This is a short blog post to update my current thinking on PDA and how it relates to autism. This directly builds on my other recent thoughts, which can be accessed below:


I currently view PDA as a new type of disorder that is not part of the autism spectrum. PDA seems to be Elizabeth Newson’s “Pervasive Developmental Coding Disorder”.  You can find out more here:


There are some areas of overlap between PDA and autism, but fundamentally PDA seems to be something different and distinct from the autism spectrum and this diagram reflects that. The diagram lists the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) autism diagnostic criteria and the PDA diagnostic criteria side by side. It simultaneously shows how PDA is similar and fundamentally different to autism. I am likely to use this diagram/ or variations of it going forward.


I am due to publish another list of published PDA articles soon.


A new Demand Management Phenomena and Autism Diagram.

I have attached the thread outlining the logic behind the diagram below:

28 July 2020 PDA versus Autism Diagram Thread


And the image itself can be accessed here:

Woods PDA Diagram 28 July 2020


If you have any questions, please do contact me.


My latest research.

My most recent conference paper is:

  • Is the concept of Demand Avoidance Phenomena (Pathological Demand Avoidance) real or mythical?


I have recently had a commentary article published in Good Autism Practice:

  • Demand avoidance phenomena: circularity, integrity and validity – a commentary on the 2018 National Autistic Society DAP Conference.


A follow up was later published in Good Autism Practice:

  • Pathological Demand Avoidance and the DSM-5: a rebuttal to Judy Eaton’s response.


Furthermore, I have PDA article published in Child & Adolescent Mental Health.

  • Commentary: Demand Avoidance Phenomena, a manifold issue? Intolerance of uncertainty and anxiety as explanatory frameworks for extreme demand avoidance in children and adolescents – a commentary on Stuart et al. (2019).


Additionally, I and others have had a short essay published in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders:

  • Empathy and a Personalised Approach in Autism.


A book chapter describing what the sub-discipline Critical Autism Studies is, I lead authored it and it can be found here (chapter seems free to access):


Autism Policy and Practice.

The autistic-led good practice journal, Autism Policy and Practice has published its first edition under the current editor team. This can be accessed via the link below:

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