PDD treatment

PDD, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder, is the general term for five different categories of disorders that are characterized by the delay of developing functional skills, including socialization and communication, in an individual. There are varying degrees of severity, and the severity is presented differently in each disorder. PDD can be noticeable by parents during infancy, it can also appear a little later, depending on the disorder; at this time, the child will be diagnosed. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but there are ways to address behavioral and other problems associated with the disorder. PDD does not affect life expectancy.

The 5 Pervasive Developmental Disorders

The first 3 disorders that will be listed are usually called the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD); the last two are very rare, and not usually placed in that spectrum. The disorders are as follows:

  • Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS): this disorder is referred to as atypical autism, because it is diagnosed when a child shows some, but not all, of the signs of autism. PDD-NOS is the most common of these disorders.
  • Autism: this one is the most commonly known, but not the most common. Autism is a disorder affecting neural development; it is marked by impaired social interaction and communication skills, and by both restrictive and repetitive behaviors.
  • Asperger syndrome: another of the ASD, Asperger syndrome is characterized by a pattern of symptoms, including impaired social interaction, repetitive behaviors, and typically no delay in communication and language skills. Children with Asperger syndrome are usually very skilled with language, but often only use it literally, and don’t understand figurative language.
  • Rett syndrome: this disorder is another neurodevelopmental disorder, but it affects the grey matter, which is an important component to the central nervous system. Individuals with Rett syndrome usually have small hands and feet, a slow growing head, and typically no verbal skills.
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD): in children with CDD, normal development is experienced for a short period of time, but at some point during childhood, the child will have impaired language, social function, and motor skills. The onset can be anywhere between the ages of 2 and 10.


It is important to watch out for the symptoms that can be associated with any of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders. The might include difficulty using and understanding language; difficulty relating to people, objects, and events; unusual play with toys and other objects; difficulty dealing with change; and repetitive behaviors. From these symptoms, a diagnosis will be made.

Treatment for PDD
As mentioned above, there is no cure, as of today, for PDD. That said, there are medications to address and hopefully resolve behavioral problems. In addition to that, therapy can be used as a tool, but is dependent on the individual child’s needs; some children may find it beneficial to be in a classroom that is specialized, while others may do just fine in a regular classroom. Furthermore, early intervention is the most important way to improve the outcome for those with PDD. Each of these will be described in more detail.

Medications: medications can be used to treat various symptoms of autism. The use of prescription drugs is completely up to the parents (since the child is too young to decide), but the parents should be informed of all of the advantages and disadvantages prior to making this decision. Since medications cannot cure PDD, they are directed toward improving the child’s mood and to prevent self-injury.

Therapy: there are different types of therapy used for children with PDD. There is speech therapy, auditory therapy, sensual therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, and behavioral modification therapy. Therapy should be started as early as possible so it can be effective; however, some of the effectiveness depends on the individual’s symptoms and other treatment going on.

Classroom: the type of education, once again, depends largely on the child. Some children require special education, which is more of a one-on-one learning basis, while others do just fine in a regular classroom. The severity of the disorder will determine this.

Early intervention: a treatment program for PDD needs to be well-rounded, but this aspect is extremely important. There are many support services available that will help improve the child’s outcome for later in life. As a parent, you need to take advantage of these.

Last updated on Nov 3rd, 2010 and filed under Mental Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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