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Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) in Autism: Uncovering the Challenges and Strategies for Support

February 29, 2024

By ABA Psychological Services

Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is a term to describe a group of behaviors commonly found in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). While it is a profile on the Autism spectrum, PDA first requires an Autism diagnosis.

In this article, we will discuss Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), including how it can appear in adults and children, highlighting the unique challenges those experiencing Pathological Demand Avoidance Autism face, and providing practical, supportive strategies to help manage and overcome them.

What Is Pathological Demand Avoidance?
For individuals with Autism and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), the typical profile of behaviors includes showing an extreme avoidance of everyday demands. Pathological Demand Avoidance is a complex condition that can present itself in various ways. Some Pathological Demand Avoidance symptoms include strong resistance to daily demands, using social strategies to dodge such demands, and mood swings. In addition, individuals may display a lack of arrogance and embarrassment, obsessive behavior, and a need for control. It's important to note that these symptoms may coexist with other conditions.

Pathological Demand Avoidance in Adults
Symptoms of Pathological Demand Avoidance in adults with Autism may appear as anxiety and stress, difficulty following requests, tasks, or instructions, and view them as demands. They may also have trouble in social situations and interactions, stubbornness when adapting to their environment, and more.

Pathological Demand Avoidance in Children
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) may exhibit extreme resistance to demands, similar to adults. They may resist by making excuses, creating distractions, or withdrawing altogether. Children may show behaviors like intense focus, escaping, or having a meltdown or panic attack when told to do something they don’t want to do.

Supportive Strategies for Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) in Autism
Some Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) Autism challenges can be managed with practical strategies and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). For instance, when working with someone who matches the Some Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) profile, it’s essential to build a genuine, trusting bond with them, respect when they say no to your demand and ask for their permission again later on, and engage them in positive conversations.

At ABA Psychological Services, P.C., we can assist individuals, families, and professionals dealing with the unique challenges associated with PDA. We offer supportive strategies to help in overcoming any PDA Autism challenges.

Work With Us
ABA Psychological Services, P.C., works with Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) to create effective treatment and service plans for children and adults with Autism. Discover how our support team can help individuals find practical solutions for navigating the complexities of PDA in the Autism community.

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