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New Research Project by students at UCL in collaboration with Dr Liz O'Nions - can you help?
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,151
    Exploring Demand Avoidance Behaviours in Children with and without Autism

    Relatively little is known about demand avoidance behaviour in children with ASC. Our research aims to provide a better understanding about these behaviours, supporting the development of much needed support for children and families.

    We are recruiting parents of children aged 6-11 years old. We are particularly interested in hearing from you if either of the following criteria apply to your child:

    - An Autism Spectrum Condition diagnosis, with or without demand avoidant behaviours
    - No distinct behavioural difficulties

    Participating involves answering some questions about your child and their behaviour. This is can be done online or on paper and typically takes around 25 minutes. Some participants may then be contacted to complete some further questionnaires which should take about 20 minutes to complete. All participants will be given the chance to win up to £50 in Amazon vouchers.

    This study is in collaboration with Dr Liz O’Nions, Postdoctoral Researcher, Leuven University, and Dr William Mandy, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Lecturer, UCL. Full ethical approval from University College Research Ethics Committee was granted on the 24th February 2017, reference: 10193/001.

    We would hugely value your help with this study. If you are interested or would like to take part, please email Ellie Bishop ( or Anna Goodson ( Thank you!

    Ellie Bishop/Anna Goodson
    Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology
    University College London
    1-19 Torrington Place
    WC1E 7HB

  • An Autism Spectrum Condition diagnosis, with or without demand avoidant behaviours

    Why are they avoiding calling it PDA? This is really annoying, so many professionals are just calling it demand avoidant behaviours and not recognising that it's a distinct ASD subtype and it damages the cause.
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,151
    They are looking at all demand avoidant behaviours, they supply more information when you contact them which specifically includes PDA.
  • So are they making a distinction between PDA and mild demand avoidance? I think there are issues with some professionals not understanding the nature of the autistic spectrum, as we know, PDA is a spectrum also.
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,151
    These are some of the details found in their supporting info:

    What is the research about?
    This research is exploring demand avoidance behaviour in children.
    All children can struggle with behavioural challenges, and these can have a considerable impact on their daily lives. ‘Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)’ refers to a set of behaviours that some children may display, including an extreme avoidance of demands. PDA is currently thought by some to be linked with Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC), but this association is still unclear.
    ASC refers to a group of neurodevelopmental disorders, typically categorised by difficulties in social communication and interaction, repetitive and restricted behaviours and limited interests and activities. Due to the wide variability in symptoms, ASC is thought of as being on a spectrum. It is a relatively common disorder, estimated to affect every 1 in 42 males and 1 in 189 females.
    Whilst demand avoidance behaviours are being recognised more frequently in clinical work, it is still a relatively under-researched area. We aim to explore the underlying processes involved in demand avoidance, to contribute to a better understanding of these behaviours in all children.

    If you have further questions I'm sure Ellie and Anna will be pleased to help if you contact them direct.
  • Thanks RhanH.

    "PDA is currently thought by some to be linked with Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC), but this association is still unclear."

    This shows me they are of the mindset I thought. Or at the very least non-committal.

    I hope this research therefore will cement in their minds that PDA is an ASD and it's a real condition.
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,151
    Ellie and Anna are seeking more participants for their research. Please consider helping if you can and contact them directly using the details above. Thank you.

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