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What are pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs)?

The diagnostic category of pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) is now called autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). It refers to a group of disorders characterized by delays in the development of socialization and communication skills. Parents may note symptoms as early as in infancy, although the typical age of the onset of ASDs is before three years of age. Symptoms may include problems in using and understanding language; difficulty relating to people, objects, and events; unusual play with toys and other objects; difficulty with changes in routine or familiar surroundings, and repetitive body movements or behavior patterns. Autism (a developmental brain disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication skills and a limited range of activities and interests) is the most characteristic and best studied ASD. Other types of ASDs include Asperger's syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and Rett syndrome. Children with ASDs vary widely in their abilities, intelligence, and behaviors. Some children do not speak at all, others speak in limited phrases or conversations, and some have relatively normal language development. Repetitive play skills and limited social skills are generally evident. Unusual responses to sensory information, such as loud noises and lights, are also common.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.