Pervasive developmental disorders


Pervasive developmental disorders

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Abbreviation: PDD.

Pervasive development disorder is a nonprogressive disorder resulting from a central nervous system injury (CNS) abnormality that occurred during fetal brain development. This term is used to describe children and youth who have an impairment in the quality of their social interactions and communications, but do not meet the full descriptive or diagnostic criteria for other pervasive developmental disorders including Autistic Disorder, Rett's Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Asperger's Disorder.

The cause of pervasive development disorders is not known, but researchers are looking for answers. Some studies suggest that PDDs are caused by a problem with the nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Studies currently in progress are examining the structure and function of the brain in people with autism for clues that may help us better understand these conditions, as well as how to treat and/or prevent them.

A number of factors have been associated with PDD including maternal infection, metabolic disturbance, injury to the nervous system, exposure to environmental toxins, and genetic abnormalities, however, no single etiology has been identified at this time.

Children with PDD 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 as well. Unusual responses to sensory information - loud noises, lights - are also common.

It is estimated that pervasive development disorders occur in about five to 15 children per 10,000 births. In general, PDDs are more common in boys than in girls, with the exception of Rett's syndrome, which occurs almost always in girls.

Symptoms:

Symptoms may include:

    Inflexible adherence to routines or rituals.

  • Avoidance of eye contact.

  • Impairment in non-verbal communication.

  • Abnormally intense focus or interest in a specific area (forexample, may be intensely focused on vehicle wheels ormay insist that every toy is a guitar).

  • Language problems may be apparent—the child mayrarely speak, may be unable to initiate or sustain aconversation, or may repeat phrases over and over.

  • Lack of varied play.

  • Lack of social imitative play typical of developmental level(for example, will not have tea parties or play store).

  • May lack sensitivity to or be highly sensitive to sounds,lights, smells, touch, and/or the taste and texture of foods.

Diagnosis:

If symptoms of a pervasive development disorder are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by performing a complete medical history and physical exam. Although there are no laboratory tests to diagnose a PDD, the doctor may use various tests -- such as X-rays and blood tests -- to determine if there is a physical disorder causing the symptoms.

If no physical disorder is found, the child may be referred to a specialist in childhood development disorders, such as a child and adolescent psychiatrist or psychologist, pediatric neurologist, developmental pediatrician, or other health professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat PDDs. The doctor bases his or her diagnosis on the child's level of development, and the doctor's observation of the child's speech and behavior, including his or her play and ability to socialize with others. The doctor often seeks input from the child's parents, teachers, and other adults who are familiar with the child's symptoms.

Treatment:

There is no known cure for PDD. Medications are used to address certain behavioral problems; therapy for children with PDD should be specialized according to the child's specific needs. Some children with PDD benefit from specialized classrooms in which the class size is small and instruction is given on a one-to-one basis. Others function well in standard special education classes or regular classes with support. Early intervention, including appropriate and specialized educational programs and support services, play a critical role in improving the outcome of individuals with PDD.

NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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