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Autism and ADHD Pathway

What you can expect when going through the Autism and/or ADHD Assessment Pathway

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Part of
Autism and ADHD Pathway

What you can expect when going through the Autism and/or ADHD Assessment Pathway

What is Demand Avoidance?

Everyone experiences ‘demand avoidance’ (resistance to doing something that is requested or expected of you) sometimes. However, here we use demand avoidance to mean the characteristic of a persistent and marked resistance to ‘the demands of everyday life’, which may include essential demands such as eating and sleeping as well as expected demands such as going to school or work.

Although demand avoidance is widely acknowledged as a characteristic experienced by and observed in some autistic people and potentially other neurodivergent, but not autistic, people, there is very little research into it and the research that does exist is generally of a low quality. Because of this, many aspects of demand avoidance – including how it is best defined and identified; how common it is; why it happens; and support strategies for someone experiencing it – are under-researched and often contested.

The National Autistic Society regularly updates its webpage on Demand Avoidance.

Demand Avoidance is sometimes known as Pathological/Extreme Demand Avoidance or P/EDA

The Somerset Demand Avoidance Policy

We believe that every young person in Somerset should have their individual needs understood, including when accessing an autism assessment. Assessment services in Somerset are focussed on understanding children and young people, rather than just a diagnosis. This may include a description of demand avoidant behaviours that the young person engages in, and an attempt to understand why they feel the need to do so.

Services in Somerset are only able to give diagnoses that are listed in specific classification manuals (ICD-11 or DSM-V). In short, P/EDA is not currently a recognised diagnosis in the United Kingdom.  However, we recognise that some young people will act in ways that help them to avoid demands. This includes some young people who meet the criteria for a diagnosis of autism.

This position will be reviewed and updated in line with current and emerging evidence and NICE guidance. We will continue to follow our protocol and guidelines when assessing for a possible Autism Spectrum Conditions.

Statement Updated November 2023

Further information and support

Further information and how to support children and young people who are demand avoidant both at home and at school can be found in Supporting children and young people who are demand avoidant page .

Last reviewed: January 31, 2024 by Gemma

Next review due: July 31, 2024

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