Pathological Demand Avoidance Test for Kids

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you’re a parent, you want the best for your child, and it can be difficult to watch them struggle with any kind of issue. Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is a condition that affects some children and can make everyday life challenging. This condition can cause stress and anxiety for both the child and their family. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at PDA, what it is, and what you can do to help your child. Take our pathological demand avoidance test for kids below to see if your kiddo shares similar symptoms to kids who have a PDA diagnosis.

What is Pathological Demand Avoidance?

Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is a type of autism spectrum disorder that affects the way a child processes and responds to demands. Children with PDA often avoid routine tasks and requests. Even when they understand them, and can become extremely anxious or upset when faced with these demands. This can make daily life difficult for both the child and their family.

Symptoms of Pathological Demand Avoidance

Avoiding routine tasks and activitiesDifficulties with everyday tasks or responsibilities
Struggling with change and transitionsUnsettled by alterations in routine or environment
Becoming anxious or upset in response to demands and expectationsHeightened emotions when faced with requests or obligations
Difficulty with social interactionsChallenges in engaging with others or understanding social cues
Repetitive behaviorsEngaging in repeated actions or routines
Unusual responses to sensory inputAtypical reactions to sounds, textures, tastes, or other sensory experiences
If you’re concerned that your child may have PDA, it’s important to seek the help of a professional. Only a doctor or specialist can diagnose PDA with a pathological demand avoidance test, and they’ll be able to provide you with a tailored treatment plan to help your child.

Causes of Pathological Demand Avoidance

When it comes to the pathological demand avoidance test, it’s essential to know that the exact cause of PDA is still not wholly understood. Researchers believe it could be related to how a child’s brain processes information and reacts to demands or expectations. PDA might have a genetic component, but it’s also possible that environmental factors play a part too. As a parent, it’s important to grasp the causes behind PDA, which helps tailor the most effective treatment plan for your unique child. Remember, each child is different, and understanding their needs is paramount to their growth and well-being.

a dad who took the pathological demand avoidance test for kids because he thinks his son could potentially have pda
Read more: Power Tools for Power Struggles With Kids

Impact of Pathological Demand Avoidance on Daily Life

The impact of PDA on a child’s daily life can be significant, extending to their relationships with family, friends, and school. Children who have PDA may find it challenging to complete routine tasks and activities, leading to anxiety or distress when confronted with expectations and demands. This can create difficulties in the child’s daily life, not only for themselves but also for their family.

Treatment Options for Pathological Demand Avoidance

There are several treatment options available for PDA. The right one for your child will depend on their specific needs and symptoms. Some of the most effective treatments for PDA include:

  • Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy can help children with PDA improve their ability to perform everyday activities. This may include activities like playing with textures, swinging, and climbing.
  • Speech therapy: Speech therapy can help children with PDA improve their communication skills and oral-motor skills.
  • Behavior therapy: Behavior therapy can help children with PDA learn new behaviors and coping strategies to help them manage their condition.
  • Medications: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage the symptoms of PDA. This is typically only done in severe cases, and under the supervision of a doctor.

It’s important to work with a specialist to determine the best treatment plan for your child. With the right resources and support, children with PDA can lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Read More: Why Would a Child Need Occupational Therapy?

Free PDA Test for Kids

Pathological Demand Avoidance Test for Kids

Please Note: This information is not meant to diagnose or treat and should not take the place of personal consultation, as needed, with a qualified healthcare provider and/or BCBA.

1 / 10

Does your child intensely resist even your smallest requests?

2 / 10

Does your child lie about their actions, even when they saw you watching them display that behavior?

3 / 10

Does your child have overreactions to your requests and feel no shame about their behaviors?

4 / 10

Does your kiddo try and dictate other children’s behaviors, with no regard for their wants and feelings?

5 / 10

Do you have to subtly manipulate your child to do anything instead of making outright requests?

6 / 10

Does your kiddo always want to feel like they’re in charge of the situation?

7 / 10

Does your child have a lot of anxiety?

