When I did the PDA webinar for the PDA Society recently (to listen click here), a SLT asked me for tips for assessing a child with PDA. I said that they usually weren't too bad for initial assessment as children with PDA often enjoy being centre of attention and novel situations. It is often much worse when trying to engage with therapy. I usually use a dog in the sessions so he makes life easier.
However, I was reminded at the weekend, that this is not always the case and that we need tips and strategies to get us though these potentially trickier situations.
Just remind ourselves of the main features of PDA:
· appearing sociable on the surface but lacking depth in their understanding (often recognised by parents early on)
· excessive mood swings, often switching suddenly
· comfortable (sometimes to an extreme extent) in role play and pretending
· language delay, seemingly as a result of passivity, but often with a good degree of 'catch-up'
· obsessive behaviour, often focused on people rather than things.
We need to assess them to get an accurate picture of strengths, be able to give strategies for family and staff and to be able to devise a programme of work to address their issues and to maximise their potential. Obviously, the 2 areas we are concerned with are language processing and social communication.