Were You There?

The first virtual summit focusing on Pathological Demand Avoidance was held online between the 3rd and 7th July 2020. It brought together a varied range of professionals and experts working within the autism community, to promote the awareness of Pathological Demand Avoidance, known as PDA. 21 presentations, bonus content and question and answer sessions were delivered online, completely FREE, to over 4000 people from 45 countries over 6 continents.

The Summit was composed of 20 hand selected, leading experts on PDA; including, a senior solicitor, consultant speech and language therapist, educational psychologist, behavioural nurse, leading educational consultants, SEN business and marketing consultant, teachers, researchers therapists, as well as PDA parents and individuals, all with knowledge and insight into this neurodivergent profile. 

Covering topics including parenting, bereavement, emotional regulation, behavioural management, holistic therapies, education, speech and language and SEN law, our speakers shared their professional expertise gathered over many years of listening, learning and developing tried and tested solutions and strategies to the challenges faced by PDA individuals. Many of our speakers are neuro-divergent themselves, offering valuable insights into the minds of those amazing PDA people that we love so much. This summit provided so much knowledge to help parents, families and professionals better understand and manage PDA.

We want to thank all our amazing speakers who contributed their time and expertise and resources to this incredible event. We were able to help SO many people over the course of just 5 days. Discover more about our Virtual Summit 2020 speakers below.

Another Chance To Watch!

You may have missed this incredible event, but you can still access all this event’s brilliant webinars. We have put together for you a package so that you can keep the advice of our speakers in your ‘Back Pocket’ with a pass that allows access to all 20 presentations and a bonus video from Sally Russell of the PDA Society, for up to an entire year. 

That’s 20 experts specifically discussing and providing insights and solution based strategies around Pathological Demand Avoidance for you to benefit from. As anyone who has ever sought help for PDA will know, this kind of advice can be hard to find and inevitably costs a small fortune. We want to give you the wisdom of all our wonderful experts in one place for just £135!

Purchasing a pass doesn’t stop with giving you crazy value for money in terms of information and resources. Every time an access pass is bought we make a donation to the PDA Society, a registered charity in England & Wales that provides support, and leads the way in resources and research for PDA. It also allows us to create future events where we can continue to provide FREE valuable resources and access to information and services regarding PDA. More about our Back Pocket Pass can be found here.

Don’t Miss Out Again!

We are already planning our next FREE Summit that will take place later in the year, to be kept up to date with the latest announcements, sign up here. 


The Virtual Summit 2020 Was For Everyone, Everywhere

To ensure the Summit could reach not only professionals during business hours, but to remain accessible to those with PDA or trying to watch around the challenges of family members with autism, the event was designed to be open and inclusive with flexible round the clock access, an incredible feat pulled off by a small team of amazing people. Presenting 5 speakers each day, available for 24 hours, allowed our audience to choose what and when they watched the speakers.

What we didn’t consider was that our speakers presentations were so awesome that most people wanted to watch them all and ran out of time! In fact it was so incredibly popular, what initially was intended to be a four day event, due to popular demand for our speakers content, we created an additional “Encore” day!

Over 4000 Attendees
From 45 Countries
Over 6 Continents

Our 24 hour event programming, allowed our event to become a global success and we are so incredibly proud to have reached over 45 countries around the world, many where access to resources and information regarding autism and PDA is very limited. We were told we were crazy for creating such a large Summit and keeping the entire event completely FREE, but for us as Positive PDA it is so incredibly important to ensure all communities, from all backgrounds, regardless of location or financial situation, have access to valuable and productive resources to enhance the lives of those living with and working with Pathological Demand Avoidance.

Upcoming Events


We are passionate about creating events where access is simple and free. Autism and PDA don’t just effect those located in countries where resources are available or those who have the financial ability to access them. Every person, every family, no matter where they are from in the world, what ever their background, or culture, or situation deserves to be able to receive support. Pathological Demand Avoidance is a condition that knows no boundaries. And so we won’t put any in place and will continue to provide free access to our online summits. We want to make every effort, within our capability, to better represent this condition globally. If you want to get in touch to tell us about resources available in tour local area, or you know someone in your country who is a PDA expert, please contact us on the form below so we can represent a more diverse picture of PDA. 

Your support through buying passes and tickets to events will allow us to continue our mission to ensure we provide a FREE option for everyone to access information while we donate to PDA Society to support their resources and research. 

