Clinical Reference Guide:
What We Diagnose, How We Diagnose and Treatment Options
Disorder (ADHD) in Adults
Disorder (ADHD) in Children
Autism and Pervasive Developmental
Digital EEG and Evoked Potentials
for High Achievers
Speech and Language Disorders
Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder
What is a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)
Children that have difficulty with social skills, language, and behavior
are said to have a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). Most children
with problems in development have only one or two areas of disability.
Children with PDD, however, have problems in many areas, such as social
interaction, communication, and imagination. Thus, the term "pervasive"
was chosen to describe this disorder. The name of this disorder may
soon be changed to Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Autistic disorder, or autism, is a type of PDD. Specific criteria must
be met for a child to be diagnosed with autistic disorder. Even though
all children with autism meet all the criteria, they may have different
behaviors and abilities because of their age and how severe their symptoms
Children who have problems in areas of development like those listed
above, but who do not have autistic disorder are diagnosed with PDD-NOS
(Not Otherwise Specified). Children with PDD-NOS may be later diagnosed
with autistic disorder if they develop more symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
Children with autistic disorder may appear normal for the first few
months of life. Your child may then become more and more unresponsive
to you or other stimuli. Delay in language development is the most common
reason children who are later diagnosed with autism are brought to the
doctor. Your child, depending on his or her age, may have a number of
symptoms in the following areas:
1. Social skills
- Resists being cuddled; may scream to be put
down when held.
- Remains withdrawn from parents and others
and fails to form relationships.
- Avoids eye-to-eye contact.
- Prefers to play alone.
- Is indifferent to the feelings of others
and to social norms
2. Use of language and imagination
- Speaks later than other children of the same
- Cannot understand or copy speech or gestures.
- Rate, pitch, tone, or rhythm of speech is
- Unable to start a conversation or keep one
- Unable to engage in fantasy or imaginative
play such as role playing and storytelling.
- Responds inappropriately to sounds.
- Acquired speech is immature and unimaginative.
He or she makes up words and echoes what someone says.
3. Behavior, activities, and
- Develops habit behavior and compulsive routines.
- Greatly resists even the slightest change;
becomes enraged if his or her obsessive routine is altered or activities
- Obsessed with one topic or idea; may become
attached to unusual objects.
- Walks on tiptoe and/or flicks or twiddles
fingers for long periods.
- Bangs head, rocks, or stares.
- Has sudden screaming spells.
- Injures himself on purpose.
- Has trouble learning manual tasks.
No child with autism will have all of the above
symptoms nor is this a list of all the symptoms.