Guy smiling and playing piano
Person holding up art piece over their face with paint
Person on yoga mat smiling with their dog
Person pushing friend on skateboard smiling with their arms up

Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)

PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) is widely understood to be a profile on the autism spectrum. PDA involves the avoidance of everyday demands and the use of ‘social’ strategies as part of this avoidance.

PDA profile features include:

  • resisting and avoiding the ordinary demands of life
  • using social strategies as part of the avoidance
  • appearing ‘socially able’ but this may mask underlying differences/difficulties in social interaction and communication
  • experiencing intense emotions and mood swings
  • appearing comfortable in role play, pretense and fantasy
  • intense focus, often on other people (real or fictional)
  • a need for control, often driven by anxiety or an automatic ‘threat response’
  • conventional approaches in support, parenting or teaching are ineffective

(credit: PDA Society)


  • Being Julia
  • ​​​​​​​PDA – My Daughter is Not Naughty Pathological Demand Avoidance Explained
  • Calendar Girl: The memoirs of a PDA child in a dysfunctional family
  • The Family Experience of PDA
  • Ways to Be Me

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