PDA test for adults

This test includes questions relating to PDA and Autism and can be used to help people better determine whether the profile of PDA and Autism relate to them. This test was developed for adults but the questions can also be used for children. There are a number of questions, separated into two groups, the first lot are for PDA traits only and the second lot are for traits of Autism found in PDAers. These questions should show how PDA the person may be and how Autistic the person may be.

Please note this test hasn’t been devised by a professional and so will not be recognised in as a diagnostic tool. However this test has been created by a PDAer with the help of other PDA adults and as such, may be helpful in self-diagnosing. 

PDA questions

There are 50 questions, please answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the questions.

  1. Do you find it difficult to do the simple things that other people seem to find easy?
  2. Do you dislike praise?
  3. Do you find it harder to do tasks that you have to do as opposed to optional tasks?
  4. Do you find it more difficult to complete tasks when people are watching?
  5. Do you feel a need to take charge but dislike being placed in charge?
  6. Do you dislike being rushed?
  7. Do you feel unsure of how you will react in a situation, despite past experience?
  8. Do you feel like others are always wrong, even though you know logically that isn’t true?
  9. Do you dislike imposed routine?
  10. Do you/have you ever struggled in work/school due to the amount of work required of you?
  11. Do you tend to avoid routine tasks on a regular basis, such as washing, eating, dressing, sleeping and going out?
  12. Do you find it difficult to start things you enjoy, such as hobbies or interests?
  13. Do you struggle to tell when you are feeling anxious, did/do you believe you rarely feel anxious?
  14. Do you/have you ever experienced anxiety, more than the average person?
  15. Do you feel anxious when pressured to do something, even if it is easy?
  16. Do you spend more time delaying/avoiding a task than it would take to actually do it?
  17. Are there days where you can do lots of tasks and days where you struggle with simple things such as dressing and eating?
  18. Do you find it difficult to motivate yourself to do tasks?
  19. Do you/have you ever experienced panic attacks, more than the average person?
  20. Do you feel that everyone is equal, regardless of age/race/gender/social status?
  21. Do you/have you ever had obsessions around certain people? (For example: wanting to know everything about them, be around them all the time, feel jealous when they spend time with other people)
  22. Do you/have you ever made up new words, sometimes for things or people, or deliberately mispronounced words?
  23. Do you/have you ever experienced hyper/silly behaviour?
  24. Do you feel a need to get things done straight away, are you impulsive?
  25. Do you prefer to have options/choices in most situations?
  26. Does a lack of choice make you feel out of control/panicky?
  27. Do you like to do the same thing over and over until it becomes boring, then move onto something new?
  28. Do you feel anxious/panicky if someone doesn’t follow your instructions correctly or when they deviate from the plan?
  29. Do you like making changes in certain environments, such as rearranging the furniture in your home?
  30. Do you feel unable to cope with waiting for things?
  31. Do you/did you as a child dislike accommodations which make you stand out as different?
  32. Do you dislike being criticised but are critical of others?
  33. Do you feel everyone should follow the rules all the time but find it difficult to follow the rules yourself?
  34. Do you question rules/regulations/laws?
  35. Have you ever been described as being manipulative?
  36. Do you cancel plans at the last minute?
  37. Do you/did you as a child dislike losing/coming last?
  38. Have you ever been described as controlling?
  39. Do you daydream rich, imaginative worlds?
  40. Do you/have you ever used role play/pretend play, sometimes in order to cope with life/tasks/social situations?
  41. Do you struggle to start tasks because you expect them to be perfect the first time round, then become disappointed when they aren’t?
  42. Do you find yourself telling lies to delay/avoid things?
  43. Do you feel constrained by social expectations, such as having to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’, having to smile?
  44. Do you struggle to admit when you’ve done something wrong?
  45. Do you feel unable to control your reaction to things, emotionally and/or physically?
  46. Do you change your mind often?
  47. Do you prefer to spend your time at home alone than outside with other people?
  48. Do you struggle with knowing how much time to leave for tasks, do you seem to run out of time quicker than others?
  49. Do you tend not to tell other people when starting a new project because others knowing makes it harder for you to complete it?
  50. Do you feel a need to control your environment, often to ensure things go as you prefer them to?

If you score one point for every time you have answered ‘yes’ to the above questions, the result will show how PDA you are likely to be.

