Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Autism is the most characteristic and best-studied of the pervasive developmental disorders. They are all characterized by a delay in the development of social and communication skills. Children with such disorders vary widely in abilities, intelligence, and behaviors. Experts agree that early intervention and specialized education are key components in treating the condition.
What Are Pervasive Developmental Disorders?Pervasive developmental disorders are characterized by delays in the development of socialization and communication skills. Parents may note symptoms as early as infancy, although the typical age of onset is before a child is three years old.
Types of Pervasive Developmental DisordersAutism (a developmental brain disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication skills and by a limited range of activities and interests) is the most characteristic and best-studied of the pervasive developmental disorders.
Other types include:
- Childhood disintegrative disorder
- Asperger syndrome
- Rett syndrome
- Pervasive developmental disorder -- not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS, including atypical autism).
- Repetitive body movements or behavior patterns
- Difficulty with changes in routine or familiar surroundings
- Problems with using and understanding language
- Difficulty relating to people, objects, and events
- Unusual play with toys and other objects.
Children with pervasive developmental disorders vary widely in abilities, intelligence, and behaviors. Some children do not speak at all, others speak in limited phrases or conversations, and some have relatively normal language development. Repetitive play skills and limited social skills are generally evident. Unusual responses to sensory information, such as loud noises and lights, are also common.