Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (page 2)
Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder including Asperger Syndrome, are neurological disorders that affect a child's ability to communicate, understand language, play, and relate to others. Staff working with children with Autism or PDD will find the information useful. This NICHCY guide briefly describes the DSM-IV classification, incidence rates, characteristics, and educational implications of these disorders, as well as stressing the importance of early diagnosis and appropriate educational programs to parents, teachers, and other staff working with children. A brief bibliography and list of organizations are included.
Ryan is a healthy, active two-year-old, but his parents are concerned because he doesn’t seem to be doing things they expect him to do, things that his older sister did at this age. He hasn’t started talking, yet; although sometimes, he repeats, over and over, words that he hears others say. He doesn’t really use words to communicate, though. It seems he just enjoys the sounds of them. Ryan spends a lot of time playing by himself. He has a few favorite toys, mostly cars, or anything with wheels on it! And sometimes, he spins himself around as fast as he does the wheels on his cars. Ryan’s parents are really concerned, since he’s started throwing a tantrum whenever his routine has the smallest change. More and more, his parents feel helpless, never knowing what might trigger Ryan’s next upset.
Sometimes, Ryan doesn’t seem to notice or care if his family or anyone else is around. His parents just don’t know how to reach their little boy, who seems so rigid and far too set in his ways for his tender young age. After talking with their family doctor, Ryan’s parents call the Early Intervention office in their community and make an appointment to have Ryan evaluated.
When the time comes, Ryan is seen by several professionals who play with him, watch him, and ask his parents a lot of questions. When they’re all done, Ryan is diagnosed with a form of autism. As painful as this is for his parents to learn, the early intervention staff try to encourage them. By getting an early diagnosis and beginning treatment, Ryan has the best chance to grow and develop. Of course, there’s a long road ahead, but his parents are a little relieved. They now know that they aren’t alone and they’re getting Ryan the help he needs.
What is Autism/PDD?
Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) are developmental disabilities that share many of the same characteristics. Usually evident by age three, autism and PDD are neurological disorders that affect a child’s ability to communicate, understand language, play, and relate to others.
In the diagnostic manual used to classify disabilities, the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000), “autistic disorder” is listed as a category under the heading of “Pervasive Developmental Disorders.” A diagnosis of autistic disorder is made when an individual displays 6 or more of 12 symptoms listed across three major areas: (a) social interaction, (b) communication, and (c) behavior. When children display similar behaviors but do not meet the criteria for autistic disorder, they may receive a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder-NOS (not otherwise specified, or PDD-NOS). Although the diagnosis is referred to as PDDNOS, throughout the remainder of this fact sheet, we will refer to the diagnosis simply as PDD, as it is more commonly known.
Autistic disorder is one of the disabilities specifically defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal legislation under which children and youth with disabilities receive special education and related services. IDEA, which uses the term “autism,” defines the disorder as “a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.” [See 34 Code of Federal Regulations §300.7(c)(1).]
Due to the similarity of behaviors associated with autism and PDD, use of the term Pervasive Developmental Disorder has caused some confusion among parents and professionals. To add to the confusion, there are also a number of different diagnostic terms that fall within the broad meanings of autism or PDD, such as:
* Autism Spectrum Disorders,
* Aspergers’ syndrome,
* Rett’s syndrome, and
* Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
While there are subtle differences and degrees of severity among these conditions, the treatment and educational needs can be very similar for all of them.
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- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- The Homework Debate
- Social Cognitive Theory
- First Grade Sight Words List
- GED Math Practice Test 1