PDA: The Demand Avoidant Profile of Autism

Autism Information

Author: PDA North America
Published: 2022/04/08
Contents: Summary - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: Autism and PDA. It's not what you think! This Autism Awareness Month, help spread awareness about PDA, the Demand Avoidant Profile of Autism. We know that autism is dimensional - it involves a complex and overlapping pattern of strengths, differences, and challenges that present differently from one individual to another. In some ways, there are practically as many expressions of autism as there are autistic people. However, there are also some clusters of traits - formally called presentations, or profiles - that we see over and over again. One of those that we are just beginning to understand is Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome (PDA).

Introduction

What do you think of when you hear PDA? If you thought "Public Displays of Affection" - well, you're not wrong - but that's definitely not what we mean when we talk about PDA in the context of autism!

Main Digest

Although the Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome (PDA) has become more and more widely understood in the UK, this clinical profile of autism is just at the precipice of being "discovered" by American educators, psychologists, therapists, and families. That's good (if belated) news for American individuals who may be impacted by it.

"Our understanding of autism is still evolving, especially in the U.S.," says Diane Gould, a Chicago social worker and founder of PDA North America, a new initiative that is working to bridge the PDA understanding gap on this side of the Atlantic.

As the UK-based PDA Society, from which PDA North America draws inspiration, explains on their website:

"We know that autism is dimensional - it involves a complex and overlapping pattern of strengths, differences, and challenges that present differently from one individual to another. In some ways, there are practically as many expressions of autism as there are autistic people. However, there are also some clusters of traits - formally called presentations, or profiles - that we see over and over again. One of those that we are just beginning to understand is PDA."

Unlike some of the more widely known autism profiles, PDA can sometimes present in a way that is quite different from what people think autism 'is supposed to look like'. This can lead to misdiagnosis or lack of a diagnosis altogether - especially in autistic women and girls, who are classically under diagnosed.

Unfortunately, this misdiagnosis can prevent people with the PDA profile of autism from accessing resources and support that could otherwise be life-changing for them and their families.

"Strategies that are suggested for autistic children and adults on the whole not only don't work for PDAers, but make things worse," says Gould. "That is why it is so important for Americans to become aware of PDA."

"All research points to early identification and tailored support being the best predictor of positive long-term outcomes," adds the PDA Society website. "Recognizing these profiles helps identify the approaches or support that will be most helpful for each individual."

So, what does the PDA profile of autism tend to look like? A PDA profile of autism means that individuals share autistic characteristics:

...and also:

"Learning to watch for and recognize these characteristics in children and young adults, or really folks of any age, is critical to identifying people who meet the PDA profile and connecting them with the correct types of support," says Gould. They need genuine understanding and a collaborative approach.

Even without a diagnosis, there are many useful strategies that families and professionals can apply.

Truly being able to take advantage of these strategies, of course, also depends on a new cohort of American professionals learning more about PDA and integrating best practices into their treatment and educational models.

Fortunately, PDA North America is here to help - offering annual conferences, ongoing webinars and parent support, consultation, as well as custom group trainings. For more information, visit pdanorthamerica.com or contact info@pdanorthamerica.com

Attribution/Source(s):

This quality-reviewed publication was selected for publishing by the editors of Disabled World due to its significant relevance to the disability community. Originally authored by PDA North America, and published on 2022/04/08, the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or brevity. For further details or clarifications, PDA North America can be contacted at pdanorthamerica.com. NOTE: Disabled World does not provide any warranties or endorsements related to this article.

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Cite This Page (APA): PDA North America. (2022, April 8). PDA: The Demand Avoidant Profile of Autism. Disabled World. Retrieved July 14, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/health/neurology/autism/pda-asd.php

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