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Does My Child Have PDA?

Have you ever wondered if your child or client has a PDA profile? 

PDA is known as Pathological Demand Avoidance, but we like to use the more affirming term, Pervasive Drive for Autonomy.

We recently sat down with Dr. Tay, a distinguished child psychologist specializing in early autism diagnosis and PDA to explore the characteristics of a child with a PDA profile, how PDA can externalize, internalize, and how you can help kids no matter their age.

Characteristics of PDA:

PDAers can experience a fight, flight or freeze response when faced with demands that threaten their autonomy, which can trigger intense emotional reactions.

Externalized vs. Internalized PDA:

Externalized PDA often manifests as visible meltdowns and challenges, while internalized PDA may involve heightened anxiety and avoidance strategies. 

Strategies for Working with PDAers:

If you suspect your child or client has a PDA profile, the best approach is reducing demands and using a lot of declarative language. Adopt an equal playing field approach in communication to foster autonomy and reduce conflict. It’s also important to recognize individual triggers and implement tailored interventions to support children effectively.

As we continue to unravel the complexities of PDA, it’s important we recognize the transformative power of understanding, empathy, and proactive intervention in supporting children with suspected PDA. 

If you want a deeper dive into this topic, make sure you check out our interview with Dr. Tay on our live show, Making the Shift. 

>> Making the Shift, Episode 63, Does My Child Have PDA? with Dr. Tay