Join Our Mailing List For Events Announcements


Presenting An Incredible Line Up

The FREE Summit took place online between 3rd – 7th July 2020. If you weren’t able to join us or want more information about the webinars that were included, you can discover  find more below. If you were able to participate in the Summit and want to know more about the speakers you will find the links to their email and social media accounts below. The free event has finished, but if  you want to watch the webinars, you can purchase a Back Pocket Pass which gives you unlimited access to watch all 21 presentations for up to one year and includes answers to FAQ from the speakers, bonus transcripts, print outs and materials you can use. 

Amanda Furness

DR AMANDA FURNESS EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGISTBSc QTS D Ed Ch Ps Educational Psychology Services Dr Amanda Furness is an experienced Educational Psychologist working both with Local

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Managing Challenging Behaviour & Supporting Emotional Wellbeing

Dr Amanda delivers a 20 minute introduction to the psychology of behaviour and emotional regulation. She focuses on strategies of managing challenging behaviour in children and proactive support that can be implemented to lower baseline anxiety and support regulation of emotions. Get yourself a notepad and pen for this concise webinar absolutely crammed full of useful information for both parents and professionals managing challenging behaviour in young people. 



Bereavement: Preparation During The Corona Crisis

Andrew delivers a 60 minute workshop on bereavement and how to talk to children in early years and foundation stages about bereavement, specifically where the specialist needs of children with autism must be considered. In the current corona virus crisis children are unfortunately surrounded by increased news of grief and bereavement.

PDA: Avoiding the great custard pie fight

Andrew delivers a second 45 minute webinar, drawing on his experience and observations from his years as a SEND educational trainer and consultant. Piecing together the different components and challenges of PDA to create a cohesive approach to avoid “The Great Custard Pie Fight”.



PDA in the Classroom: Following the Child’s Lead

While children and young people with PDA can find it difficult to follow an adult’s agenda in the classroom, that this is no reason for the learning to stop. Drawing on her experience as a classroom teacher and director of an alternative learning provision, Clare explores ways in which we can follow the child or young person’s lead when supporting their learning. 

Includes how to design a child led curriculum, create invitations to learn and allow children and young people to develop expertise that they can share with others. This 30 minute presentation may be particularly useful for teachers and support staff in schools, and parents who home educate their children with PDA.



Managing & Supporting Behaviour In PDA

This 50 minute session takes a look at how we can better understand some of the behaviours seen in PDA, underlying causes and some strategies for supporting it. It will consider the importance of understanding the significance of anxiety and sensory issues, and how using a low arousal approach can help reduce the risk of escalating behaviour. This will be presented using a mix of lived experience and research to highlight key areas. Additional printable material included. 



How My Journey As A PDA Mum Has Shaped The Way I Work With Special Needs Entrepreneurs

Francesca discusses the ways that realising and learning about PDA and autism in general have shaped the way she runs her business and helped her create a company that helps people on the spectrum find a fitting job/starting a business built around their needs. This 20 minute webinar gives you access to a free 20 minute consultation for those who may want to know more about the support she can offer. 



PDA: An Inside Perspective

Harry takes you on an 80 minute 3D tour of his PDA mind so you can better understand your child, pupil or partner with PDA.

Taking what has been written about PDA, and what has been observed (and unravelling the diagnostic criteria), providing descriptive insights into the internal phenomena; from triggers to meltdowns to fantasy & role-play to social obsessions to loss of control to impulses and just about anything else one commonly associates with PDA. Discussing the positive and more endearing sides of PDA, Harry explains how his condition can be a gift or a curse depending on the situation.



PDA Through A Polyvagal Lens

Jessica delivers a 35 minute presentation introducing how we can understand PDA Through a Polyvagal Lens. She will explore Neuroception, a brief introduction to Polyvagal Theory and how this lens shifting paradigm can help us to support our Neurodivergent children.



The Power of Educating the Community

Behaviour is a skill. Whilst we can expect people to have patience with someone who has not mastered, for example, the skill of reading, the same is often not true with regards to behaviour. This lack of understanding from professionals and peers exacerbates barriers to inclusion, and has a knock on effect on the mental health and self esteem of the person developing their skills.

A lack of peer and professional understanding, especially with regards to communication strategies and sensory differences, can additionally have an impact on family members and supporters of neurodivergent people, causing them to feel isolated and as if they do not belong.

This 50 minute talk examines the barriers to understanding we face, and gives some simple practical strategies for tackling them.



Empowering Emotion Regulation By Understanding The Functions Of Behaviour

We will all use behaviour to meet our needs whether this is positive behaviour or behaviour that is seen to be negative. This is a natural part of life. By looking at the functions of behaviour we can see how basic building blocks can be missing, often in the realms of the emotions. By developing these building blocks in a holistic way we can empower the child and family to being the best version of themselves. 

