empathy and compassion
๏’ Sense of humour
๏’ Ability to attend to finer details
๏’ Good negotiation skills
๏’ Determination
๏’ Bravery

๐——๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐—น๐˜๐˜† ๐—ข๐—ฏ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐——๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜€
Many families experience difficulty obtaining Autism diagnosis for their PDA profile children. Varying presentation and a tendency to โ€˜maskโ€™ for brief periods in unfamiliar environments, can impede both the referral and assessment process. It can be challenging for the child to attend and engage with assessment. When they do, diagnosis is often denied despite the observation of โ€˜autistic traitsโ€™. Parents may be told that their child is not autistic because they make eye contact, appeared sociable or because of their ability to engage in imaginative play. When seeking diagnosis, it is highly recommended to find a clinician who not only specialises in Autism, but is familiar with both the PDA profile and โ€˜maskingโ€™ or โ€˜camouflagingโ€™ behaviours. Sadly, when diagnosis is denied, children may miss out on appropriate support and/or develop mental health issues due to poor self-understanding and acceptance.

๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ฃ๐——๐—” ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—”๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ฎ?
Medical professionals such as paediatricians and psychiatrists can add PDA as a specifier to new or existing Autism diagnoses e.g., โ€˜Level 2 Autism with a PDA profileโ€™ or โ€˜Level 1 Autism with extreme demand avoidance.โ€™ Families frequently report being misinformed, that PDA cannot be diagnosed in Australia. They are told this is due to it not being included in the DSMV. It is hoped that as awareness increases, more medical professionals will come on board and acknowledge the presence of PDA in the manner described above. Inclusion of the profile provides a vital signpost to appropriate support, understanding and acceptance.

๐—™๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด


Welcome to PDA talk. This page has been created primarily to share contact details for those who prefer to source information through Facebook and make contact via messenger.

PDA talk provides online consultation and support counselling to adults seeking to improve the lives of children with a diagnosed or suspected Pathological Demand Avoidance Autism profile.

PDA talk works with parents, schools, health professionals and other collaborators in a childโ€™s life. We assist clients to develop a deeper understanding of the PDA profile and adopt an approach better suited to the childโ€™s individual needs. Support counselling provides a space for parents and carers to reflect on their own emotions and discuss the varying impacts of advocating for and supporting a PDAer. We hold space as you either begin or continue on your PDA journey, whilst leaving traditional behavioural management techniques behind.

PDA talk was born out of a deep desire to reduce the distress experienced by PDA children and their families. Sally is an autistic counsellor with qualifications and experience in the fields of psychology and education. She has three neurodivergent children; one of whom is diagnosed with a PDA Autism profile. Sally applies the insights gained through her own familyโ€™s PDA journey in counselling and training sessions. Her transformative approach gently guides others to facilitate positive outcomes with PDA children. Sally identifies strongly with the PDA profile.

NDIS funding can be utilised for both self-managed and plan-managed clients. Medicare rebates are not available. Sally is an approved member of the Australian Counselling Association.

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