What is PDA?

Research by Family Graffiti | Published on 12th February 2018

What is Pathological Demand Avoidance?


PDA is a developmental, behavioural condition that is recognized in some individuals within the autism spectrum. It is also heavily influenced by anxiety disorders and is exemplified by “a need to be in control”. They will probably argue against every suggestion or compliance you try to make. Opposition is to be expected.

Individuals may display many behavioural and social difficulties, but they are often more strongly driven to avoid everyday demands and expectations, to an extreme extent. They make strong attempts to be the controller, the leader and are very dominating of peers and siblings. They become very angry and more motivated to dominate when they are anxious, or when they recognize that they are not leading the ‘pack’.

It is described as being pathological, because of the randomness of their actions and the extent and extreme nature of their socially shocking reactions. Their actions can be very extreme, even when avoiding seemingly everyday events and expectations.

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