A score of 0-10 indicates very unlikely to be PDA

A score of 11-20 indicates unlikely to be PDA

A score of 21-30 indicates possible PDA

A score of 31-40 indicates likely to be PDA

A score of 41-50 indicates very likely to be PDA

Autism questions

There are 40 questions, please answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the questions. Please note, these questions are for PDA version of Autism, they may not indicate whether a non-PDA person has Autism.

  1. Do you find socialising difficult?
  2. Do you find socialising tiring and need time afterwards to recover?
  3. Do you feel like a different person when in a public setting, like you’re wearing a mask?
  4. Do you tend to complete tasks in a set way?
  5. Do you dislike others helping with tasks unless you’ve specifically asked them to?
  6. Do you make odd noises or speak in an unusual tone of voice?
  7. Do you struggle with group activities?
  8. Do you struggle when following conversations, especially when multiple people are contributing?
  9. Do you find it difficult to make and/or keep friends?
  10. Have you ever been described as weird/odd/kooky/strange/quirky?
  11. Does making eye-contact feel uncomfortable?
  12. Do you find it difficult to get along with people of your own age group, do you get on better with older or younger people?
  13. Do you/have you ever pretended/believed you are an animal, other than human?
  14. Have people commented that you lack empathy/appear unsympathetic?
  15. Do you struggle to know what to do in certain social and/or emotional situations?
  16. Do you react differently to pain than others might?
  17. Do you struggle to cope with last minute changes?
  18. Do you struggle figuring out what others are thinking?
  19. Do you stim? (For more information on stimming please click here)
  20. Do you tend to see things as black and white, all or nothing?
  21. Do you have difficulty recognising, feeling and/or regulating your emotions?
  22. Do your emotions seem either really good or really bad, with no in-between?
  23. Are you an empath, do you often feel other people’s emotions as if they are your own?
  24. Do you have sensory issues? (For more information on sensory issues please click here)
  25. Do you seem to make many social mistakes but are unsure how or why you have made them?
  26. Do you go over past social interactions in your head, trying to figure out what happened?
  27. Do you repeat words/phrases/sentences that you’ve heard, even if the situation doesn’t require it?
  28. Do other people appear confusing to you?
  29. Do you tend not to follow trends/fashion that society deems popular?
  30. Do you struggle to know when to speak during a conversation?
  31. Have people ever said you talk too much or not enough?
  32. Do you think about what you are going to say next, so much so that you sometimes miss parts of a conversation?
  33. Do people often misconstrue your facial expressions?
  34. Do you feel like an outsider, like you’ve yet to find where you fit in?
  35. Do you tend to focus on people’s hair, especially of those you like?
  36. Do you find it difficult/uncomfortable to lie?
  37. Do you/have you struggled to get on with people in your family, often because of misunderstandings?
  38. Do you often confuse your left and your right?
  39. Do you prefer animals to people?
  40. Do you struggle with following multi-step instructions, especially when given verbally?

If you score one point for every time you have answered ‘yes’ to the above questions, the result will show how Autistic you are likely to be.

A score of 0-8 indicates very unlikely to be Autism

A score of 9-16 indicates unlikely to be Autism

A score of 17-24 indicates possible Autism

A score of 25-32 indicates likely to be Autism

A score of 33-40 indicates very likely to be Autism

Featured image curtsey of Sally Cat – Sally Cat PDA Page

28 thoughts on “PDA test for adults”

  1. The Autism test does not work for people with Asperger’s, because that requires theory of mind and self awareness. My husband does almost all of these things, but he’d go to the grave denying every bit of it.

    He scores in the top percentage of the PDA test, that’s for sure.

    1. I disagree with that. Your husband may not have much self awareness, but a lot of us do and this test seems to ‘work’ for us. Also, studies have shown that autistics, including those with Asoergers, do have Theory of mind. Its just an Autistic theory of mind, one that non-autistics don’t have.

    2. all the way through saying yes i got more and more pissed off wondering what PDA stands for. Finally I have a label in life I can attach too my chest and I still \don’t know what PDA means.

