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Children Playing Outdoor

PDA - Pathological Demand Avoidance

This section contains information and links to support families, carers and Schools with a child with Autism and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). If you have any further information please let me know and I will add it.

Children with PDA also have a diagnosis of Autism, PDA is a very specific subset of Autism, here are some tips to help to support the learning of a child with PDA:

  • Reduce demands

  • Ignore extreme behaviour, just carry on as if nothing is happening

  • Give clear reasons for non negotiable boundaries 

  • Use negotiation, collaboration and flexibility

  • Use indirect commands such e.g. Maybe we could, lets investigate

  • Don't use terms such as you have to, you need to 

  • Get them to teach - can you help me? will you show me? 

  • Have quiet zones and relaxation techniques

  • Offer controlled choices e.g. shall we do English or Maths first? 

  • Use social stories to talk about changes

  • Use visual timetables, now and then boards (check the tools page)

  • Use puzzles and mysteries to keep them interested, tap into their interests

  • Avoid confrontation

  • Be flexible what works one day might not work the next

Useful information sources

National Autistic Society (

Home Page - Autism East Midlands

Ambitious about Autism | National charity for children and young people with autism

PDA Society – Pathological Demand Avoidance – Part of the Autism Spectrum

Autism Therapy
Playing with Toys
Working Comfortably
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