PDD - Information on Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Bright Tots - Information on child development - Autism information
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Pervasive Developmental Disorder / PDD
Pervasive Developmental Disorder & Autism Spectrum Disorder are one and the same, both these terms are just
separate ways of describing autism and conditions which are similar to autism. The word development emphasis that the
problem is found early in the child’s life. Pervasive describes the many areas of the child’s development that are affected.
With autism spectrum disorders, although the disorder is pervasive,  it does not affect every aspect of development. This
term is criticized because it describes the nature of autistic features. There are many more children with autism spectrum
disorder than there are children with classic autism alone.


Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is a category that was appointed by the American Psychiatric Association to
children with delay in their social /language/motor and/or cognitive development.  A child may have delays in social
development and delays in one or more of the other areas.

Autism PDD in children can vary tremendously. PDD is not one disorder but a category that surrounds a wide range of
delays, differs enormously in developmental  domains. Autism is the most severe of the pervasive developmental disorders.
Autism is a primary disturbance in the individual's ability to relate to others. Language delay and cognitive delays are also

PDD-NOS or Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified. This is a diagnosis given to a child who exhibits
impairment in the development of reciprocal social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, or when autistic
tendencies  are present. Some of the symptoms might be extreme difficulty attending to the pertinent aspects of the
environment or aggression towards self or others.  Many parents may notice self injurious behaviors, self-injury may be a
form of self-stimulatory. They are repetitive, ritualistic behaviors which provide the child with some form of sensory
stimulation and satisfaction.

Children with PDD engage some of the above behaviors to obtain attention from other people. Some children exhibit self-
injury to escape or avoid a task. Other possibilities that these behaviors could be related to hypersensitivity to certain sound
in the environment.


Pervasive Developmental Disorder has no cure, autism does respond to behavioral and educational treatment.  Research
suggests that early intervention is especially effective in achieving growth in cognitive and communication skills. There are
a variety of intervention programs that have been designed specifically to help children with autism. Parents may hear that
one or more of these ( "Floor Time," "FastForWord," "ABA," "Auditory Integration Training," or "Social Stories") is the
intervention that a child must have to make progress.

PDD has does not have one intervention program that will guarantee progress. Like children everywhere, children with
autism differ from each other. Like all children, they differ in terms of their IQs, their interests, their strengths, and their
educational needs. An intervention program must be individually designed, with the help of experienced professionals, so
that it is fit to the strengths, interests and needs of each child with autism.

PDD / PDD-NOS effective behavioral programs, such as ABA, are often helpful in setting behaviors the child does not
show spontaneously. But these programs will need to use more natural approaches that encourage the child to use newly
learned behaviors in real life situations. Successful intervention programs usually involve a mix of highly structured
environment and natural activities and have the following:

Children with PDD should have individualized sessions

Specialized curriculum

Strong communication

Family involvement

Set arranged, structured teaching

Intensive therapy (at least 20 hours/week)

Developmentally appropriate exercises

Some contact with typical peers

Parents of children with PDD should be wary of any intervention that promises a cure or suggests that its method is the
only effective approach. Parents should also suspect any program that requires parents to personally pay high fees.
Children with PDD / autism are entitled to public educational services and legitimate services should be provided by public
agencies. Parents should not be obligated to pay for educational services themselves.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder - PDD / PDD-NOS
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