History of PDA- some key dates

1980s - Prof Elizabeth Newson identified a group of children who presented as different to other children on the autistic spectrum, but similar to each other. Her early research can be found on our published articles page.

1997 - The PDA Contact Group was formed, affiliated to Contact a Family. The primary aim of the group was to put people interested in PDA in touch with each other.

2003 - Elizabeth Newson et al published 'Pathological demand avoidance syndrome: a necessary distinction within the pervasive developmental disorders' in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. It proposed to recognise pathological demand avoidance syndrome (PDA) as a separate entity within the pervasive developmental disorders, instead of being classed under “pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified”. Download the 'Family of Pervasive Development Disorders' diagram here.

2006 - PDA paper presented by Phil Christie at World Autism Congress, Capetown.

2008 - Information about PDA was published on the National Autistic Society's web site

2010 - Liz O'Nions et al began their research into PDA.

2011 - The National Autistic Society's first conference on PDA. The first book on PDA was also published, 'Understanding PDA in Children'.

2012 - National Autism Standards guidance on PDA was created, based on Phil Christie's GAP paper from 2007.

2013 - The first PDA awareness day was held in May 2013, and the PDA Contact Group (now PDA Society) launched a Facebook page and Twitter feed.

2014 - The PDA Contact Group became the PDA Society and a new web site was launched.

2015 - The National Autistic Society update their website and publications to include PDA as part of the Autism Spectrum 

2016 - The PDA Society awarded charity status in England and Wales, Registered Charity No. 1165038


Further reading and information about PDA

If you are concerned that your child may have PDA: Please view our 'Does My Child Have PDA'? section of our website.

Adults with PDA: There is very little research that looks into the adult presentation of ASD with a profile of PDA. Therefore, much of the information below is based on our understanding and knowledge of children with PDA. For further information about how this presentation of ASD can manifest during the adult years please view adult life and our adult case studies.

Further information about PDA can be found in the following areas of our website.

The National Autistic Society also provide an increasing amount of information about PDA.


Please note that the PDA Society are not making any recommendations nor is responsible for the content of sites and links that are external to the PDA Society.

Please contact us if you discover any broken links