Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

In this guide, we are going to comprehensively review the pervasive developmental disorder and social challenges related to it. 

Pervasive development disorder:

PDD-NOS stands for a generalized developmental disorder not otherwise specified. PDD-NOS is a diagnosis applied to children and adults who are on the autism spectrum.

These individuals do not fully meet the criteria for another ASD, such as autistic disorder (sometimes called ‘classic autism’) or Asperger syndrome.

PDD-NOS is common in individuals who have any disabilities in social skills or incapacity to successfully have a conversation with other people, issues with verbal or nonverbal communication, or stereotyped behavior, interests, and activities.

PDD-NOS can only be relevant to people who don’t have any of the following diagnoses:

• Specific pervasive developmental disorder

• Schizophrenia

• Schizotypal personality disorder

• Avoidant personality disorder

Like Asperger’s, children with Pervasive Developmental Disorder are more likely to have significant challenges when it comes to social and language development.

This diagnosis is suitable for people with the basic requirements for autism and does not have more severe characteristics, like extreme repetitive behaviors, intellectual limitations, or inappropriate mannerisms.

A person diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder usually exhibits social and communication challenges, but rarely or entirely do not display other symptoms of Asperger’s, like obsessions over specific topics, developmental delays, or awkward mannerisms.

People with Pervasive Developmental Disorder usually live mostly ordinary lives and are regarded as the highest functioning of all autism subtypes, but can have issues relating to people, understanding language, accepting change in surroundings or routines, and dealing with their own emotions.

PDD-NOS is now called autism spectrum disorder.

The change of name was introduced in 2013 when an American Psychiatric Association averted autistic disorder and (PDD-NOS) as autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Most commons symptoms of PDD

Children or adults experiencing childhood disintegrative disorder are more likely to have these symptoms: 

  • They usually avoid eye contact and often cannot express or convey their thoughts through language,
  • Their voice is typically high-pitched or flat and they find it hard to fit in or keep up a conversation; they face problems while communicating. They also have trouble controlling emotions,
  • Perform repetitive behaviors like hand-flapping, rocking, jumping, or twirling. They are also engaged in activities that could cause self-harm, such as biting or head-banging,
  • They are unusually sensitive to light, sound or touch yet maybe uncaring to temperature or any discomfort or pain,
  • They are not suited to their new routine, and they need a strict schedule​ and they find it hard to let people believe in them,
  • They are more interested in playing with the parts of a toy rather than the toy itself,
  • They show a lack of response to their name,
  • Some children experience childhood disintegrative disorder and face trouble learning or memorizing things. There are other children too who have a perfect memory, and they have a quick learning ability,
  • Some children might reveal the symptoms of autistic disorder in early childhood. Some children develop typically for the first few months or years of their life, but suddenly become assertive or aggressive. Most of the symptoms are seen within two years.

Main causes of Pervasive developmental disorder

There are no well-defined causes of Asperger’s syndrome.

However, scientists believe that the complexity of childhood disintegrative disorder involves several different genes or environmental factors. 

Researchers are presently taking a look at whether factors such as viral infections or complications during pregnancy, or air pollutants play a part in provoking autism spectrum disorder. Other than that gene mutation might be the cause that could trigger the autistic disorder

Is Pervasive developmental disorder hereditary?

ASD is a challenging condition, and not the entirety of the causes is known.

It’s commonly agreed that a blend of hereditary and natural factors are likely assumed to play a role in causing this condition. 

However, mutations in genes might be a contributing element, yet science is presently uncertain about this.

The autism spectrum disorder range issue frequently appears as genetically heterogeneous (which means it might have numerous causes). 

Also, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might be related to a specific hereditary issue, for example, fragile X syndrome or Rett syndrome. 

Similarly, as with likely hereditary causes, specialists are proceeding to research potential ecological causes and other hazard factors for ASD.

Diagnosis of Pervasive developmental disorder

To make the analysis, specialists watch the kid and pose inquiries of the guardians or guards about the youngster’s practices.

There is no specific test for an autism disorder.

The key is to discover as soon as conceivable if a kid is on the range.

That way, you can arrange assets to enable your child to arrive at his maximum capacity. The sooner that starts, the better. 

Certain drugs could assist kids with side effects.

The drug works best when combined with treatment that creates socialization and other fundamental abilities.

Remember that somebody who’s on the range unexpectedly encounters the world.

Their achievements and difficulties may be altogether different from yours.

Treatment of Pervasive developmental disorder

There are several treatment plans available for Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including pervasive developmental disorder.

The treatment strategy for this disorder is below:

  • Applied behavioral analysis (ABA). There are a few unique kinds of ABA. At its center, ABA is worried about strengthening positive practices while eliminating harmful practices.
  • Speech or language therapy. As the name indicates, this type of treatment can usually help with deficits in language or communication. Improves the patient’s ability to concentrate and communicate effectively 
  • Occupational or physical therapy. PDD-NOS can help with coordination and movement issues and also with day-to-day learning tasks such as getting dressed, tying shoelaces, and bathing.
  • Medications. There are no prescribed medications for the treatment of ASD given directly. However, other conditions such as depression, over-thinking may occur along with ASD. Medications can help treat these conditions.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help people with ASD in dealing with anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, discomfort, or other psychological conditions that they may be experiencing.
  • Dietary changes. PDD-NOS can incorporate things like gluten-or without casein diets or utilizing nutrient or probiotic supplements. As of now, the vast majority of these haven’t demonstrated an advantage, so you ought to address your pediatrician before changing your kid’s eating regimen.
  • Alternative or complementary therapies. These can incorporate a variety of things, for example, music treatment, massage treatment, and homegrown drugs. PDD-NOS is treatable to some extent, whereas a portion of these treatments may accompany huge hazard, so talk with a specialist before beginning one. 

