What exactly is Pervasive Developmental Disorder, or PDD? This is a group of developmental disorders that are characterized by delayed or impaired communication and social skills, behaviors, and cognitive skills. Autism is the best known of the PDDs. Other disorders included in the group of PDD include, Asperger syndrome, Childhood disintegrative disorder and Rett Syndrome. Diagnosis is usually made during infancy, toddlerhood, or early childhood. The disorders of autism are also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASDs). Autism Spectum Disorder is more common in boys than girls. Rett Syndrome has been diagnosed only in girls. Two to Six of every one thousand children are affected with some form of autism.
It can take years to name autism spectrum disorder fully because it can seem like a normal childhood developement. Symptoms, however; can range from mild to moderate to severe. Looking for signs early in development ( usually recognizable before 3 years of age) can help find autism spectrum disorder. Some of these signs include:
- not making eye contact, not looking at people
- unusual movements. Hand flapping, tapping or spinning
- not using language, or understanding it
- delays in milestone development, or loss of them already achieved
- not pointing to objects to call attention to them
- having a hard time interacting with other people, or playing with them
- showing non interest in exploring surroundings with curiosity
- repetitive movements
Loud noises, bright lights, certain textures of food or fabrics can also cause unusual and uncontrolled reactions.
Kids who show any of the characteristics should be evaluated by a doctor who has ability and knowledge in the area of autism spectrum disorder. Parents and Educators will be asked to fill out a questionnaire of cognitive assessment, language assessment, also play and behavior assessments to help with the diagnosis.
Although there are medications that are used to discuss specific behavioral problems associated with PDD, there is no known cure. Early intervention such as specialized educational programs and services that offer support are a crucial part for improving the outcome of people with PDD.
Asperger syndrome is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger. In 1944 he studied children who demonstrated limited empathy with their peers and were clumsy physically. It has been projected that the diagnosis of Asperger's be eliminated and replaced with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder on a severity scale. Asperger's characteristics also include repetitive behaviors, lack of social interaction and communication. Autism is the most similar to Asperger Syndrome.
Children with autism can become agitated and overly excited, sometimes becoming angry or aggressive. I refer to this as "peeking." Some children with autism can be calmed by brushing them. Brushing involves any sensory touch to the arms, legs, or back. Gently rubbing with the tip of your fingers in a brushing motion can calm the child. Using a soft bristle brush can also help. Depending on the severity of the autism, some children do not enjoy, or want to be touched. A child with autism does not adjust well to change in their environment. They do not like their routine disrupted. Language may be limited. Phrases and conversations are repeated. Some children with autism may not speak at all.
Although causes of autism are not understood yet, scientific studies have not found a link between vaccines or any of their ingredients. It should also be noted that parenting or bad experiences are not responsible for autism.