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Pathological demand avoidance: an interview with Ruth Fidler and Phil Christie

Ruth Fidler is an Education Consultant specialising in complex autism, Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), interactive approaches and emotional wellbeing, and Phil Christie is a Consultant Child Psychologist with experience of diagnosis and assessment of autistic children, including those with PDA. In this interview they discuss the main characteristics of PDA and what can be done to support those with the condition.

Ruth and Phil kindly agreed to be interviewed for Network Autism when they attended the NAS Professional conference in March this year. We asked them a series of questions - you can view the full interview or clips of the individual questions below.

Full interview

Individual question clips

1. Can you tell us how you first became interested in PDA?

2. Can you tell us more about your current work?

3. What are the main characteristics of PDA?

4. What are the main challenges for a child with PDA in schools and how can they best be supported?

5. Do strategies used to support autistic children/young people work equally as well with those with PDA or are there some notable differences that professionals should be aware of?

6. There is little out there in terms of research, practice or information for adults with PDA. What advice would you have for professionals working with adults with PDA and can you tell us about any developments in this area of practice?

7. How can professionals support parents/carers of children and adults with PDA?

Author: Ruth Fidler and Phil Christie

Date added: 25 July 2016


There will be a one day course run in March 2017 on Understanding and supporting children with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) organised and featuring presentations from Phil Christie and Ruth Fidler and also featuring SEND curriculum specialist Suzanne Farrell.