Pervasive Developmental Disorder

What is Pervasive Developmental Disorder?

Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is an umbrella term referring to a group of disorders of social interaction, communication, behavior, and cognition. There has been considerable debate among the experts in the medical community regarding the labels for disorders classified within the PDD group. The current classification includes:

Autistic Disorder–significant difficulties in play, nonverbal communication, and language; may have delayed/impaired cognitive development

Asperger’s Disorder– diminished social interaction and nonverbal communication; normal language and cognitive development

Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified–diminished social interaction and nonverbal communication and delayed language; may have delayed cognitive development; does not meet the criteria for a specified PDD (Some doctors use the label PDD when referring to PDDNOS; also sometimes referred to as mild Autism)

Rett’s Disorder–communication, social, and play difficulties after a period of normal development; dramatic loss of purposeful hand movement resulting in hand-flapping or hand-wringing; deceleration of head growth; severe psychomotor retardation; very rare disorder mainly reported in girls

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder–normal development for the first two years and then significant loss in some of the following: language, social skills, play, motor skills, bowel or bladder control; very rare disorder


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