In January 2014, the Autism Research Policy Practice Hub hosted some online question and answer sessions, one of these session was foucsing on the DISCO questionnaire. These particular questions were answered by Judith Gould, of the National Autistic Society. The whole transcript of the questions and answers can be found here
Q: Is it possible to diagnose PDA using the DISCO? And can you clarify the 17 Sub Sections – what is the score for PDA to be present out of 17?
A: Pathological Demand Avoidance syndrome (PDA) is now considered as a subgroup on the autism spectrum. In the DISCO there are specific questions relating to this pattern of behaviour. Therefore using the DISCO enables the clinician to recognise this. You are correct there are 17 questions not sub sections in the DISCO which relate to the PDA pattern of behaviour. There is no score as such but having a number of these alerts the clinician to explore this diagnosis. Research has been carried out by Liz O’nions using the DISCO questions together with the work carried out at the Elizabeth Newson Centre and she has produced a questionnaire called ‘Extreme Demand Avoidance Questionnaire (EDA-Q)’. One of her papers is currently in press in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. For further information on PDA you could contact Liz on her website. The importance of understanding this pattern of behaviour is important for the management strategies in dealing with such individuals as these strategies differ from that of an autism spectrum disorder. It is important to recognise that this is a separate subgroup.