GARD Fact Sheet
Pervasive Developmental Disorder-
Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
PDD-NOS is an abbreviation for Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise
Specified. It is one of five disorders classified as Pervasive Developmental Disorders
(others include Autistic Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, Rett's Disorder and Childhood
The diagnosis PDD-NOS is usually given to an individual who does not meet the
diagnostic criteria for any of the four other Pervasive Developmental Disorders, yet
clearly shows unusual development in the areas of communication, social interaction
PDD-NOS is a neurological disorder, and symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Often, individuals with a PDD-NOS diagnosis have more intact social skills than
individuals diagnosed with other Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Sometimes this
diagnosis is given to very young children with limited communication skills who also
show characteristics of autism. As the child's communication skills increase, other
symptoms of autism may become more apparent.
No two individuals diagnosed with PDD-NOS are exactly alike. However, many
individuals with PDD-NOS have some characteristics in common, such as:
+ Deficits in social behavior
+ Uneven skill development (strengths in some areas and significant delays in others.)
+ Poorly developed speech and language comprehension and skills
+ Difficulty with changes in environment
+ Deficits in nonverbal communication
+ Uncommon responses to taste, sight, sound, smell and touch
+ Repetitive or ritualistic behaviors (i.e., opening and closing doors repeatedly or switching
a light on and off)
+ Unusual likes and dislikes
The causes of PDD-NOS are still unknown. There is a strong belief in the medical
community that that the disability's origin is genetic and/or biological and affects brain
function, but specific biological mechanisms remain unclear. There is a possibility that more
than one variable could be responsible for the different symptoms that are present in those
individuals with PDD-NOS.
There are no factors in a child's upbringing that are responsible for PDD-NOS. Parents
do not cause PDD-NOS.
Current estimates are that 3-4 per 1000 individuals may have PDD-NOS. PDD-NOS
often occurs with some degree of cognitive impairment. Individuals with PDD-NOS are
found in all races, ethnicities, and social statues.
Chakrabarti, S. & Fombone, E. (2001) Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Preschool Children.
Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 285, 24, 3093.
Treatment and educational needs for individuals with PDD-
NOS include but are not limited to:
1.An early and accurate diagnosis, which improves a child's
chances of reaching his or her full potential.
2. Specialized and intensive interventions, which may include
educational, behavioral, occupational and speech therapy.
Success is optimized when a collaborative effort occurs among
all parties involved in the individual's life and a comprehensive
treatment approach is utilized.
For More Information Contact:
Center for Autism and Related Disabilities Sites:
Florida State University
625-B North Adams St.
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(800) 769-7926 or (850) 644-4367
University of South Florida
13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33612-3899
(800) 333-4530 or (813) 974-2532
Fax: (813) 974-6115
University of Florida at Gainesville
P. 0. Box 100234
Gainesville, FL 32610-0234
(800) 754-5891 or (352) 846-2761
Fax: (352) 846-0941
University of Florida at Jacksonville
6271 St. Augustine Rd, Suite 1
Jacksonville, FL 32217
Phone: (904) 633-0760
Fax: (904) 633-0751
University of Central Florida
12001 Science Drive, Suite 145
Orlando, FL 32826
(888) 558-1908 or (407) 737-2566
Fax (407) 737-2571
University of Miami
Dept. of Psychology
5665 Ponce de Leon Boulevard
PO Box 248768
Coral Gables, FL 33124-0725
800/9-AUTISM or 305/284-6563
Florida Atlantic University
Dept. of ESE
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431
(888) 632-6395 or (561) 297-2023
Fax (561) 297-2063
Factsheet Center for Autism & Related Disabilities
The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities
The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD)
seeks to provide support and assistance with the goal
of optimizing the potential of people with autism, dual
sensory impairments, and related disabilities. Located at
six university sites throughout Florida, CARD develops
programs offering support and training for individuals,
families, professionals, and peers throughout Florida. This
fact sheet is made possible through the cooperative efforts of
Floridas CARD Centers.