Case Studies - Adults

Many of our adult cases studies are from adults who were often not aware of being on the autism spectrum until later in life. Many may have tried to cope with their difficulties, very often beginning in early adolescence, by self-medicating or engaging in risky behaviours. This is common for individuals who are not diagnosed and are therefore unsupported and misunderstood. We hope that our case studies illustrate the benefits of their understanding of their Pathological Demand Avoidance.

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Tim’s story

Tim hadn’t heard of PDA until his youngest son was diagnosed with this profile of autism two years ago. During his son’s assessment Tim realised there were parallels with his own life. He was referred to adult mental health services by his GP where he was told that despite [...]

Ben’s Story

Years of being misunderstood led to one failed placement after another before Ben was eventually sectioned age 29 and spent 3 years in an ATU. His first supported living placement was too unstructured with serious repercussions for Ben’s health and wellbeing. Under the Care Act 2014, Ben’s family now [...]

Tony’s Story

Tony is 40 and lives in the U.S. He has a diagnosis of ASD with co-morbid Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Complex PTSD. He identifies strongly with PDA and has been reducing demands in his life so that he can lower his anxiety levels. His long-term goal in life is [...]

Mark’s Story

Mark ‘built masks*’ and ‘faked neuro-typical behaviour’ all his life whilst struggling under the surface with social interaction and unable to find a settled home or work life. Mark was diagnosed with autism aged 50 and self-identifies with a PDA profile. But lack of recognition of this more atypical [...]

Julia’s Story

Julia was diagnosed with PDA by Elizabeth Newson aged 12 after her increasingly challenging behaviour resulted in school exclusion and social isolation. Now in her early 30s, Julia recounts the impact PDA (and her co-morbid ADHD) has had from childhood onwards and how increased self-awareness and connecting with other [...]

Sally’s Story

Sally was diagnosed with autism in her 40s and through her own research self-identified as having a PDA profile. She felt empowered by the self-awareness that her diagnoses enabled and eloquently describes how this has helped transform her life whilst also explaining how PDA impacts her every moment. Sally [...]

Peter’s Story

Peter’s primary school years were a nightmare and his behaviour at home took a toll on his whole family. Lack of support and fighting the authorities added to the burden. Eventually his parents made the heart-breaking decision to request a residential placement for Peter. With experienced support staff who [...]

Riko’s Story

Riko was diagnosed with Asperger’s aged 27, and through her own research realised that PDA was the best fit for her profile. Looking back, Riko realises how much she masked her difficulties and found her own ways to accommodate for them, though she also experienced periods of deep depression [...]