Now Available! My Lovely Crazy Life Podcast

The founder, Amanda, started out just like so many of you. A parent who knew something more was going on with her child. Through advocacy, continued learning, and a lot of appointments, she eventually discovered the various diagnoses of her children. One of them, Autism with a PDA profile, shifted everything and began her new journey. Her experience as a PDA-er parent has led her to create a clinic that is informed, neuroaffirming, and capable of supporting the many families that are seeking to be understood!

And why we do what we do!


All new clinicians who join our clinic are required to read our standard book list within 60 days of being hired, which include various books on PDA, low-demand parenting, self regulation, and the Plan B approach. 

We don't just claim to be informed, we are informed! However, the world of neurodivergence is vast and big, so we believe in continual learning and training! Here are a few of the things we do to stay informed:

In addition to the many books we read, we seek to have monthly specialists train our staff on topics including: PDA, neuroaffirming approaches, and hard-to-spot autism. Many of of the trainers are neurodivergent themselves with firsthand experience. These professionals include other psychologists, counsellors, and social workers. 

Why we advertise as PDA focused!

Our Clinician Learning Journey!

In addition to the above, several staff members have taken the Kristy Forbes PDA course, the gold standard for learning about and understanding PDA. Three of our clinicians are parents to PDA children themselves, and some of them are neurodivergent. We take every opportunity to continue our learning on PDA including relevant research from the PDA Society, ongoing conferences and summits, following PDA Adults and various professionals online, and reading articles from PDA informed authors. We strive to maintain a continual learning journey on PDA. 

Assessment Facts

When assessing for autism, there are several key elements to incorporate that we follow:

1. Observe the child during the assessment. This provides an initial way to observe any of the criteria that must be present to meet the DSM-5 criteria for a diagnosis. It is important to note, however, that many children may mask during an assessment. In order to see past masking, the following steps are also important. 

2. Discuss with the parents what they see at home. Many children feel safest at home, and this is where parents may see many of the features of autism. It is important to dig deep, ask questions beyond the ADI-R, and is why our interviews are typically longer than other clinicians. 

3. When masking is present we need to probe for the child's inner experiences, and find out how they perceive their experiences. Finding out the child's views and how they feel, is crucial. 

4. When looking for PDA, we are aware that many children who fit the PDA profile are often more social, give eye contact, and present differently that other autistic individuals. We incorporate the use of specific measures/tools, to determine if the demand avoidance is present in multiple areas of their life. This is not a diagnostic tool on its own, but helps to flush out PDA presentations. 

*It is important to note, that some children may not meet the DSM-5 criteria for an Autism diagnosis. Although we make every effort to see the full picture, we ultimately rely on the child during an assessment, the parent feedback, and the child feedback. Parents who provide detailed examples and accounts of their child's behaviours, find the most success. 


Fill out the form below and I'll be back in your Inbox within 1-3 business days.

Now Accepting New Clients


Let's Do This!

Message sent!

You will receive a response within 1-3 business days

Follow us on Insta @peonycounselling

the Gram

find US on