This 70 minute webinar explains what a function of a behaviour is, how this can indicate issues around the emotions and some simple adjustments that can be made to support the emotions; explores how holistic therapies can assist in developing emotional regulation; and how often people do the right thing but at the wrong time. Additional printable materials included. 



Me, Myself And PDA

Join PDA adult and author, Julia, for a brilliant insight into the PDA mind as she has a candid chat with Nicola Reekie about all things PDA. Topics include reflecting on behaviour as a child, meltdowns, periods and the demands of special interest. Settle in, grab a drink and get comfy for 70 minutes of brilliant conversation.



PDA & Selective Mutism

Not all children and young people develop selective mutism but for those who do, it can be a complete nightmare. For a Speech and language therapist it’s the ultimate double whammy! Parents worry and school staff feel lost. Everyone wants to know what to do but could they be making the situation worse?

Libby explores this in her 40 minute webinar which looks at how we can understand the combination of difficulties better to help the situation at home and school. 



EFT Tapping For Parents Of Children & Young People With PDA

The tool known as ‘EFT Tapping’ utilises a few accupoints on your own body to send soothing signals through to the part of your brain responsible for the fight, flight, freeze, fawn response signals to your mind and body.
In this 70 minute webinar Lindsay explains and demonstrates the simple self help technique EFT Tapping for Stress & Anxiety and talks about the opportunities for growth and personal development for parents.



Seeking The Support Your PDA Child Is Legally Entitled To England And Wales’ School Systems

Michael delivers a clear and succinct 20 minute talk on navigating the legal system in England and Wales to ensure that the legal educational needs of a PDA child are met.
As Pathological Demand Avoidance is not yet considered a legally diagnosable condition in England and Wales, Michael discusses the difficulties parents can face when trying to find the support they need for their PDA children to access education. Michael discusses the needs that can these children require and how these challenges can be overcome by schools.



Mental Toughness: Practical Ways To Develop Resilience

In this 50 minute webinar Nicola draws from over 20 years of experience of having managed the most challenging classes/students and motivating/inspiring staff to help implement changes. This experience extends across early years, primary and secondary in both mainstream and special needs schools. From this she talks about how to develop mental toughness and develop that quality in kids.


PDA Parent and Therapist

The Importance Of Resilience When Parenting PDA

As a solution focused therapist Nicola supports parents to empty their overflowing emotional buckets by using hypnotherapy, EMDR, neuro linguistic coaching as well as Theta healing, uniquely combined to create individually tailored sessions.

In this 60 minute webinar Nicola introduces some of these techniques and talks about how you can join her community to begin your journey to self care so that you can be your strongest, calmest and most resilient self to bring calm to your child and family.



A Spiritual Perspective On PDA & How It Can Save The Day!

Rosie combines her experience of her own healing along with professional training in this 40 minute webinar. She has undertaken 5 years of transpersonal integrative psychotherapy training, had a private psychotherapy practice for three years and currently hosts a number of emotional and spiritual support circles.
The spiritual principles she shares are from her own experience, strength and hope, how they have positively impacted her PDA family, principles of humility, tolerance, acceptance, honesty, open-mindedness, surrender, faith and willingness.


PDA SOCIETY CHAIR and research lead

PDA Essentials

Sally Russell OBE is a trustee and chair of the PDA Society. A registered charity in the UK, PDA Society provide training, resources and collate research to advance the support provided for PDA. In this exclusive video, Sally delivers the essentials on PDA.




The Traumatic Experiences Of PDA In A Neurotypical World

Sian is a therapeutic coach, educator, and early and complex trauma specialist. She combined her personal experiences with professional training and experiences to create an unique, ground breaking approach to understanding and healing developmental and complex trauma.

In this 75 minute webinar teaches parents and professionals the language of the nervous system so they can show up for themselves, their children and others in the best possible way and create real lasting change in their lives, in their families, and in the world.



Parenting Neurotypical & PDA: From Birth To Teenager

Mum of two girls, now aged 15 and 13. Her eldest is neurotypical and her youngest was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 and a half. Steph takes viewers on a 30 minute ‘walk’ through their lives, starting with that early diagnosis, and the subsequent ‘lightbulb moment’ discovering PDA, to  experiences in both mainstream and special education – looking at what worked well and successes, as well as what could have been improved on. She shares the differences in parenting which have been needed for her PDA girl compared to her neurotypical girl.



Initial PDA Advice For Teachers And Educational Assistance

Tigger’s 50 minute webinar looks at initial advice for teachers, for example:
  • why understanding PDA is important in an education setting;
  • involving the whole school;
  • listening to the PDA individual and their family;
  • strategies, approaches and paperwork to support;
  • signposting to other resources.

