This website was set up by parents of children with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), a profile of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to increase awareness so that families can be better supported for this complex condition. It also serves as a contact point for families and professionals wanting to learn about PDA and network with others.
PDA was first described in the 1980s by the late Professor Elizabeth Newson in Nottingham, UK and has slowly gained recognition since. The UK National Autistic Society describe PDA as "a profile that describes those whose main characteristic is to avoid everyday demands and expectations to an extreme extent." PDA is a unique profile because individuals can appear to have better social understanding and communication skills than other autistic people.
It is important that general practitioners are aware of the characteristics of the PDA profile so that they can refer patients to appropriate specialists. PDAANZ is actively involved in increasing awareness amongst GPs, specialists, academics and educationalists, to ensure that people with PDA are understood and supported.
Individuals with PDA present with oppositional behaviour due to high anxiety. Oppositional behaviour is not a choice for people with PDA.