Five pervasive developmental disorders

We know that generalized developmental disorder not otherwise specified PDD-NOS includes autism, other than that there are four more similar disorders that are included in it.

This is now included under the umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)…

  • Autism
  • Asperger syndrome
  • Rett syndrome
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder
  • Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)

In the DSM-5, Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive developmental disorder are all replaced by the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.


As we discussed above that PDD-NOS is now an umbrella diagnosis of five disorders.

In the past, PDD-NOS was diagnosed when a person had any ability to communicate or impaired social skills.

PDD-NOS was also used in the diagnosis of atypical autism, which was used when a particular person’s symptoms did not meet the full criteria for an autistic disorder diagnosis it was either because the symptoms displayed or were diagnosed at an older age, they weren’t the typical symptoms of autism or both.

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association characterized the DSM into its fifth edition, and the entire category of “pervasive developmental disorders” was abolished, and the diagnosis of PDD-NOS was no longer used.

Instead, these disorders were characterized by the autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in the “neurodevelopmental disorders” category.

Possible cure of the pervasive developmental disorder

There’s no real way to counteract autism spectrum disorder.

However, there are treatment alternatives.

Early findings and medication are generally useful and can improve conduct, aptitudes, and language advancement.

Notwithstanding, the remedy is helpful at any age.

Despite the fact that kids, for the most part, don’t exceed chemical imbalance range issue manifestations, they may figure out how to work well.

PDD-NOS and Autism

This subtype of Autism is viewed as an “advanced” structure on the spectrum.

Youngsters and grown-ups with this type of chemical imbalance ordinarily experience issues with social cooperation and understanding social standards.

Their scope of interest is usually limited, and they may likewise show repetitive practices.

As indicated by Autism Speaks, individuals with Asperger’s may also have developmental delays, uncoordinated motor developments, and general clumsiness. 

Furthermore, even though they may have confined interests, those with this sort of autism will, in general, be smart and concentrated inside those fields of intrigue.

However, if a child is suffering from such a disease, then you should get him/her checked by the doctor as early as you possibly can.

This is the best possible way to avoid further health and mental problems.

With all autism spectrum disorders, early conclusion and mediation offer the most obvious opportunity for enhancing results – including accomplishment in mainstream classrooms and the achievement of independence and high caliber of life in adulthood.

In any case, it is never past the point where it is possible to start to conduct treatment. 

Some useful resources: 

  1. Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder: A Mother’s Story of Research & Recovery
  2. Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Diagnosis, Development, Neurobiology, and Behavior (volume 1)
  3. Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, 2 Volume Set
  4. Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Diagnosis, Development, and Brain Mechanisms
  5. Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Assessment, Interventions, and Policy
  6. Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders Sourcebook (Autism & Pervasive Development Disorders Sourcebook)


As mentioned earlier, no two individuals with PDD-NOS are alike. Indeed, they have completely different strengths and challenges.

PDD-NOS treatments should be highly individualized based on a thorough assessment by a qualified developmental specialist.

The doctor should consider such factors as behavioral history, current symptoms, communication patterns, social competence, and neuropsychological functioning.

Guardians of kids diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder/ childhood disintegrative disorder or autistic disorder should seek after an Early Intervention Program (EIP) for a small kid and an Individual Education Program (IEP) for a school-age youngster.

By relating to the symptoms, children with the autistic disorder should be given constant attention and love so they could overcome their fear of communicating and perform better.

By following the instructions mentioned above, autistic disorder children can communicate better and concentrate effectively, which may bring healthy changes in their lifestyles. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the critical questions related to PDD-NOS are as follows:

Q1. What are the five pervasive developmental disorders?

– PDD-NOS includes atypical autism, which is the most common.

– Autism is also prevalent in individuals.

– Asperger syndrome.

– Rett syndrome.

– Childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD).

Q2. Is PDD-NOS still a diagnosis?

PDD-NOS is common in younger people, mostly in kids. PDD-NOS is seen in older individuals, as well. 

Q3. Is Pervasive Development disorder curable?

Yes, Pervasive development disorder is treatable with proper medication and well-trained doctors. 

Q4. Is PDD-NOS the same as autism?

PDD-NOS and autism have many similarities, but they are not the same in all points.

Q5. Is PDD-NOS genetic?

No, PDD-NOS doesn’t link to genetics. It is a non-genetic disorder.

Q6. Is this order in the DSM-5?

If not otherwise specified, it should not be designated as DSM-5 disorder because DSM-5 required well established diagnosis of autistic disorder.


What are pervasive developmental disorders?

Information on pervasive developmental disorders

High functioning pervasive developmental disorders

Essential information about pervasive developmental disorders

How pervasive developmental disorder differs from other autism?