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Karen Stepanova

Pathological Demand Avoidance Society Logo
Institution Pathological Demand Avoidance Society

PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) is widely understood to be a profile on the autism spectrum, involving the avoidance of everyday demands and the use of ‘social’ strategies as part of this avoidance. Karen has personal experience with autistic young people and those with a PDA profile, as well as her background in teaching adults and further education. She has first-hand experience of the challenges parents face when trying to work with schools and local authorities in securing appropriate education for a PDA young person. This led them to volunteering for a charity on the tribunal helpline, as well as working in advocacy to support parents who face similar challenges. 

Building on their passion for teaching, they deliver training for the PDA Society to raise awareness and understanding of how to best support a PDA young person both in-school and outside of school settings. Through this training, she aims to broaden professionals’ understanding of supporting PDA people and support all neurodivergent young people in a more neuro-affirming way.