Positive PDA aims to provide a platform for discussion and resources to complement existing resources for Pathological Demand Avoidance. Our aim is to open a dialogue between professionals working with PDA profile autism, research, and families and individuals who live with PDA. We do this by running conferences, providing online summits and organising events to raise awareness of this specific profile and support those who need further information and resources. As we grow so will our directory of groups, communities and professionals, providing an ever expanding global network to positively impact PDA resources world wide.
At Positive PDA we aim to be fully inclusive, we are passionate about providing ease of access to resources to those who may not always find this so easy. Whether this is due to disability, geographical, political or socio-economic restrictions, we want to at least attempt to remove some of the barriers you may face when seeking information and access to professionals and resources. Through our events, we work to ensure that all communities, from all backgrounds, regardless of location or financial situation, have access to valuable and productive resources to enhances the lives of those living with PDA.
Positive PDA is a partnership comprised of two neurodivergent women, Nicola Reekie and Nicola Louise, both with different experiences of PDA.
Nicola and Louise connected over their shared passion for helping people and raising awareness of neurodivergent issues. Despite always knowing they would work together someday, it wasn’t until several years later, a pandemic and a national lockdown, that the vision of Positive PDA, imagined by Nicola was realised by combining their individual skill sets. Together they have found that no matter one’s diagnosis, with determination and the right support, anything is achievable… even a global summit!
Positive PDA Co-Founder
I’m Nicola Reekie, a solution focused therapist and mum to two neurodiverse boys. Growing up and not understanding my struggles is what drives my passion of raising awareness around neurodiversity; it wasn’t until my 20’s that I was diagnosed as dyslexic and dyspraxic, which gave me the educational diagnosis I had always needed and now gives me a better understanding of myself.
I’m passionate about spreading the awareness of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), that’s why I began speaking at Autism Shows around the UK. Keen to raise awareness I created the PDA Conference in Cardiff, featuring a few of our lovely speakers, scheduled for April 2020… Then the pandemic came along and postponing was enforced. But what soon became obvious was that awareness and resources were even more necessary; more needed to be made available to MANY that were facing the extra challanges lockdown brought.
A serendipitous encounter with Louise led to 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.
Positive PDA Co-Founder
Hello, I’m Nicola Louise, but I’m known as Louise! Until the pandemic came along I enjoyed a successful career in the exhibition, conferencing and events industry. Art is a huge passion of mine and over the years I have practiced graphic design, created many websites and enjoyed studying digital marketing, all of which has led to me running my my own branding and digital marketing company.
From school, through university and into my career I always had my daily challenges. From facing difficulties with anxiety over the demands of every day life, to fitting in with social normalities and making real connections with others, life just seemed unfathomably hard and I just couldn’t understand how others found the things I struggled with so easy and insignificant. Embarrassing public meltdowns were attributed to mental health disorders and the constant mental fatigue I felt was labelled as depression. It wasn’t until the age of 35 that I had an assessment for autism. I identify strongly with the PDA profile and believe that the lack of awareness of Pathological Demand Avoidance (along with a general misunderstanding of female presentations of autism in the 80’s and 90’s) is why my autism was missed and I spent so many years struggling.
I am still learning to accept my neurodivergence but I was determined that a diagnosis wasn’t going to destroy my ambition or career. It has only ignited my desire to challenge the misconceptions of what autism “looks like” and to learn more about what this wide spectrum of autism entails.
A chance encounter with Nicola earlier this year and a long conversation later, I found myself immersed in the challenge of making Nicola’s vision of turning a cancelled conference into an online summit become a reality. Nicola’s unwavering support and understanding of the challenges I faced personally enabled us to become the empowered duo we have become and I’m so proud to have helped bring awareness and resources to so many others around the world through our first summit and am excited to provide an even bigger and wider platform for the PDA community!