Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is a term coined to describe children (many with an autism spectrum diagnosis) who show a range of extreme behaviours in response to everyday demands, including social distraction, retreat into role-play, verbal or physical attack. Such children are said to dislike praise, and fail to respond to educational approaches useful for ASD, such as routine and repetition.
Despite normal IQ, children receiving the PDA label often fail in mainstream schools, and the outcome for such young people appears to be poor. To date there has been no systematic research on this possible syndrome or subgroup, despite a substantial UK based web presence. I will discuss some theoretical perspectives on the possible relationship between PDA and Autism Spectrum Disorders, and present some preliminary findings from our on-going research attempting to measure demand avoidance and compare profiles across different clinical groups.