Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is now widely recognised as a distinct profile of autism. Individuals with a PDA profile will share similar difficulties to others on the autism spectrum in the following areas:

  • Social Communication Difficulties
  • ​Social Interaction Difficultiess
  • Restrictive and Repetitive patterns of behaviour (including sensory seeking or sensory avoiding behaviour)

In addition, the central difficulty for people with PDA is their “anxiety-driven need to be in control and avoid other people’s demands and expectations.” Understanding PDA in Children. Christie, Duncan, Fidler & Healy (2011). Furthermore, research conducted by Newcastle University in 2016 concluded that this extreme anxiety could be underpinned by an intolerance of uncertainty.

It is the Autism which underpins the extreme demand avoidance and need for control. It is worth noting that ‘demand avoidance’, as a sign and symptom of possible Autism, is included in The National Institute of Care and Excellence (NICE) Pathways guidance. Therefore, there should be no discussion about the existence of ‘demand avoidance’ as a sign or symptom of autism.