Support for Children with PDA

Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is a developmental condition particular to autism and falls under the spectrum. Elizabeth Newson first recognised it in 2003. Be that as it may, it is as yet not currently perceived in numerous apparatuses utilised for diagnosing autism. It is a complicated, testing and misconstrued condition that numerous experts regularly disregard or do not perceive. Systems useful for students with autism spectrum conditions may not be helpful in PDA cases.

Characteristics of PDA:

  • A need to oppose nomads, regular requests made by others. 
  • The opposition gives off an impression of managing severe anxiety. 
  • In contrast to those with autism, students with PDA may utilise social abilities to make things according to them.
  • These abilities are at a functional and intellectual level as opposed to the emotional level.

Characteristics of Behaviour Associated with PDA:

  • Resists and evades the standard demands of life. 
  • Appearing amiable yet deficient with regards to profundity incomprehension. 
  • Excessive emotional episodes and impulsivity. 
  • Comfortable in pretend and role-play.
  • Language delay.
  • Obsessive conduct, frequently focused on individuals, either cherishing or despising them. 
  • They can be oppressive and authoritarian. 
  • Parents frequently describe a “Jekyll and Hyde” character. 
  • Bossy and controlling. 
  • More at ease with grown-ups than children. 
  • Often overly sensitive to other’s voices, outward appearance and so on. 
  • Can be over acquainted with adults and peers. 
  • May assume the persona of others. 
  • May go into the role to go along 
  • May have a meltdown or panic attacks. 
  • Unaware of the effect of the conduct on others 
  • Can carry on contrastingly at school/school to home 
  • Unable to follow schedules whenever set by others 
  • Often have sensory issues – noise, contact, splendor and so forth 

What can schools and parents do to help children with PDA?

  • Try to stay calm and non-confrontational. The meltdown could be similar to a panic attack, so consolation and a quiet methodology instead of recriminations or discipline are probably going to be more viable. 
  • Avoid direct instructions, for example, ‘you need to,’ ‘you must.’ 
  • Provide choices, e.g. ‘might you want to put your shoes on anywhere?’ 
  • Communicate in a more communitarian way, e.g. ‘would you?’, ‘right?’ 
  • Indirectly complement the child to someone else within their earshot.
  • Acknowledge and empathise with the kid’s sentiments and mirror their feelings back to them, for example, ‘I think you are battling; simply put forth a valiant effort.’ 
  • Use humour or interruption. 
  • Look for indications of uneasiness and realise when to downsize demands. 
  • Be prepared to negotiate. 
  • Limit the number of boundaries and permit the child to feel in charge at every possible opportunity. 
  • Identify triggers and plan strategies ahead of time. 
  • Use composed solicitations or visual prompts to depersonalise the interest, for example, messages or notes.
  • Assign a person with whom the child can develop a confiding relationship. 
  • Utilise a cooperative, respectful correspondence style. 
  • Visual plans can assist with depersonalising requests/demands. 
  • Permit the child additional time to deal with what is said to them. 
  • Give the child duties regarding little responsibilities to help develop confidence. 
  • Assemble the educational program around particular interests. 
  • Make a safe space they can go to when required. 
  • Be ready to start from scratch again and again.

Information and comprehension of PDA are still at a beginning phase, yet exciting improvements are occuring in diagnostic understanding, greater awareness of effective instructive and helpful methodologies. With these coming along, there is a chance for more extensive acknowledgment of the condition just as better understanding and backing for PDA and their families.


Pathological demand avoidance. (2020, January 23). Retrieved February 27, 2021, from,you’ve%20got%20to’

Tips for dealing with young people with pathological demand avoidance (pda). (n.d.). Retrieved February 27, 2021, from

Understanding pathological demand avoidance (pda). (n.d.). Retrieved February 27, 2021, from

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