The PDA Nurture Programme

The PDA Nurture Programme is a five-week programme aimed at parents/carers and professionals, to help provide insight into what living with Pathological Demand Avoidance is like. There has been a huge rise in mental health conditions in Autistic people and this programme helps provide those working in schools and other organisations the ability to learn skills and confidence within this field. The Programme provides attendees with a better understanding and the ability to provide children with PDA more opportunities within an educational setting.

What is 'PDA'?

PDA stands for pathological demand avoidance, which is largely accepted as a behaviour profile within the autism spectrum. This means that individuals who meet the criteria for PDA will also meet the criteria for autism. PDA is best described as an anxiety-driven need to remain in control at all times.

An Autistic child with a PDA profile is likely to avoid the demands of everyday life from tooth brushing, dressing, sitting at the dinner table, eating and sleeping, getting shoes on, walking to the car etc.

Because the children with PDA are Autistic they will also have differences in social interactions and communication. This profile is widely mistaken for bad behaviour, oppositional defiant disorder and challenging behaviours. Whilst the child may display behaviours which one may think of as naughty, it is important to remember that these are driven by high levels of anxiety. 

Our Programme

This programme is designed for parents, carers and professionals all working with Autistic children with complex presentations who are often misunderstood and prone to meltdowns. If you are working or living with a child who exhibits behaviours and difficulties which resemble those described above, this programme will help you gain a greater understanding of the child’s strengths and challenges.

Our aim is to help you create a more harmonious flow within the setting or the family home and to improve the quality of life and mental wellbeing of everyone involved. At the end of the programme, you will likely experience an overwhelming sense of relief and clarity. You will be more informed about the inner world of the individual with whom you work or live.

Harry Thompson an adult with PDA & Jodie Isitt the Autistic parent of a PDA child has developed this programme to educate as many people as possible on this complex and little understood part of autism

How it is delivered

This FIVE-week programme will run intermittently throughout the year and run for 5 consecutive weeks. The sessions will be recorded and sent to participants which will be available for extra viewing for 7 days.

 Each session is 1hr 30 mins long approx.

Week 1 – We Want The Same Thing! 
Week 2 – What Does It Mean To Learn VS Teach? 
Week 3 – Why Relationships Matter! 
Week 4 – Week Four – The PDA Flow. 
Week 5 – What Does It Mean To Succeed? 

What's included?

The attendees are taken through the real-life experience of a PDA adult who shares his journey to helps them find ways in which they can change their teaching outlook for the better. Working alongside Harry Thompson, this has been developed with the need of PDA understanding in schools and other organisations at its heart.  

Book your place

Use our online booking system to join our next cohort. The cost of a place on the 5 week programme is just £69.99.

Week 3: Worrier to Warrior

In this final session, we will help you and those you support to find ways to reframe negative thoughts so that it is possible to “think better and feel better.”  We will also cover practical strategies to help you manage your anxious self, keep calm and turn you from a worrier, to a warrior, ready to battle everything that life throws at you.

Week 2: Differences I May Experience

We will also be joined by Harry Thompson who has PDA and ADHD.  In his brilliantly humorous and unique way Harry will discuss his own insight into living with ADHD, from diagnosis in his childhood years and into adulthood. We will explore the impact that ADHD can have on children and young people in terms of both physical symptoms and mental health. 

Week 2: Nurturing Advocacy Confidence

The aim of this session is to break down attendees’ advocacy skills, then rebuild them so that facts and controlled emotions are used successfully.

Laura and Jodie share their experiences of advocating for their children – both good and bad and demonstrate how to use assertiveness skills effectively and remove emotive language.

They also share their “Top Tips” before, during and after transitions to ensure that all objectives are achieved.  

Week 3: Reasonable Adjustments

The pathway of SEN / EHCP’s / Reasonable adjustments and so forth can be a scary and bewildering place. But knowledge is POWER and this session aims to provide members with this power. 

Attendees will be given clear information and knowledge so they will be able to navigate these pathways armed with confidence. This will include basic law and children’s rights including ideas about what reasonable adjustments vs unreasonable adjustments are. We give examples of our own reasonable adjustments, how to ensure these adjustments are put in place and ideas on how to approach the professionals in your children’s lives to ensure that their needs are met. 

Members will also be equipped with ideas for “reasonable adjustments” versus “unreasonable adjustments”. A guest expert speaker – Karen Stepanova – SEN Consultant is arranged for this week who will give her very own presentations on the basics of SEN Law.

Week 4: Mental Health

In this session we look at how Imposter Syndrome can cause people to doubt their abilities.

The toll of advocating for children with additional needs can be detrimental to a parent or carer’s health. Our aim is to build up confidence and restore the mental health of parents or carers so that they have the inner strength to fight as hard as they can for their children.

This week focuses on changing negative thoughts to positive ones and helps restore the mental health of attendees. Jodie and Laura provide ‘Top Tips’ to staying mentally well during tricky times.  

