This course, delivered by Phil Christie, is for professionals who are looking to develop their understanding and skills in the recognition and assessment of children with PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance). The day aims to increase professionals’ understanding of PDA, its relationship to autism spectrum disorder, key challenges in assessment and diagnosis and the implications for supporting children and their families.

The day will give consideration to the development of thinking around PDA and the developmental pathways and presentation of some of the more complex children on the autism spectrum, particularly those who fit the profile of PDA. There will be an overview of recent and current research and clinical practice, and insights gained from families and young people with PDA. There will be an opportunity to discuss film-clips showing assessment practice and of young people reflecting on their own experience and what they have found helpful.

Phil Christie is a Consultant Child Psychologist with extensive experience in autism diagnosis, assessment and school leadership. Phil was Director of Services and Principal of Sutherland House School for more than 30 years. He has co-authored several books, including Understanding Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome in Children and Can I tell you about Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome?

Course content

  • historical and recent developments regarding PDA
  • pervasive Developmental Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders and distinctive diagnosis
  • defining criteria of PDA
  • research Developments
  • personal Perspectives of young people with PDA
  • implications for support, management and building emotional resilience
  • case studies and examples
  • opportunities to discuss and consider issues in relation to their own practice and settings

Who should attend?

This course is ideal for professionals who want to understand more about the development of thinking around PDA from a clinical and research perspective and want to consider the implications of this for supporting children and their families. They are likely to be involved in the assessment, diagnosis and on-going support of children within the autism spectrum, including those fitting the PDA profile. It is particularly relevant for child and adolescent psychiatrists, paediatricians, clinical psychologists, educational psychologists, speech and language therapists and CAMHS practitioners.

Attention will be drawn to the major implications for educational approaches for these children, but that will not be the main focus of the day. If you are looking for a course which focuses on strategies for supporting children with PDA, please see our course on Understanding PDA – strategies for schools.

Why attend?

There is an increasing awareness and discussion about PDA amongst parents and practitioners. This one-day course gives you a clearer overview of PDA and its relationship to the autism spectrum. It will discuss the general debate about the critical differences in approach between children on the autism spectrum and those with the specific PDA profile.

You will meet fellow professionals and work with a leading clinician in the autism field who has many years’ experience of supporting autistic people. On completion of the course you can join Network Autism, our online professionals’ forum.

Scheduled open training events





6 July 2017


£185 + VAT

Book now


To make an enquiry please call 0141 285 7117 and choose option 1 then option 1 again or email

To book or to amend a booking please call 0141 285 7117 and choose option 2 then option 1 or email

All places for training events with a location link must be booked via our online booking system (click on the book now link above). More information on using our online booking system to pay by invoice is available here.