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11th June 2023.

bugSurvey pdf file links on the Data Tracking Facility have been updated.


Pervasive Development Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), defined

Children with PDD–NOS have some symptoms similar to those associated with Autistic disorder and Asperger syndrome. Usually, these involve delays in the development of many basic skills concerned with understanding the social world; the ability to socialize, to communicate, to empathize in the right way and at the right moment, and to use imagination.

To complicate matters somewhat, PDD–NOS is also be referred to as 'atypical personality development,' 'atypical PDD,' or 'atypical Autism'. There seems to be a myth that when a child is identified with PDD-NOS it means that they also have autism. This is where it gets complicated. To explain this complication, a child may display mild symptoms of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder and still qualify for the PDD-NOS label. Yet, they may present with very severe language and communication skill delays, but still not qualify for an autism diagnosis.

Typically, the symptoms are observed in children before they are 3 years old (this is why it is considered a Pervasive Development Disorder). Parents often notice problems in their toddler because they are not walking, talking, or developing as well as other children the same age. Another difficulty here is that although a toddler's behavior might seem to fit the criteria, the behaviours could just be part of his or her developing personality. It is wise to understand that the boundaries between PDD–NOS and non-autistic conditions have never been fully resolved. It is not unusual to see a PDD–NOS diagnosis followed up by an autism diagnosis a few years later. Interestingly, in the proposed DSM-V, PDD–NOS would disappear and be replaced by Autism Spectrum Disorder.

While some argue that PDD–NOS is a catch-all diagnosis it is described as an impairment in one or two of the three areas usually required for an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis (namely social interaction, communication and restrictive/ compulsive/ repetitive behaviours). Though, not all of the features of Autism Spectrum Disorder are apparent.

Indicators usually include;

1. Social interaction

2. Communication

3. Restrictive / compulsive / repetitive behaviours

What interventions are worth considering?

To achieve the best possible progress children identified with PDD–NOS need focused support and intervention early on. And, the intervention programme must be tailored to suit the child's specific needs. The overriding aim is to promote better socialising and communication, and reduce behaviors that can interfere with learning and functioning.

Aprogram of intervention addresses the child's needs at home and at school. The best intervention plan always involves a cooperative effort between parents, health care professionals and educators. Elements may include;

Helpful links