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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