What is PDD-NOS

What exactly is PDD-NOS?

Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified is a “subthreshold” condition in which some – but not all – features of autism or another explicitly identified Pervasive Developmental Disorder are identified. PDD-NOS is often incorrectly referred to as simply “PDD.” The term PDD refers to the class of conditions to which autism belongs.
PDD is NOT itself a diagnosis, while PDD-NOS IS a diagnosis.

A brief description of the condition follows:
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The definition of “subthreshold” PDD (PDD-NOS) is essentially a negative one; i.e., for individuals with a disorder with some features suggesting autism, but which does not meet full criteria. Although probably relatively common, research on this condition is, paradoxically, highly limited.

The term Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS; also referred to as “atypical personality development”, “atypical PDD”, or “atypical autism”) is included in DSM-IV to encompass cases where there is marked impairment of social interaction, communication, and/or stereotyped behavior patterns or interest, but when full features for autism or another explicitly defined PDD are not met. It should be emphasized that this ”subthreshold” category is thus defined implicitly, that is, no specific guidelines for diagnosis are provided. While deficits in peer relations and unusual sensitivities are typically noted, social skills are less impaired than in classical autism. The lack of definition(s) for this relatively heterogeneous group of children presents problems for research on this condition.

The limited available evidence suggest that children with PDD-NOS probably come to professional attention rather later than is the case with autistic children, and that intellectual deficits are less common.

Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-IV
299.80 Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (Including Atypical Autism)

This category should be used when there is a severe and pervasive impairment in the development of reciprocal social interaction or verbal and nonverbal communication skills, or when stereotyped behavior, interests, and activities are present, but the criteria are not met for a specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, or Avoidant Personality Disorder. For example, this category includes atypical autism — presentations that do not meet the criteria for Autistic Disorder because of late age of onset, atypical symptomatology, or subthreshold symptomatology,

or all of these.

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