PDA Pathway

This pathway caters for pupils with a diagnosis of ASD or ADHD with a strong demand avoidant profile.  Students may or may not have an additional cognitive learning need. Cognitive levels are gauged mostly through interaction and observation, rather than through formal learning due to the pathological nature of the demand avoidance learners employ.

This provision is suitable for students where traditional educational learning and environmental structures have failed. For those who learn through their motivations and interests and can be supported and guided by specialist staff who have training and experience of teaching children with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).

We provide evidence-based strategies for pupils with PDA. This includes providing an environment based on nurture principles with a focus on understanding learner anxieties and reducing these through environmental, curriculum and relationship adaption. Our pathway mantra is REGULATE- REACH- TEACH

“Backdoor learning” and nurture approaches prove the most effective system for our students. We do not have set topics of study but instead use learner motivations alongside assessment criteria to plan the curriculum offer.

We deliver a range of national curriculum subjects within all our learning approaches. As learners’ anxieties reduce the form tutor combines backdoor learning with more traditional learning resources and styles.

Alongside the academic subjects we recognise the significant and important social and regulatory skills that our learners need to develop in order to maintain successful skills within their social and academic worlds. These areas are as much a focus as the national curriculum subjects. All learners work upon building their skills in relation to the site Link Priorities and the outcomes in their EHCP.

Our aim for this pathway is

  • To maintain an educational placement through the statutory years.
  • For students to want to come to school and engage in a learning process.
  • For students to achieve and maintain good emotional and mental health.
  • For students to learn to use their motivations and interests to open up opportunities for them to acquire knowledge and enhance their skills and abilities across a wide subject base.
  • For students to understand their key learning and anxiety barrier and to work out what they can put in place to help them to maintain emotional and sensory regulation.
  • For students to be able to work and socialise alongside and with a few other like -minded peers without causing regulation disruption.
  • For students to buy into practices that will keep them and those who work with them safe from physical harm.
  • To access a wide range of community facilities whilst maintaining emotional and safety regulation.
  • To recognise the value of accredited courses to their long -term aspirations and be prepared to access relevant qualifications.
  • To have the will and regulation needed to integrate with support into social and work- related environments outside of their experience and comfort zone.
  • To find a career pathway that matches their motivations, interests and abilities.