8 / 10

Does your child seem to be at a higher development level but perform poorly in school?

9 / 10

Does your kiddo insist on being right all of the time?

10 / 10

Does your child have incredible verbal skills and comes off as charming to others?

Please fill in the information below to see your results.


Parent Strategies for PDA

As a parent, it’s important to have the right tools and resources to support your child. Take our pathological demand avoidance test for kids below to see if your kiddo shares similar symptoms to kids who have a PDA diagnosis. Here are some coping strategies for parents of kids with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA):

  1. Educate Yourself: Learn as much as you can about PDA and its effects on your child. This will help you better understand your child’s behaviors and how you can best support them.
  2. Create a Support Network: Having a support network is essential for parents of children with PDA. Reach out to other parents, support groups, or organizations for help and advice.
  3. Be Flexible: Children with PDA may struggle with routine and change. It’s important to be flexible and adapt to their needs. Try to understand their perspective and provide the support they need to succeed.
  4. Encourage Positive Behaviors: Positive reinforcement is a great way to encourage good behavior in children with PDA. Reward your child when they complete a task or handles a situation well.
  5. Take Care of Yourself: As a parent, it’s important to take care of yourself too. Make time for yourself, practice self-care, and seek out support if you need it.
  6. Create a Safe Space: Children with PDA may feel overwhelmed or anxious in certain situations. So it’s important to create a safe and comfortable environment for them.
  7. Communicate with Your Child: Good communication is key to a successful relationship with your child. Encourage open and honest conversations and actively listen to their concerns and needs.
  8. Seek Professional Help: If you’re struggling to manage your child’s PDA, seek the help of a professional. A doctor, therapist, or specialist can provide you with the tools and resources you need to help your child.

Tired of Emotional Meltdowns?

Goally’s Mood Tuner app has activities for kids with BIG emotions. Teach kids how to tune their mood with Goally. See fewer meltdowns.

Goally has an emotional regulation app called Mood Tuner that teaches kids emotional regulation strategies. A boy stands holding a Goally tablet practicing the "Take some deep breaths" activity.

The Mood Tuner app encourages kids to look inwards and identify their feelings, helping them understand what’s going on inside. Once they’ve recognized their emotions, they can choose from a 20+ activities designed to help them self-regulate and find their balance.

Parenting is a challenging responsibility, and having the appropriate resources and support is crucial to promote the success of both you and your child. Take our pathological demand avoidance test for kids below to see if your kiddo shares similar symptoms to kids who have a PDA diagnosis. With the right guidance and assistance, children diagnosed with PDA can lead joyful and satisfying lives.

FAQs About Pathological Demand Avoidance Test

What is a pathological demand avoidance test?
A pathological demand avoidance test is a diagnostic tool used by professionals to identify and assess the presence of PDA (pathological demand avoidance) in children, a behavior profile seen in some individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

What are common symptoms of pathological demand avoidance?
Common symptoms of PDA include avoiding routine tasks, difficulty with change and transitions, becoming anxious in response to demands, struggles with social interactions, repetitive behaviors, and unusual responses to sensory input.

Who can diagnose pathological demand avoidance?
Only trained healthcare professionals, like doctors or specialists, can accurately diagnose pathological demand avoidance and provide parents with a tailored treatment plan to support a child's growth and well-being.

How can visual schedules, emotional regulation apps, and rewards help children with PDA?
These tools help by providing structure, predictability, and positive reinforcement, making it easier for children with PDA to cope with daily tasks, manage their emotions, and improve their overall behavior.

When should parents seek professional help for their child's suspected PDA?
If you notice some of the common PDA symptoms or have concerns about your child's behavior, it's important to seek professional help as soon as possible to ensure proper diagnosis, treatment, and support.

This post was originally published on 02/14/2023. It was updated on 11/18/2023. 

Article by
We help parents teach their kids life skills, like doing bedtime and morning independently. Backed by science, we incorporate evidence-based practices and expert-informed designs in all of our apps.