- Avoidance of everyday demands to an extreme extent
- Apparently sociable on the surface but lacking real depth in social and emotional understanding
- Excessive and often sudden mood swings
- Language delay, but often with good degree of catch up
- Comfortable in role play and pretend
- 'Obsessive' behaviour, frequently linked to particular people
The central, characteristic feature of PDA is the extent of avoidance of ordinary demands, driven by high anxiety when children feel that they are not in control. This is combined with sufficient social understanding to enable the child to use this to their advantage and, as Newson put it, to be 'socially manipulative' in their avoidance.