Building understanding and awareness for students with PDA
At High Grange School we have worked hard to better understand the difficulties faced by pupils with PDA and how to support them. On July 4th we had the opportunity to share this knowledge with head teachers from schools across England, Wales and even visiting teachers from New Zealand at the “Engage in their Future” national conference. This opportunity arose following the success of our involvement in the regional Midlands conference in September. Daniel Hunnisett and Gavin Spicer represented High Grange School at the event.
The training focused on building empathy for young people with PDA and how to implement the “collaborative approach” to helping those with PDA to achieve their goals. This approach focuses on reducing causes of anxiety, building an alliance between the young person and staff, and then working together towards negotiated solutions to help young people overcome barriers and achieve their goals.
We also discussed the need for kindness when working with young people with PDA and their families. PDA can be incredibly for frustrating – for the person dealing with the condition, but also for those around them who are working to support them, whether that is family, support workers or school staff. It is important to be reminded how important kindness is in this context – to our colleagues, to the families and young people, and to ourselves.
Delivering workshops or training is a great experience and helps you to reflect on what you do. Many schools are clearly at a very different stage in adapting their approaches for PDA. I was reminded how proud we should be of the level of flexibility, understanding, and commitment that we provide on a daily basis and the impact this has for the students.