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PDD-NOS Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

A person is diagnosed with PDD-NOS if they have some behaviors seen in autism but don’t meet the full criteria for having an Autistic Disorder. All children with PDD-NOS do not have the same symptoms. Symptoms can be mild, with the child exhibiting only a few symptoms while in school or at home. Other children may have a more severe form of PDD-NOS and have difficulties in all areas of their lives.

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PDD-NOS Signs & Symptoms

Often children with PDD-NOS are thought to have a "milder" form of autism, though this may not be technically true. One symptom may be minor, while another may be debilitating.

Social Signs & Symptoms

Children with PDD-NOS usually have social symptoms as well. They may want friends, but don't know how to make them. If they have language delays this can also hinder their ability to socialize with others. Often they have difficulty understanding body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. Another common symptom is difficulty understanding emotions. The child may not be able to distinguish when someone is happy, sad or angry. Close

Communication Signs & Symptoms

Children with PDD-NOS usually have language and communication problems. As babies, a child may not babble or when they do learn words, they exhibit "echolalia" repeating words or phrases over and over again. Children may take language literally and don't understand when someone is joking or being sarcastic. If the child has some language it is easier to expand language in these children, than it is with a child who is completely nonverbal.

Behavioral Signs & Symptoms

Behavioral symptoms of can include emotional outbursts and tantrums. These children may become very dependent on routines and have a need for things to be the same. They can misinterpret situations and become frustrated easily. It is important to remember when dealing with your child; often these tantrums are a result of fear, anxiety or misunderstanding a situation.

A common symptom of PDD-NOS is "perseveration" or dwelling on a certain subject. They often have an overwhelming preoccupation with one subject preferring only to talk about or play with toys that are associated with the area they are interested in.

Behavioral Signs & Symptoms

Calming Products

PDD-NOS Treatments 

Children with PDD-NOS respond best to a combination of treatments. Several therapies combined together to address various developmental challenges such as ABA, play therapy, sensory integration therapy, and social skills training should work best. According to the Yale Developmental Disabilities Clinic, these children may not get the help they need as readily as those with autism so it is important for friends and family to advocate for services.
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