PDA is a profile of autism

Whilst autism is a well-recognised term, our understanding of the full breadth and complexity of the autism spectrum is still evolving.

Autism is dimensional, it involves a complex and overlapping pattern of strengths, differences and challenges that present differently from one individual to another; and in the same individual, over time or in different environments.

A cluster of traits can be called a presentation or a profile – in some cases this can be quite different from what some people think autism ‘looks like’.

Recognising these profiles signposts the approaches or support that will be most helpful for each individual.

The approach required for PDA individuals can differ greatly from the approach that may be taken with other autistic profiles, and so it is beneficial for families, educators, social workers and practitioners to be able to recognise and understand the nuances of PDA.

Driven by high anxiety and the need for control...

  • This often leads to intense mood swings...
  • Resisting ordinary demands that are asked or unsaid...
  • To even enjoyable activities from seeing friends, hobbies or simply switching games on a console...
  • Often using social strategies to avoid demands...
  • They may appear sociable but may lack understanding...
  • Which maybe covered by MASKING...
  • Often happy and comfortable in role play, pretence or fantasy, sometimes to the extreme extent...

Personally I prefer the term pervasive Desire Of Autonomy.

My experience as a parent...

  • When my son used social ‘ manipulation’ to avoid a demand saying he couldn’t put his dirty plates away as his arms didn’t work. 
  • The anxiety before seeing a friend and how conflicted he’s been as desperately wanted to go but the demand is too much.
  • The extremes in behaviour from losing a game to absolute delight when he wins.

Let’s talk about the positives...

  • Wonderful problem solver
  • An absolute eye for photography
  • Determined to do or finish a project
  • Follows the instructions with Lego
  • Smart, funny and thoughtful
  • Creative and talented

As we grow, so will our directory of groups, communities and professionals, providing an ever expanding global network to positively impact PDA resources world wide. 

At The PDA Space, we aim to be fully inclusive.

We are passionate about providing ease of access to resources to those who may not always find this so easy. Whether this is due to disability, geographical, political or socio-economic restrictions, we want to at least attempt to remove some of the barriers you may face when seeking information and access to professionals and resources. Through our events, we work to ensure that all communities, from all backgrounds, regardless of location or financial situation, have access to valuable and productive resources to enhances the lives of those living with PDA. 

Let us keep you posted...

If you are interested in finding out more about Pathological Demand Avoidance and would like to receive notifications about our conferences and FREE online events, including the next international Positive PDA Virtual Summit, sign up to our monthly newsletter containing relevant advice and information.