PE01625: Wider awareness, acceptance and recognition of Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome


Petitioner: Patricia Hewitt and Mary Black


Date Lodged: 20 December 2016

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to promote a wider awareness and acceptance of Pathological Demand Avoidance syndrome among health, education and social care and social work practitioners, and, via the appropriate agencies and bodies, to institute and facilitate training in the diagnosis of the condition, to promote the development of therapeutic programmes for those with the syndrome and to provide support for their families and carers.

Petition History:


19 January 2017: The Committee took evidence from Patricia Hewitt, Euan Robson, Mary Black and Heather Fullbrook. The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, National Autistic Society, Scottish Autism, Enquire, Child Autism UK, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, COSLA, and the EIS. Link to Official Report 19 January 2017

30 March 2017: The Committee agreed to write to COSLA and integrated joint boards. Official Report

15 June 2017: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government and integration joint boards. Link to the Official Report 15 June 2017

9 November 2017: The Committee agreed to close the petition under Rule 15.7 of Standing Orders on the basis that the Scottish Government is clear in its view that PDA is covered within ASD diagnosis; this position is in line with the international standards of best practice as established in ICD-10 and DSM-5, and is reflected in its national guidance SIGN 145 which has been developed by a multidisciplinary working group which has taken account of the scientific literature and evidence; work is also ongoing in relation to the Scottish Strategy for Autism, and NES has provided additional resources and support tools for the health and social care workforce. In closing the petition, the Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government to indicate that PDA awareness should be included in the ongoing work on the Scottish Strategy for Autism. Link to Official Report 9 November 2017

Written Submissions: 

We think this is an opportunity for Scotland to lead the way in ensuring that the relevant professionals have the best awareness and training to recognise PDA syndrome, to support children, young people and their families.

Do you agree that it's time that PDA syndrome is given proper recognition?

How do you think we can best achieve this?

I cannot imagine how difficult everyday life and especially trying to learn at school, must be for youngsters with PDA syndrome , every day of their lives.

Lynne Muirhead

5:27 on 20 Dec 2016

This is not the way children should be treated its society that should be aware that the children think different

Allister Harland

0:59 on 17 Dec 2016

Only becoming aware of this now but describes my grand daughter exactly, she has already been diagnosed with ASD but this explains so much more. Quite sure it would help if all authorities were also aware.

Hilda Smith

16:59 on 16 Dec 2016

Any form of ASD needs more awareness. The amount of children waiting for a diagnosis and the length of time it takes is ridiculous.

Angela MCall

5:17 on 16 Dec 2016

As a teacher, whilst I do consider PDA to be a distinctive trait in some children with ASD, with a specific diagnosis of PDA becoming possible I would hope that children are enabled to access the support they need rather than be taught in provisions geared towards the needs of children with more typical autistic traits which are the opposite of the needs af a demand avoidant child.

Mary Cluckie

21:10 on 15 Dec 2016

This is a great opportunity to raise awareness around PDA and to ensure that professionals have the best training to recognise PDA and to support children who have been diagnosed with PDA in their education, ensuring that they can access their education in an efficient manner.

Education Law Unit, Govan Law Centre

12:03 on 15 Dec 2016

I know little about PDA but I know a friend who has battled very hard and has hit many brick walls in her efforts to have her daughter assessed and finally diagnosed as having PDA. I also know very little about Harlequin Ichthyosis (look it up) or Scoliosis of the spine, conditions which are rare but very visible and receive a very sympathetic and supportive response from people. PDA is a non visible condition with symptoms displayed through behaviour and as such does not receive the same sympathetic, supportive response....with blame often placed on bad parenting for the condition, rather than acknowledgement of good parenting for managing the condition. PDA is a recognised condition and as such children and families should have the necessary understanding, supports and resources which are required to manage this condition.

Graham Haddow

18:36 on 14 Dec 2016

The strategies for working with youngsters with PDA are not the same as those usually used for ASD. It is important that this becomes more widely known.

Sue Baxter

19:38 on 11 Dec 2016

Supportis required as is recognition of this condition. It is real and affects so many families.

gillian stewart

19:05 on 08 Dec 2016

Very important for this to gain recognition.

Laurence Kelly

10:10 on 08 Dec 2016

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