Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)

What is Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)?

  • Pathological Demand Avoidance is a behavior pattern where individuals resist everyday demands due to anxiety
  • Often seen in people with autism.
  • Those with PDA might seem socially adept but struggle with demands, leading to avoidance behaviors

How Does PDA Affect Behavior?

  • People with PDA may resist ordinary requests, displaying behaviors seen as socially manipulative or inconsistent.
  • They might prefer imaginative play, finding comfort in scenarios they control, which helps manage their anxiety.

What are some Effective Techniques to Support Individuals with PDA?

  • Approach them with flexibility, using indirect requests and playful engagement to reduce feelings of demand.
  • Building trust is crucial. Understanding and empathetic communication can help manage PDA-related challenges.
  • Tailoring support to their interests and strengths, and providing an environment with less perceived pressure, can be effective.

Role of Coaching

    • Personalized Support: Tailoring strategies to meet the unique needs of each individual with PDA.
    • Understanding PDA: Helping individuals build metacognition, and families understand the nuances of PDA and its impact on behavior and daily life.
    • Building Trust: Establishing a trusting relationship to encourage open communication and cooperation.
    • Flexible Approaches: Utilizing indirect and non-confrontational methods to reduce feelings of demand and pressure.
    • Integrating Interests: Incorporating the individual’s interests into daily routines as a means of engagement and motivation.
    • Enhancing Communication Skills: Offering guidance on effective communication strategies that consider the sensitivities associated with PDA.
a child refusing food from a mother, all in stick figures showing demand resistance

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