What is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)?
Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) includes a few mental disorders which affect the development of communication and social skills in children. This condition is typically noticed by parents before a child is three years old.
About one in 59 children are diagnosed with a disorder on the autism spectrum, and it is
The symptoms associated with this disorder can vary from child to child. Symptoms can also be noticed at different ages, from as young as infancy.
The common symptoms of some of the disorders which come under the umbrella of this condition are:
A child with autism will not interact well socially with others. This can include their parents. They can show a lack of interest in physical contact. This might be seen as rejection. A child with autism might be described as unaffectionate.
They will prefer to play alone and find it hard relate to other people. They fail to understand the emotions and feelings of others.
Infants and children will not take comfort from physical contact. They might avoid making eye contact with others. They don’t develop relationships with friends or interact socially with other children.
These children will have difficulty communicating with others. Their language development can be delayed, or may not develop at all.
Even when they do learn to speak, they might not communicate with other children or adults in this way. They might take an adult to something they want rather than ask for it or point at it.
They might repeat certain phrases or words, often echoing something they hear (echolalia). These words and phrases might have no context.
They are also likely to take language too literally. Hearing a phrase like “raining cats and dogs” might make them think that is what is happening. They could look up at the sky expecting to see them raining down.
Repetitive behaviours and motions are common. They might sit for hours lining up building blocks or spinning a wheel. They could flap their hands, or only walk on their toes.
Children with autism will often appear preoccupied with certain things. These include moving objects, lights or parts of an object. They will need routines and will not react well to them being changed.
Often they will not like loud noises and can display restrictive behavior. This could be only eating food which is green in color. They might insist they always walk the same route or only watch one television programme. (3, 4)
A child with Asperger’s syndrome will have normal speech and cognitive development. They will be able to help themselves and be curious about their surroundings.
Social interactions will be a challenge for children with this disorder. They will have difficulty making eye contact. Developing friendships or expressing themselves non-verbally will be challenging.
Conversations might often be one sided and focus on themselves. Their communication can be repetitive or inappropriate.
They will not use facial expressions often, for example, they might not smile. Their mannerisms and movements can appear awkward.
They will display repetitive behaviors when playing or employ strange routines or rituals. These could be hand flapping or collecting unusual objects like bits of cotton.
A child with this disorder will have experienced a normal pregnancy and birth. Their development will also meet normal parameters for the first five to 18 months. After this changes become noticeable.
The growth of the child’s head will slow between the ages of five and 48 months. They can lose the ability to display previously learned skills. This includes things like reaching and grasping something. They may also develop hand movements, such as clapping rubbing or wringing them.
They can stop smiling and making eye contact. However, these social behaviors might improve at a later time.
Coordination will become impaired along with motor and expressive skills. (7)
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
This disorder sees a child develop as expected up to the age of between two and four. Speech, relationships, social interaction and adaptive behavior and play will be normal.
Over a short period of time communication, social and behavioral skills will degenerate. This is generally over a few months.
There will have been no signs of illness or any other cause for these changes. Other symptoms include irritability, anxiousness, disobedience and temper tantrums.
Cognitive skills will decrease, as will an understanding of language. They might completely lose the ability to speak. (8)
There is another disorder included under this umbrella of conditions. It is pervasive developmental order – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
People with this condition have some of the symptoms associated with autism or asperger’s.
It is also sometimes referred to as atypical autism, and social and communication skills might be slightly impaired. (9)
There are severity levels within the autistic spectrum disorders.
At this level people with a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) require support.
Their behavior or inflexibility interferes with functioning in one or more aspects of their life. They will experience difficulty switching from one activity to another. Problems with planning and organizational skills stop them being independent.
They will be socially impaired and have difficulty interacting with others. They will not know how to deal with social approaches from others. They can speak in full sentences and communicate, but conversations with others are often unsuccessful. They also fail to make friends.
At this level on the autism spectrum people need substantial support.
Their behavior is inflexible and they have difficulty dealing with change. Other repetitive or restrictive behaviors will be apparent to others. These traits will interfere with an ability to function in a number of situations.
Socially there will be noticeable deficits in non-verbal and verbal skills. Social interactions will be limited and they will not be likely to initiate them. Their responses to others might be reduced or abnormal. They might speak in simple sentences on limited subjects.
People at this level require very substantial support.
Their behavior will be very inflexible and they will have extreme difficulty dealing with change. They will display restricted or repetitive behavior which severely impairs function in all situations. Changing focus will cause difficulty and distress.
The marked deficits in both non verbal and verbal communication skills severely impair functioning. Social interactions will be very limited.
Someone at this level will have mostly unintelligible speech. They will rarely start interactions with others and only respond to very direct approaches. (10)
There is no cure for pervasive developmental disorder (PSD) at this time. Medications can be prescribed to manage behavioral issues. Therapy might be successful for some children.
A medical professional will tailor treatment to meet an individuals needs. This will be dependent on the severity and level of their condition.
Some of the therapies available include speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy and social skills training.
Specialized programs for education and behavior help children learn to function in ways which are acceptable. Parents might also learn techniques to manage a child’s behavior.
While some children might function in a regular educational setting, others might need specialized instruction in smaller groups or on a one to one basis. (11)
What is pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)? Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) encompasses mental disorders which affect the development of communication and socialization skills in children. This condition is typically noticed by parents before a child is three years old.
What are the signs of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)? The symptoms associated with this disorder are many and varied. They center around social and developmental skills and behavioral traits.
How do you develop pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)? Many of the causes of this condition remain unknown. Risk factors are genetic, environmental and biological. (12)
How are you diagnosed for pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)? Diagnosis of this condition is made by assessing a child’s development and behavior. There are no blood tests or other medical tests which can detect this disorder. (13)
What is the best treatment for pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)? Treatments for this condition include medication and therapy. It will be tailored to meet individual needs.
What are the long term complications of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)? Recognising and treating this condition early is crucial for a favorable outcome. They will help people function, with or without support. (14)
Is pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) considered a disability? This condition is considered a developmental disability. (15)
Is there a cure for pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)? There is currently no cure for this condition.
Is pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) life threatening? This condition is not life threatening nor does it affect a person’s normal lifespan. (16)
Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) encompasses mental disorders which affect the development of communication and socialization skills in children. This condition is typically noticed by parents before a child is three years old.
While there is currently no cure for this condition, there are treatments available which help people function socially and emotionally.