Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) can be used as a profile in some autistic people.
PDA was first coined in the 1980s by Professor Elizabeth Newson, who identified some characteristics amongst a group of individuals who she was working with, for assessment.
In the website www.autism.org.uk they state that “People with a PDA profile are driven to avoid everyday demands and expectations to an extreme extent. This demand avoidance is often (but according to some PDA adults, not always) accompanied by high levels of anxiety”.
If a child has an autism assessment and has PDA traits, it is often the case that the strategies used to support the autism will not be effective in terms of the support needed for PDA.
The PDA Society states that the profile of Pathological Demand Avoidance includes individuals who:
have a need for control which is often anxiety related
are driven to avoid everyday demands and expectations (including things that they want to do or enjoy) to an extreme extent
tend to use approaches that are ‘social in nature’ in order to avoid demands
present with many of the ‘key features’ of PDA rather than just one or two
tend not to respond to conventional parenting, teaching or support approaches