What’s PDD-NOS?

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PDD Not Otherwise Specified is a type of pervasive developmental disorder that falls on the autism spectrum. It is diagnosed when doctors cannot find a clear cause for developmental delays. Symptoms include difficulty with language, social development, and behavior, but intelligence is not always affected. Treatment may include medication and therapy.

PDD Not Otherwise Specified stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. This disorder falls on the autism spectrum, which means it falls into a category with a range of conditions marked by delays in areas of development such as language, motor skills, and cognitive abilities. The diagnosis of PDD Not Otherwise Specified is made when doctors can’t find a clear cause for the developmental delays. If so, a person is typically diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

To understand PDD Not Otherwise Specified, a person must understand the autism spectrum, which is a category of complex disorders that affect how a person’s brain works. When a person has autism spectrum disorder, severe developmental issues typically become apparent in early childhood. Symptoms vary, as there are several disorders on the autism spectrum rather than just one condition. Often, however, a person with an autism spectrum disorder experiences difficulties with language development, social development, and behavior. PDD Not Otherwise Specified is just one of the autism spectrum disorders.

Interestingly, autism spectrum disorders like PDD don’t always affect a person’s intelligence. While some individuals with autism spectrum disorders may have below average intelligence, many are not. In fact, many people with autism spectrum disorders have higher than normal levels of intelligence. Despite the fact that a person with PDD may have a high level of intelligence, she may still have difficulty communicating with others or engaging in social situations.

Some of the more common symptoms of PDD include difficulty speaking or understanding language. A person with this condition may also have difficulty relating not only to other people, but also to inanimate objects and events or activities. An individual with PDD-Not Otherwise Specified may have difficulty coping with changes in her routine or even traveling to unfamiliar places. Sometimes a person with PDD-not-otherwise-specified shows signs of the disorder by playing with toys in unusual ways or exhibiting repetitive behaviors.

A person with PDD-Not Otherwise Specified typically has some of the symptoms of an autism spectrum disorder but not enough of these symptoms to be diagnosed with a specific disorder. PDD often develops before a person is three years old and is not treatable. Doctors sometimes prescribe medications to treat behavior problems in a person with PDD Not Otherwise Specified. Therapy, including educational therapy, may also prove helpful.

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