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PDA Resources

Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is an intense avoidance of daily undertakings, such as brushing one's teeth or eating, often but not always because of paralyzing anxiety and dysregulation of one's very sensitive nervous system. It is a condition seen in many autistic adults and children. PDA has yet to be recognized by the the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses (DSM-5), so it can be difficult for individuals get a professional diagnosis in the United States. Sacred Space Coaching offers support for autistic adults with a PDA profile.

PDA Society

The UK's PDA Society is favorite resource for many PDAer adults, parents, caregivers, and professionals since 1997. Below is PDA Society's PDA Traits worksheet as well as a PDA Traits example worksheet for downloading. We recommend checking out PDA Society's website for the many other resources available to you.

Download PDF • 319KB
Download DOCX • 22KB

PDA of North America

PDA of North America is another helpful resource with seminars and classes available, including the PDA North America Conference this March. Registration is available here. Two of many free resources you may find helpful include the Internalized PDA and What is PDA, a sheet that might be especially helpful when trying to explain Pathological Demand Avoidance to therapists, doctors, teachers, IEP teams, and family/friends.

Sally Cat's PDA Blog

Sally Cat's PDA Blog is extremely popular with many PDAers. Sally shares that PDAers have the most employment difficulties of all neurotypes, including non-PDAer autistic adults. PDAers often find both school and work very difficult because of attendance and compliance. Coaching is one way to get help with these challenges. Sally has been writing her blog since 2018 and you'll find a wealth of information available.

PDA Neurodivergence & the Perpetually Determined Advocate Podcast

Cassandre created her podcast to raise awareness of and acceptance of PDA and other forms of neurodivergence. In Cassandre's podcast episode "Explaining PDA to others," she talks about teaching others about PDA from her son's point of view. Cassandre's son resists his own demands as much as those placed upon him by others, a key trait to PDA that isn't present in other forms of demand avoidance. Cassandre explains that PDA not only "pushes others around" but also "pushes" her son around with himself. Cassandre shares in an internal demand example, when she's "seen her son tense up and panic when trying to decide on a snack or what direction to take on a video game or whether he wants to keep doing what he's doing on stop." After a pretty rough meltdown, Cassandre's young son was able to explain that "his body tells him to do one thing but his brain tells him to do something else and he cannot stop it." Cassandre explains that PDAers are at war with themselves, which is something we hear often from our coaching clients.

I am Mindblind

Meet Amanda Dittlinger of "I am Mindblind." She is an AuDHD woman with PDA, Aphantasia, the inability to visualize, and SDAM, a lifelong inability to vividly recollect or re-experience personal pass events through a first-person perspective. Like many other late diagnosed autistic or AuDHD women, Amanda did not receive her ADHD and Autism diagnoses until age 42.

In one "I am Mindblind" Vlog episode, PDA Survival Guide: Tips and Tricks for Adults with Autism, Amanda shares that PDA is not something that is easy to overcome. Amanda then offers examples of how she sometimes works with and around her PDA.

In another "I am Mindblind"Vlog edition, Do I Fit the PDA Autism Profile, Amanda talks about loving volunteer work but that when money is involved, she can no longer do the "thing" she loves to do. And, once someone talks about something she wants to do, she often no longer engage in the activity, which is very frustrating, but a common trait of PDA.

Kristy Forbes, Australian-based Autism & Neurodiversity Support Specialist

In Kristy's Youtube video, Working With My PDA Brain When Triggered, she shares many of the ways a PDA brain can be traumatized, such as when someone is raised by a PDA parent. Because a PDA brain needs control, you can imagine the difficulties with the parent and child's PDA jockeying for control. Kristy also talks about a short exchange with a friend in which Kristy found herself in need of disconnect and self preserving when a very small demand was made by her close friend. In order to preserve the friendship , Kristy sat with herself and allowed the other parts of her brain to have a "conversation"with her PDA parts and think through the situation with her friend. In order to solve this challenge, Kristy also talked with another PDAer friend who could empathize and help her get back on track.

We hope you will find these resources helpful and there will be more to come in the near future. You can also check out our original post on managing your PDA here.

You can also find PDA North America's list of certified providers here.

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