Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified, a Part of the Autism

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Classic autism, Asperger's Syndrome, are a part of the autism spectrum as is PDD-NOS, otherwise known as Pervasive Development Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified. This condition might be considered as a "catch-all" as it is a form of autism which has some similarities but, on the other hand, does not share as many symptoms. In other words, it shares some of the symptoms but not all of the symptoms.

It has been determined that PDD-NOS is a neurological disorder. A person having this condition can be anywhere from mildly to severely affected. It is believed that social skills are less impaired than in, what is considered, "classical autism."

There is not any real specific guideline for the diagnosis of PDD-NOS, and, because of this, it has been difficult to do research on this condition. The limited information available indicates that the origin is genetic and/or biological. It is thought that it affects the brain function. It is further believed that more than one origin may be involved.

It is suggested that those disabled with PDD-NOS are generally diagnosed at a later age than those with "classical autism." The reasons for this stem from the fact that, while a child may have autistic symptoms, the child is often evaluated for all of the other Pervasive Development Disorders until they have each been ruled out, and, at this, the child is given the PDD-NOS diagnosis.
There are several characteristics that a child with PDD-NOS may exhibit. These include a child's strong and unusual likes and dislikes. There may be a deficit in social behavior. Other children may demonstrate repetitive behaviors.

The child may also demonstrate uneven skill developments whereby s/he is strong in one area and weak in another. Some children have a difficult time with a change in environment while others may react uncommonly to the five senses. A child may seem behind in nonverbal communication skills as well as speech and language comprehension. One of these characteristics does not indicate a child has PDD-NOS. The only way this disorder can be determined is by a professional evaluation. It is believed that this disorder may affect three to four per 1000 individuals.

The treatment for children with PDD-NOS includes an early diagnosis, just like all of the others on the spectrum. This early diagnosis can assist in helping a child to reach his/her full potential. Treatment may include Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). Another child may benefit from play therapy, while a third might benefit more from sensory integration therapy. Other PDD-NOS children may benefit significantly from gymnastics and/or participating in martial arts. It is being discovered that music therapy also plays an important role in helping these children.

As is true with so many children on the spectrum, structure is often needed for children with PDD-NOS. The more preparation a child has to prepare for an event (going to the restaurant, visiting relatives, going for a walk) most likely the better s/he will benefit from the activity. The more preparation you can offer a child the better s/he will respond.

PDD-NOS is possibly the one PDD that is in most need of studying. It is, perhaps, the least known of the five areas of the PDD. This might be because it is a category where a child can be placed if a team of professionals do not feel comfortable placing him/her in one of the other four categories. Therefore, it somewhat becomes a "catch-all."

Jack E. George is the author of two books (The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Educational Center and Call Me Pete). He has taught regular education and most recently, special education classes, specializing in autism, in California. Jack has a Master's Degree in Special Education. His third book: The Autism Hand Book scheduled for release in 2009. www.jackegeorge.com

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