What is PDD Not Otherwise Specified?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2019
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PDD not otherwise specified stands for pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. This disorder is on the autism spectrum, which means it is in a category with a range of conditions marked by delays in such developmental areas as language, motor skills, and cognitive ability. The diagnosis of PDD not otherwise specified is given when doctors cannot find a clear cause of the developmental delays. In such a case, a person is typically diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

To understand PDD not otherwise specified, a person must understand the autism spectrum, which is a category of complex disorders that affect the functioning of a person’s brain. When a person has an autism spectrum disorder, serious developmental issues typically become evident in early childhood. The symptoms vary, as there are different disorders on the autism spectrum rather than just one condition. Often, however, a person with an autism spectrum disorder has difficulties when it comes to the development of language, social development, and behavior. PDD not otherwise specified is just one disorder on the autism spectrum.


Interestingly, autism spectrum disorders such as PDD do not always affect a person’s intelligence. While some individuals with autism spectrum disorders can be of lower-than-average intelligence, many are not. In fact, many people with autism spectrum disorders have higher-than-normal levels of intelligence. Despite the fact that a person with PDD may have a high level of intelligence, he may still have difficulty communicating with others or engaging in socials situations.

Some of the most common symptoms of PDD include difficulties with speaking or understanding language. A person with this condition may also have a hard time relating not only to other people, but also to inanimate objects and events or activities. An individual with PDD not otherwise specified may have difficulty dealing with changes in his routine or even traveling to unfamiliar places. Sometimes a person with PDD not otherwise specified shows signs of the disorder by playing with toys in an unusual manner or exhibiting repetitive behaviors.

A person with PDD not otherwise specified typically has some of the symptoms of an autism spectrum disorder but not enough of these symptoms to be diagnosed with a specific disorder. PDD often develops before a person is three years and is not curable. Sometimes doctors prescribe medication for the treatment of behavioral issues in a person who has PDD not otherwise specified. Therapy, including educational therapy, may prove helpful as well.


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