      1. P represents what word , D represents what word , A represents what word., Or is PDA just a made up word?

    1. A score of over 40 on the PDA test would mean it’s very likely he has PDA. It is possible that an Autistic person with high demand avoidance would also score highly on the PDA test. The test is mostly aimed at adults so a child will get a lower score anyway due to some of the questions. If you think PDA fits your child and with the scores you’ve mentioned then I’d think it’s highly likely. Have you used PDA parenting strategies? If they seem to help then that too would indicate PDA. I would keep using PDA strategies if they do work. It might not be possible for you to get a PDA diagnosis for him however some professionals are willing to diagnose or change a diagnosis to include a ‘PDA profile’ or ‘demand avoidance’ after the ASD wording. If your son goes to school then if the school aren’t already using PDA strategies then I would implore that they do so as this will help enormously. Having a diagnosis doesn’t always mean that other people will use the correct techniques and some, even when faced with a diagnosis, recommendations from a professional and lots of evidence from parent/s, will still ignore it all and use NT behaviour techniques. I hope people do listen to you and use PDA techniques if they work for your son, and I hope if you do decide to change his diagnosis that you get the result you want. I hope this has helped answer some questions 🙂

  2. Having a mind-blown moment over here. All of this describes my 18 yo to a “tee!” We’ve been BATTLING malnutrition from the wrong angle all these years! We’ve been BATTLING “clean your room,” “go to school,” “brush your teeth,” “take a shower,” “come out of your room,” from all the wrong angles. She dropped out of HS although is brilliant. She exists in her bedroom and in fantasy. She wishes she could exist “ethereally,” without a body, as it’s too challenging to take care of. She’s adopted a new first and last name, as the anxiety-ridden associations with her birth name were too much to bear. Her low weight put her into hospital once, which was a horrible experience, against her will. My husband and I have opposite parenting styles, hence MORE cause for anxiety in the whole family. We don’t have a PDA diagnosis in the US, and schools, physicians, etc. have told us she’s the most extreme case of Autism they’ve ever seen. Her pediatrician told us multiple times that she is “helpless and hopeless.” We get referrals that lead nowhere. The one referral to PDA by my friend who is an Autism Society parent advocate has been the BEST. I am SO profoundly grateful that this blog exists….and that I’ve connected with the PDA FB group and Side By Side Coaching…my eyebrows may have fallen out, but now I have HOPE.

    1. I’m so glad you’re on the right track now. No one is beyond hope, maybe using the PDA techniques now will help and you can start to see a way forward. It’s hard and requires a lot of work but the improvements that are gained when using PDA strategies are worth it. I hope her health gets better and you are all able to manage her weight for more constructively now, though it may never be perfect and there will still be ups and downs and struggles, any improvement is better than none. Good luck 🙂

    2. In reading your response, I could relate, as our son is 19. As a child our son was obsessive; majority of time he would use distraction & avoidance; his imagination was incredible. As his anxiety came out as fear or he kept inside himself, we did not have great physical or hysterical meltdowns. Reading about PDA is as if my son was an example for research! We live in Canada & I am finding it difficult to find other parents in my area. High School was a problem, though he has completed most of grade 11 & needs only a couple of classes to get the adult grad diploma, the struggle he is having now is WHY? Why don’t I keep or look for a job? Why do always need (girlfriend) to put her first in my mind all the time? Why don’t I just eat? Reading all the info., comments, etc. Helps me to “breathe.” I could give examples but i would not know when to stop lol. 2 years ago the diagnosis was ADHD. He presented well in public with peers & he was calm in class I am now with belief that the calm was him off in imagination land. My husband & I have backed off of the demands & the past couple of weeks, we have noticed a difference when the demands/pressure is not on him…the lies & excuses don’t have to be given by him. Our son, can be incredibly convincing…it is shocking! Manipulation was a great tool for him. Without pressure & demands we are all in a better frame of mind. We love our son deeply & we have always let him know that & that he should live a life that gives him fulfillment…we are not perfect parents, there have been some TERRIBLE TIMES!!! Going forward though, we will be in a much better place to support him.

      1. I’m glad things are getting better now, knowledge can make a world of difference. I hope you can find more families in your area, there are more and more facebook groups cropping up everyday, and if there’s not already one you can always create one yourself, I’m sure there will be many families searching for help too.

