If you've found your way here, it is likely that you have heard the term Pathological Demand Avoidance/Persistent Drive for Autonomy (PDA). Although we are still in the earlier stages of research and recognition, PDA is gaining increasing awareness and legitimacy. What is important to know about PDA is that it is currently understood to be a profile on the autism spectrum, and that there are a cluster of characteristics that people with a PDA profile share. Most notable is sensitive neuroception impacted by any perceived loss of autonomy, including routine, everyday demands.
We also know that PDA is often missed or misdiagnosed, which increases risk factors associated with PDA, such as issues around access to education, burnout, anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. While I am eager for growing research and PDA awareness, we don't need to wait to start providing meaningful support. We already know that there are adults, children, and families that feel best understood through a PDA lens, and that have felt supported by an approach developed from this understanding.
From The PDA Society website:
A PDA profile of autism means that individuals share autistic characteristics …
… and in addition:
Source: The PDA Society