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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 across the globe since. In the "National Guideline For the assessment and diagnosis of autism in Australia" by Autism CRC, Recommendation 45.8 says that, "Practitioners should consider all plausible explanations for a client’s behaviour when establishing their strengths and support needs, as well as considering diagnostic characteristics. For example: . . .  A client may avoid demands and expectations in everyday life to an extreme extent. Rather than being viewed as the client being oppositional or defiant, practitioners should consider whether the behaviours are instead driven by an anxiety-based need to be in control. Pathological (or extreme) demand avoidance refers to a set of characteristics that can co-occur with autism and is recognised as a behavioural profile within autism."


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.

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