Autism 101: Online Course 6

What Are PDDs?

Pervasive Development Disorders (PDDs) is the “umbrella term” for a group of disorders that includes:

  • Autistic Disorder (“Classic Autism”): impairments in social interaction, communication, and imaginative play prior to age 3 years; stereotyped behaviors, interests, and activities.
  • Asperger’s Disorder: (often called Asperger’s Syndrome) is characterized by impairments in social interactions and the presence of restricted interests and activities, with no clinically significant delay in language, and testing in the range of average to above-average intelligence.
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS): (commonly referred to as atypical autism): a diagnosis of PDD-NOS may be made when a child does not meet the criteria for a specific diagnosis, but there is a severe and pervasive impairment in specified behaviors.
  • Rett’s Syndrome: a syndrome that occurs primarily in females and rarely in males; period of normal development and then loss of previously acquired skills, loss of purposeful use of the hands replaced with repetitive hand movements beginning at the age of 1 to 4 years.
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: characterized by normal development for at least the first 2 years, significant loss of previously acquired skills. (American Psychiatric Association 1994).

The term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) generally refer to the first three disorders — Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, and PDD-NOS.

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