Pathological demand avoidance (PDA) is a behaviour profile found within the autism spectrum. Dr Pooky Knightsmith looks at the implications for schools and teachers and how to support pupils
Image: Adobe Stock - Image: Adobe Stock

Pathological demand avoidance (PDA) is a behaviour profile within the autism spectrum characterised by an extreme avoidance of everyday demands and expectations. This can present unique challenges for pupils, educators, and parents alike. 

Individuals with PDA experience an overwhelming need to avoid everyday demands and expectations due to high anxiety levels. This is not just about wanting to do things their own way or being strong-willed; it is about an intense anxiety that drives them to feel they must be in control of their surroundings and interactions to avoid any demands they perceive – from simple daily tasks to specific educational activities. 

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