Pathological Demand Avoidance | Ambitious about Autism
Skip to Content

Pathological Demand Avoidance

Buttercup's picture

Pathological Demand Avoidance

Wed 6 Jan 2016 1:13pm


Hi, I subscribe to a few blogs on autism and I recently came across this blog post on PDA it was like a lightbulb moment for me and I started reading up on it pretty much immediately. It is part of the autism spectrum, although it is not recognised by all countries as a separate diagnosis. 

my 18 year old son has a diagnosis of high functioning autism and although it has been helpful, there are definitely some things that did not quite fit. Everyone with autism is different so I put it down to that.

The really crucial thing about PDA is that the strategies that often work for children with an ASD diagnosis may not work, or may even make things worse for children who have PDA. 

I have just finished a book on the subject which I read open-mouthed in astonishment. It was so accurate it was as if the authors had been spying on my family. 

It is kind of hard to describe , but it is an overwhelming need to be in control that is driven by anxiety. And the anxiety bit is important. So they avoid everyday demands, even if the thing they are being asked to do is not difficult or unpleasant. It is the demand that is the problem, not the task. They often have better social communication than others on the spectrum. Often better at role play and pretending too. 

I wanted to share, as I thought maybe others have kids who do not respond to the usual techniques and need a very different approach. The National Autism Society has some useful info too, unfortunately I couldn't get the link to paste properly. 

I read out the criteria to James and we were actually laughing because it was so exactly him. What a relief to know this isn't some character flaw, but is the result of a brain that is built in a certain way. I won't be seeking to get a specific diagnosis as he already has an autism diagnosis and that does cover it. 


Amy - Community Champion

Back to discussions
Read our guidelines
1 Comment

  • JosieB's picture

    Hi Amy


    I am sure I've mentioned this before about Tom as well.  He can't do something that he's asked to do .... because he's been asked and he can't explain why, but he says to me if you didn't ask me I could have done it.    The only problem with that though is that I'm asking him to do things that he should have done days ago so just how am I supposed to get him to do things if I can't ask him.    It's a bit like the chicken and the egg.

    Josie - Community Champion

Back to discussions

Back to top