What is Pathological (or Extreme) Demand Avoidance (P/EDA)?
“The existence of PDA as a ‘diagnostic term’ and how it fits within the autism spectrum is widely debated. With limited evidence-based research there is no conclusive and agreed upon definition of PDA. What is generally agreed upon is what is often referred to as a PDA profile:
People with a PDA profile are driven to avoid everyday demands and expectations to an extreme extent. This demand avoidance is often (but according to some PDA adults, not always) accompanied by high levels of anxiety.”
(The National Autistic Society)
The Somerset Demand Avoidance Policy
The Somerset SEND Partnership acknowledge that there has been much discussion about P/EDA.
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.
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.
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.