      2. Thank you for your feedback. I will consider putting a Facebook page up in my area!

  3. I’ve just turned 40 and have come to realise that PDA describes my life better than any other explanation so far.
    According to my parents as a child I was very aloof, had wild mood swings and ‘tantrums’, some of which were quite violent, when asked to do even the most simple tasks and didn’t speak for a long time until one day when I started speaking in full sentences.
    The lengths I’ve gone to in order to avoid social situations and the anxiety they involve have resulted in me having practically no social contact outside of work along with endless sleepless nights worrying, fearful even, about work and a battle each morning when I have to get up and leave the house. I’ve also had various periods in my life where work was just too stressful a thought and have hidden away in my home for months on end only leaving to buy food.
    When I’m at work though I find I can put myself into ‘work mode’ and play the part of a normal, sociable person so long as the conversation is work related but if the conversation becomes personal I find myself repeating platitudes or saying things I don’t necessarily mean but have heard others say. I’ve had colleagues but never work friends.
    I’m not sure how getting a diagnosis will help me as I’ve managed to just about get by without one so far but finding out this information has given me a lot to think about.

  4. Hi. I score highly on the pda test but really only midway on any autism test. The reason it took so long to realise our son was pda (although of course we only got an asd dx!) was because I just thought all his lovely quirks was because he took after me! Obviously this was true but I didn’t realise there was anything amiss with my behaviours..youngest of a big family, I think I learned how to fit in a lot better, and my quirks were always celebrated by my family so I always thought my differences were fabulous! Anyway, what I’m curious to know is, can you be pda without scoring particularly highly on the other asd traits? Also, as our nhs trust are one of the ones that don’t dx pda, preferring to stick with catch all asd, would it even be worth taking up a space on the waiting list? I would love to know though.

    1. Hi, I was the same with my eldest son, I thought he just took after me, and since I thought I was ‘normal’ I didn’t realise there were any difficulties.
      Yes the way PDA alters many of the autism traits, and that the autism traits are more based off socialised male behaviours, means that many PDAers don’t score as highly on autism check lists. It might be helpful to read up on ‘female’ autism traits as you may find more connections there.
      It’s not easy to get a diagnosis and due to a research paper which has only recently come out it means getting a PDA diagnosis will be highly inprobable, however, this also means no one should get turned down for a disgnosis. It depends a lot of the area you are in. If it wont be tok stressful for you then i would recommend trying for an ASD diagnosis, but it might be a long wait and it will depend a lot of who you see as to how it will go. If you do go for it then try to take lots of information with you including the NICE guidlines on not using eye contact as a basis for diagnosis, as they are not supposed to refuse to diagnose because ‘you made eye contact one time’. Good luck.

  5. I just did the test for myself and scored 42 on the PDA and 20 on the Autism. I am currently in counselling after suffering a breakdown in work due to my daughters uncontrollable OCD and Epilepsy. I am wondering if I should mention these results in my next session?

  6. This is interesting. I am 47 and have just been recently diagnosed with autism and have been masking all my life without really knowing i was doing it. My diagnosis has answered a lot of questions about myself but have felt there was still something unanswered. I think PDA is it!
    Thankyou to you and all the other great autistic bloggers out there, without you guys i would be in a world of confusion. Great stuff ☺

  7. Thank you so much for this. It’s like reading a description of myself. I was doing it for my 7 year old who i suspect has PDA but did it for myself and scored 46 & 35. It made so much sense. I guess I should get properly tested now then?

    1. Sadly few places recognise PDA and are willing to diagnose, but if you are able to get one then that will definitely help. Even if you can’t, just knowing about PDA yourself might help you loads.

  8. Been struggling for so long and gradually getting worse. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder 6 years ago now but it has become more uncontrollable since having my two young boys. This diagnosis describes my life so clearly, I scored 44. I have no idea of the next steps to take as u would be to afraid of looking stupid or wrong at the hands of a GP. Last time I went in I broke down completely.

    1. That sounds hard. You can definitely make adjustments yourself to make your own life easier. Some people prefer to go for a diagnosis privately with someone who understands PDA, but they can be expensive. Sadly many gps don’t understand or recognise PDA so may refuse to refer for an NHS assessment, some people have found having someone with them to advocate on their behalf helps or taking rewritten notes.

  9. As someone that has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder and has suffered as the hands on the NHS with that diagnoses…. after seeing this i’m Going to the doctors on Wednesday to get diagnosed with PDA! (Incidentally, my 7 year old son is currently awaiting a diagnose for) I feel like the puzzle piece has slotted in finally! 💖 thank you xx

  10. I am 17 and scored 42 and 35, I took this test because I found out some of the symptoms from a video, I think I will tell someone.

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