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Sometimes a child with learning and behavioral differences doesn't meet all the diagnostic criteria for Asperger Syndrome or Autism, which can lead to a diagnosis of PDD-NOS. Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified is the diagnosis given to those who fall into this category and are generally considered to exhibit milder symptoms than those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

  • Atypical or inappropriate social behavior
  • Uneven skill development (motor, sensory, visual-spatial organizational, cognitive, social, academic, behavioral)
  • Poorly developed speech and language comprehension skills
  • Difficulty with transitions
  • Deficits in nonverbal and/or verbal communication
  • Increased or decreased sensitivities to taste, sight, sound, smell and/or touch
  • Perseverative (repetitive or ritualistic) behaviors (i.e., opening and closing doors repeatedly or switching a light on and off )

It is important to note that some practitioners refer to PDD-NOS as "atypical autism" or believe it to be a milder form of autism spectrum disorder. This debate among professionals concerning exactly how to classify those who don't meet all the criteria for Autism has led to much confusion among parents about the diagnosis. A child may receive a diagnosis of PDD-NOS if he or she falls into the following categories:

  1. The child is high-functioning like a person with Asperger syndrome but is experiencing mild cognitive issues and/or language delay that would prevent an Asperger diagnosis
  2. The child is similar to a person with Autism but symptoms began at a late age
  3. The child has many symptoms of Autism but has fewer perseverative behaviors than those with an Autism diagnosis


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