Pathological Demand Avoidance - Tania Marshall | Female Aspergers | Autism Spectrum

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Pathological Demand Avoidance

Find out more about research - PDA

Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) was coined by Elizabeth Newson in the 1980s to describe children who displayed characteristics of autism, but also were obsessively resistant to ordinary demands and requests, and unable to tolerate reasonable limits. Newson noted these children were surprisingly adept at using socially manipulative strategies, such as distraction or charm, to get round people.

Though Newson described this group as "superficially sociable", they lacked pride, embarrassment or a sense of responsibility to others (e.g. resorting to embarrassing or shocking behaviour). Many were also said to identify themselves as an adult, and were unable to negotiate with others their own age. Extreme changes in mood, such as sudden changes from calm to aggressive behaviour were also noted. Some of the children were also described as being comfortable in role play and would get lost in role as if they had "become" that persona.

Click here to view a short interview by Prof. Happe about PDA.

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