The National Autistic Society is supporting calls for greater awareness of pathological demand avoidance (PDA). Our charity is clear that PDA is part of the autism spectrum.

Greater awareness of PDA is important so that clinicians can provide a more accurate profile of an individual’s strengths and needs following a diagnostic assessment. This can lead to more appropriate support.

A new petition to the Scottish Parliament is calling for action by the Scottish Government to improve knowledge and expertise in PDA among health, care and educational professionals across Scotland.

In a survey of autistic people and family members in Scotland carried out by our charity, 50% of people who responded said they thought professional understanding of autism was poor or very poor. Anecdotally, we hear from parents that understanding among professionals of how someone with a PDA behaviour profile may present and the different strategies and type of support they might need is even lower.

PDA was first identified by Professor Elisabeth Newson at the Child Development Research Unit of Nottingham University in the 1980s. However, it was not until 2003 that the first ever peer reviewed research paper on PDA was published. The concept of a PDA behaviour profile is still evolving and developing.

As a result, PDA quite new to many, which is why we back this petition to encourage further research and an increased awareness among professionals.

Sign the petition