Week 5: No-one can help me

What can I do? By week 5 we hope that all attendees will feel more confident, less stressed and have the skills and facts that they need to successfully advocate for their children. But we know that sometimes this is not enough.

The system can be fraught with challenges, and no matter how skilled you are, it can feel like your journey keeps being taken off track. In this session, an expert speaker will join to give fantastic advice on where to turn next when you feel you have exhausted all avenues. Practical advice regarding matters such as benefits, grants and additional sources of advice is also given, leaving the attendees feeling well equipped in their journey ahead.  

The Anxiety Nurture Programme

Join the waitlist to be notified when the programme opens for bookings

The ADHD Nurture Programme

Join the waitlist to be notified when the programme opens for bookings

The Autism Nurture Programme

Join the waitlist to be notified when the programme opens for bookings

Week 1: Introduction to ADHD

We will explore the positive aspects of ADHD, some of the challenges that living with ADHD can cause and also some of the lesser-known symptoms of this condition.  This first week will lay the foundations for the rest of the 5 week programme.

Week 3: Advocacy for ADHD

Sadly, many children and young people with ADHD are often very misunderstood within the education system.  In this session we will cover the basic legal rights of a learner with ADHD within school and college settings.

We will equip you with a comprehensive list of reasonable adjustments that schools and colleges can and should be using to ensure that learners with ADHD are able to meet and even surpass their amazing potential within the education system.  Most importantly in this session we will help equip you with essential advocacy skills to help you get the support you and your ADHD child deserve.

Week 1: Understanding Your Anxious Self

In this first session, Laura and Jodie gently introduce what anxiety can look and feel like with a real and tangible understanding that all participants come from a variety of experiences. Together, we will look at the impact anxiety can have on how we behave and interact with different people as well as the internal struggles it can bring.  By offering an invitation to reflect on and recognise our own anxiety and the negative internal voices that drive it, they begin to consider ways to quieten those voices and fears both for ourselves and those we wish to support. 

Week 4: Support for Siblings

At times living with ADHD can be challenging for the whole family. In this third session we will explore the impact ADHD can have on families and siblings.

We will discuss lots of helpful approaches to ensure that the negative impact of ADHD is minimised within the family environment.  We will also discuss how to support siblings of individuals with ADHD using empathy and understanding.

Week 5: The ADHD Experience

We will focus on techniques that can provide invaluable support for individuals with ADHD within the home and educational environment.  In this session you will also be able to ask us all questions relevant to this topic.  Finally, we can signpost you to other helpful organisations and sources of information related to ADHD.

Week 1: Introduction to ASC

We will explore the many aspects of being autistic or having an autistic family member. Jodie will share her road to diagnosis for her three children and finally herself and her own diagnosis in 2020 at 35 years of age.  This first week will lay the foundations for the rest of the Five week programme. 

Week 2: Differences I May Experience

Focussing on the saying, “When you have met one autistic person you have met one autistic person” we will take a deeper dive into the way that autism effects everyone individually.  During this session we will look at sensory needs in more detail and provide some ideas to help keep autistic children more regulated.

Week 3: Advocating For My Autistic Child

Laura and Jodie feel that “small changes make a big difference” for autistic individuals – and during this session we will discuss helpful tips for parents and reasonable adjustments for schools and colleges. 

In this session you will also be able to ask us questions relevant to this topic and we will signpost you to other helpful organisations and sources of information related to Autism. 

Week 4: Sibling Support

There is no doubt that an autism diagnosis can affect the whole family.  In this fourth session we will explore the impact autism can have on families and siblings.

We will discuss lots of helpful approaches to help you support your whole family and explore the positive aspects of an autism diagnosis.  We will also discuss how to support siblings of autistic individuals using empathy and understanding whilst also covering the importance of looking after your own mental health as parents.

Week 5: The Autistic Experience

Chloe, Jodie and Laura will discuss the medical model of autism and some of the theories of autism which are now proven to be out-dated and detrimental to autistic individuals.

Chloe will talk using her personal insight as an autistic adult, will discuss effective ways to support the mental well-being of autistic individuals and answer questions from attendees.

Week 2: Nurturing Anxious Minds

Whilst it is true that many children suffer from anxiety at any one time, those who are neurodivergent (ie are autistic, with or without PDA; have ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia etc) are more likely to have anxiety to varying degrees as part of their experience.  In this session, the anxiety experienced by any child is approached with understanding and acceptance and is jam-packed with practical ways to support children in a positive and nurturing way.

Week 1: Managing Transitions

In this first week, Jodie and Laura introduce themselves and discuss their journeys and experiences which have led them to develop this programme. Guidance for the programme is set to make sure that everyone participating feels comfortable and confident in sharing information and personal experiences. 

The basic laws and rights pertaining to all children are explained before moving on to discuss transitions. All children have varying levels of tolerance to transitions – moving from one task to another – and in this session we discuss how important it is to be prepared for even the smallest ones.

Laura and Jodie will share their “Top Tips” that parents and carers can use to ensure that the many transitions that need to be navigated when you have a child with additional needs run as smoothly as possible.