Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is characterised by an extreme avoidance of everyday demands and an anxiety-driven need to be in control. PDA is recognised as a sub-type of autism by the National Autistic Society and is sometimes known as Extreme Demand Avoidance.

The main symptom of PDA involves obsessive resistance of demands. This can include:

  • refusing
  • giving excuses
  • distracting or changing the topic of conversation
  • negotiating or needing to have the last word
  • bombarding with repetitive questions or noises
  • withdrawing into fantasy world
  • complaining of physical impairment - 'my legs won't work'
  • panic-driven physical outbursts or meltdowns.

Advice specific for working with students who present with PDA traitsPDA Facts

PDA Strategies in the ClassroomPDA booklet

Positive PDA Booklet 28 pages