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PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) is a profile within the Autistic Spectrum.
PDA Links & Resources
If you’ve found my website because you are looking for more information on Pathological Demand Avoidance and you have lots of questions then you may need more information and support.
These are some great information websites to start with!
The NAS describe PDA:
“Pathological demand avoidance (PDA) is increasingly, but not universally, accepted as a behaviour profile that is seen in some individuals on the autism spectrum.
People with a demand avoidant profile share difficulties with others on the autism spectrum in social communication, social interaction and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests.
However, those who present with this particular diagnostic profile are driven to avoid everyday demands and expectations to an extreme extent. This demand avoidant behaviour is rooted in an anxiety-based need to be in control.
While the demand avoidant profile has been found to be relatively uncommon, it’s important to recognise and understand the distinct behaviour profile as it has implications for the way a person is best supported.”
Find more on the National Autistic Society PDA Page here
The PDA Society is a volunteer-run charity providing a wealth of information and support!
This is how the PDA Society identifies the Key Features Of PDA:
a) Resisting and avoiding the ordinary demands of life, e.g. This might include getting up, joining a family activity or getting dressed to name but a few. This may be the case even when the person wants to do what has been suggested, such as watching a film that they have been looking forward to. When initial avoidance strategies, such as those described below fail; the situation can quickly escalate and some individuals may resort to more extreme measures to avoid the demand such as shouting, swearing, hitting and damaging property. Others may shut down, withdraw or run away. This is a meltdown and should be viewed as a panic attack.
b) Using social strategies as part of the avoidance, e.g. Distracting – “I like your earrings, where did you get them from”, giving excuses – “I can’t walk because my legs are broken”, delaying – “I’ll do it in ten minutes”, withdrawing into fantasy – “I’m a cat and cat’s don’t wear clothes” and drowning out your request with noise “I can’t hear you because I’m singing – la, de, la, de, la …..”.
c) Appearing sociable on the surface, e.g. People with PDA may have a more socially acceptable use of eye contact. Their conversational skills may appear better than others on the autism spectrum, but this is still often lacking depth in their understanding. For instance, not seeing a difference between themselves and an authority figure, having difficulty in adjusting their own behaviour in response to the needs of others and not always understanding how, or why their behaviour can affect others at an emotional level and thus have a negative impact on their relationships.
d) Excessive mood swings and impulsivity, e.g. They can have great difficulty in regulating their own emotions and controlling their reactions to situations and people. The individual can rapidly switch from happy and engaging – to angry or sad in seconds, often with no visible build up or warning to others. This may be in response to the pressure of demands and perceived expectations.
Being comfortable in role play and pretence, sometimes to an extreme extent and the lines between reality and pretence can become blurred, e.g. Often adopting the persona of a figure of authority in role-playing scenarios to such an extent that they believe that they are that person. This role may often require them to oversee and direct others and as such, remain in control of the play e.g. taking on the role of a teacher when playing with peers. Role play can be used as a strategy to avoid demands made by others such as “I can’t pick that up because I’m a tractor and tractors don’t have hands” or role-playing the compliant child in school to reduce demands by flying under the radar. Withdrawing into fantasy can also be a form of self-protection, a place where they can go to when real life becomes too difficult to manage and to cope with.
e) ‘Obsessive’ behaviour that is often social in nature, People with PDA may often become obsessive about other people, either real or fictional, from either a love or hate perspective, which can make relationships very tricky. Newson et al noted that the demand avoidant behaviour itself also has an obsessive quality.
I have so many amazing friends in our community that write wonderful
Blogs or make awesome videos that would really enrich the work I’m bringing here at Peace With PDA!
First I’ll point you to this particular blog entry as it outlines an extensive wealth of information on books, videos, interviews, websites and more all on PDA and all clearly set out for you.
Thank you ‘Notes On PDA’ for your amazing commitment and hard work!
And here’s a special mention for my dear friend and inspiring PDA blogger ‘Love PDA’ which I fell in love with when I started reading about PDA myself:
Harry Thompson is an adult with PDA who has brought a whole new wave of understanding PDA!
If you care for a child or young person you believe is PDA and you’d like to join our evergrowing gentle & supportive Facebook community to learn more about using EFT, please ask to join today >>>