Watch All These Webinars With Your Back Pocket Pass


Who Are We?

Nicola Reekie 
Positive PDA Virtual Summit Co-Founder

Positive PDA is a partnership comprised of two neurodivergent women, Nicola Reekie and Louise Jenkins. 

Louise runs her own branding and digital marketing company and for over 13 years enjoyed a career in the exhibition and events industry, first as a designer and then as a project manager. With experience and contacts in the events and conferencing industry, and a passion for helping others and increasing awareness of mental wellbeing Louise has loved the challenge of turning her skills in the physical events world towards creating our vision of the online summit.

I’m Nicola Reekie, a PDA mum and therapist. I’m passionate about spreading the awareness of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), that’s why I began speaking at Autism Shows. Keen to raise awareness of the unique  I created the PDA Conference in Cardiff with a few of our lovely speakers. Then a pandemic came along. Postponing was enforced. But what soon became obvious was that awareness and resources were even more necessary. More needed to be made available to the MANY that were facing extra challenges lockdown brought. 

Louise, finding herself unemployed as the events industry crumbled in the pandemic, and I had soon began the conversation of taking my Cardiff Conference online. Our skills combined, our passion roused, and our ambition amplified. Before long the vision of the online conference I had, evolved and developed and became the first Positive PDA Virtual Summit!

All of a sudden I was reaching far beyond Cardiff, with people from 44 countries across 6 continents registering! My goal to create knowledge, attainable resources and expert insight that is accessible to EVERYONE came to be. 

My Journey Of PDA Parenting

We fully support the work, research and resources provided by the PDA Society. We would like to thank them for their support and contribution to our event, in particular Sally Russell, Hilary Harvey and Vikki Threlfall. 

We are very excited to be making a donation from profits made by this Summit to the PDA Society so that they continue to provide information, support and training for those living and working with PDA; raise awareness; increase acceptance and empower people to take action in relation to Pathological Demand Avoidance.

The organisation was first established in 1997, in January 2016 The PDA Society became a registered charity. They provide information, support and training for those living and working with PDA and they work to raise awareness, increase acceptance and empower people to take action in relation to PDA.Find out more about the PDA Society including a links to their extensive resources on their page here.

Supporting The PDA Society

We fully support the work, research and resources provided by the PDA Society. We would like to thank them for their support and contribution to our event, in particular Sally Russell, Hilary Harvey and Vikki Threlfall. 

We are very excited to be making a donation from profits made by this Summit to the PDA Society so that they continue to provide information, support and training for those living and working with PDA; raise awareness; increase acceptance and empower people to take action in relation to Pathological Demand Avoidance.

The organisation was first established in 1997, in January 2016 The PDA Society became a registered charity. They provide information, support and training for those living and working with PDA and they work to raise awareness, increase acceptance and empower people to take action in relation to PDA.

The PDA Society provide information, support and training for people living with PDA. They have a wealth of useful resources for individuals, parents & professionals alike. We have provided some quick links below, but please go to the pdasociety.org.uk for more information.

We will be using proceeds from sales of our back pocket pass to donate to the PDA Society. But did you know you can also nominate the PDA Society on Amazon Smile so that you make a donation every time you shop on Amazon at no extra cost to you? Neither did we! So nominate the PDA Society now and give each time you shop!

Resources From The PDA Society

What is PDA?

For more information about autism and PDA, demand avoidance, identifying PDA, diagnosing PDA and the latest research.


An extensive list of books about autism, PDA experiences and stories and support strategies.


Not from the UK? The PDA Society has a list of organisations around the world to support and provide you with further resources where you are.


Academic papers from research institutions developing the evidence base collated by the PDA Society.

Healthcare Professionals

Further information and resources for healthcare professionals working with autism and PDA.


Essential information for all those working in an education setting with PDA individuals, including how PDA may look in school and masking.

Social Care Professionals

Information for Social Care workers and support systems in the community.


The PDA Society offers training courses for parents and carers, educators and for supporting PDA Adults.


If you would like to make a further donation to the PDA Society (and you've already bought our summit pass!) you can find out more here!

Connect With The PDA Society


Questions about the Positive PDA Virtual Summit? Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

If you would like a copy of our Press Release for Professionals or any further information on how we can help charitable organisations or Professional Services please get in touch for more information.

If you would like further information or materials to share on social media with family and friends just drop us a comment below and we’ll send you materials to share!

Let’s Talk!


Knowledge of PDA that you would like to share? Speaking opportunities for our next event are available.



For all general enquiries, feedback, or to let us know what you would like to see at our next event, let us know!



For a copy or our press release or an email for your charity or professional practice contact Louise: