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Pathological Demand Avoidance Conference

Our 2019 Conference is aimed at providing Parents/Carers and Practitioners with a greater understanding of the impact of Pathological Demand Avoidance on the child/young person and their parents/carers, and provides examples of different strategies and approaches to help manage this autistic spectrum profile.


8.45am-9.30am:       Registration


Morning (9.30am-12.30pm):

9.30am                     Introduction to the Conference: Ruth Pearse (CEO)

9.35am-10.35am     Towards an understanding of the characteristics of PDA: Ruth Fidler

10.35am-11.00am    Refreshment and Comfort Break

11.00am-11.30am    My experience of PDA: Isaac Russell

11.30am-12.30pm    Implications for Children and Young People with PDA: Introducing Collaborative                                                                Approaches to Learning: Ruth Fidler


Please note that there are separate workshops in the afternoon for parent/carers and professionals.


Lunch: (12.30pm-1.15pm):

Networking lunch included for all delegates.

  • opportunity to look at information stalls, including The PDA Society
  • opportunity to purchase books


Afternoon (1.15pm-2.30pm) Parallel Workshops:

Workshop 1: Key strategies of Collaborative Approaches to Learning (workshop aimed at education practitioners but also relevant for families and other professionals): Ruth Fidler

Workshop 2: Strategies for parenting children and young people with PDA: Danielle Jata-Hall (PDA blogger and parent) and Leila Cox (Berkshire PDA practitioner and parent)

2.30pm: Close of Conference



Ticket Type Early Bird

(up to midnight 3/2/2019)

Full Price

(from 4/2/2019)

Practitioner Statutory sector, schools etc

(includes lunch)

£75 (save £10)  £85
Parent/Carer &

Voluntary Sector Practitioner

(includes lunch)

£40 (save £10) £50

(includes lunch)

 £25 (save £10)  £35


For Practitioners requiring an invoice: Once you’ve selected the number of places and clicked the green ‘Register’ button, you’ll be taken to the registration page. Complete the relevant details, and then at the bottom of the page (underneath the credit/debit card icons), you will see that it says ‘Other Payment Options’. Click ‘Show’ just underneath, then click the blue ‘Send Invoice’ button which will appear. You will also need to complete the ‘Address for invoice’ box. We’ll then send you an invoice.



Ruth Fidler (BA, Hons, PGCE)

Ruth Fidler is an Education Consultant specialising in complex autism, Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), interactive approaches and emotional well-being.

She worked at an all age non-maintained special school for 94 pupils across the autism spectrum for 22 years until 2014 and has worked independently since then. During her time on the senior leadership team the school sustained Ofsted outstanding status. Ruth worked within the school promoting interactive approaches and emotional well being for pupils with complex autism. As a member of the leadership team she had a strategic role and contributed to continuing professional development for all staff. She also led an outreach pilot project working with other agencies to meet the needs of children and young people currently unable to attend school. She has experience of using music to promote interaction.

As well as providing training, she regularly observes and monitors teaching and learning supporting staff to embed and refine good autism and SEND practice.

She also regularly presents at local and national events and conferences for parents and a range of professionals. She provides training and consultancy for a variety of schools and parents and works all over the UK and with organisations including the Autism Education Trust, the National Autistic Society the PDA Society. She is a member of the national Autism in Women and Girls Forum and the National PDA development group.

She has contributed to publications in the Good Autism Practice (GAP) journal on the subject of promoting emotional wellbeing and is co-author of three books, ‘Understanding Pathological Demand Avoidance syndrome in children’ (2012), ‘Can I Tell You About Pathological Demand Avoidance?’ (2015) and Collaborative Approaches to Learning (2018)



Isaac Russell

Isaac is a young man who speaks about his experience of growing up with PDA. He describes himself as “18 year old disabled kid – lover of animals, tv shows, musicals, and movies. fierce human rights supporter. autism and PDA advocate”.



Leila Cox

Leila has a professional background as a qualified Training Practitioner, founded the West Berkshire PDA Support Group in January 2017, and is the parent of a 9 year old boy with PDA. From Autumn 2018 she has partnered with Parenting Special Children to deliver training workshops on PDA for local parents.

Leila is also an active member of the West Berks Parent Carer Forum (WBPCF) Steering Group. This is a group of parent-carers who work with the Local Authority in all areas of Health, Education and other relevant services, to have their voices heard in improving the experiences of SEND children and their families in West Berkshire.



Danielle Jata-Hall

Danielle is the author of the ‘PDA Parenting’ blog. She has three daughters, the eldest of whom meets the profile for PDA. Danielle was a finalist at both the Bloody Awesome Parents Awards 2018 and the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2018.

She blogs to help other parents, teachers and care givers, to prevent children from being misunderstood and to help keep as many families together as possible.




What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

The Pavilion is a short walk from Reading Town Centre, Reading Railway Station and Reading West Railway Station.

All buses pick up in Reading Town Centre, with the No.s 15, 16 and 17 buses stopping almost outside The Pavillion (opposite Waylen Street). The No. 33 bus stops outside when it returns to the Town Centre. Please see the Reading Buses website for more detailed information. https://www.reading-buses.co.uk/services

The nearest car parks to the venue are Q-Park Chatham Place (3 minute walk away), followed by Broad Street Mall (7 minute walk away). Further details and prices are available via the links.

There are a limited number of car parking places available on site, which will be exclusively reserved for Blue Badge holders only. Spaces will be allocated on a strictly first-come, first-served basis, and can be applied for through the online booking process.

Is the venue wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the venue is wheelchair accessible. There is a street-level door to access the building at the side in Russell Street, and the Auditorium and Seminar Rooms are accessible via a wheelchair lift. If delegates require any special assistance, please make us aware of this by completing the relevant section in the booking process.

Can I update my registration information?

Yes. Just log in to Eventbrite, choose the event, and you can edit your personal details and workshop choices. You can also use this method to alter the name of the attendee.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

If at all possible, please bring your printed ticket to the Conference, as it will help to speed up the registration process. An electronic image from a smart phone of the QR code on your ticket will also be acceptable.

What is the refund policy?

Refund requests will only be available on Early Bird tickets, and when made in writing. All other requests will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, and are entirely at the discretion of the management of Parenting Special Children.

If you have any other specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing admin@parentingspecialchildren or telephoning 0118 9863532.


Thursday 28 March 2019
9:30 am - 2:30 pm


The Pavilion
143-145 Oxford Road
Reading, Berkshire RG1 7UY United Kingdom
PSC / Events / Pathological Demand Avoidance Conference