The Symptoms and Signs of PDDNOS Essay

This essay has a total of 1820 words and 11 pages.


The Symptoms and Signs of PDDNOS





The Symptoms and Signs of PDDNOS
Generally, children are 3 to 4 years old before they exhibit enough symptoms for parents
to seek a diagnosis. There is no set pattern of symptoms and signs in children with
PDDNOS. It is important to realize that a very wide range of diversity is seen in children
with PDDNOS. All the items of behavior described in this section are common in these
children, but a single child seldom shows all the features at one time. In other words,
all children with PDDNOS do not have the same degree or intensity of the disorder. PDDNOS
can be mild, with the child exhibiting a few symptoms while in the school or neighborhood
environment. Other children may have a more severe form of PDDNOS and have difficulties in
all areas of their lives. Because of the possibility that PDDNOS and Autistic Disorder are
on a continuum, many clinical features described in the following section are very similar
to those being described in the literature for Autistic Disorder.




Deficits in Social Behavior
Some infants with PDDNOS tend to avoid eye contact and demonstrate little interest in the
human voice. They do not usually put up their arms to be picked up in the way that typical
children do. They may seem indifferent to affection and seldom show facial responsiveness.
As a result, parents often think the child is deaf. In children with fewer delays, lack of
social responsiveness may not be obvious until well into the second or third year of life.


In early childhood, children with PDDNOS may continue to show a lack of eye contact, but
they may enjoy a tickle or may passively accept physical contact. They do not develop
typical attachment behavior, and there may seem to be a failure to bond. Generally, they
do not follow their parents about the house. The majority do not show normal separation or
stranger anxiety. These children may approach a stranger almost as readily as they do
their parents. Many such children show a lack of interest in being with or playing with
other children. They may even actively avoid other children.


In middle childhood, such children may develop a greater awareness or attachment to
parents and other familiar adults. However, social difficulties continue. They still have
problems with group games and forming peer relationships. Some of the children with less
severe PDDNOS may become involved in other children's games.


As these children grow older, they may become affectionate and friendly with their parents
and siblings. However, they still have difficulty understanding the complexity of social
relationships. Some individuals with less severe impairments may have a desire for
friendships. But a lack of response to other people's interests and emotions, as well as a
lack of understanding of humor, often results in these youngsters saying or doing things
that can slow the development of friendships.




Impairment in Nonverbal Communication
In early childhood, children with PDDNOS may develop the concrete gesture of pulling
adults by the hand to the object that is wanted. They often do this without the typical
accompanying facial expression. They seldom nod or shake their heads to substitute for or
to accompany speech. Children with PDDNOS generally do not participate in games that
involve imitation. They are less likely than typical children to copy their parents'
activity.


In middle and late childhood, such children may not frequently use gestures, even when
they understand other people's gestures fairly well. Some children do develop imitative
play, but this tends to be repetitive.


Generally, children with PDDNOS are able to show joy, fear, or anger, but they may only
show the extreme of emotions. They often do not use facial expressions that ordinarily
show subtle emotion.




Impairment in Understanding Speech
Comprehension of speech in children with PDDNOS is impaired to varying degrees, depending
on where the child is within the wide spectrum of PDDNOS. Individuals with PDDNOS who also
have mental retardation may never develop more than a limited understanding of speech.
Children who have less severe impairments may follow simple instructions if given in an
immediate context or with the aid of gestures (e.g., telling the child to "put your glass
on the counter," while pointing to the counter). When impairment is mild, only the
comprehension of subtle or abstract meanings may be affected. Humor, sarcasm, and common
sayings (e.g., "it's raining cats and dogs") can be confusing for individuals with the
most mild PDDNOS.




Impairment in Speech Development
Many infants with PDDNOS do not babble, or may begin to babble in their first year but
then stop. When the child develops speech, he or she often exhibits abnormalities.
Echolalia (seemingly meaningless repetition of words or phrases) may be the only kind of
speech some children acquire. Though echolalic speech might be produced quite accurately,
the child may have limited comprehension of the meaning. In the past, it was thought that
echolalia had no real function. More recent studies have found that echolalia can serve
several functions, such as self-stimulation (when a child says words or phrases repeatedly
without a communicative purpose--just because it feels good); as a step between a child
being nonverbal and verbal; or as a way to communicate (Prizant & Rydell, 1993). Other
children develop the appropriate use of phrases copied from others. This is often
accompanied by pronoun reversal in the early stages of language development. For instance,
when the child is asked "How are you?" he or she may answer "You are fine."


The actual production of speech may be impaired. The child's speech may be like that of a
robot, characterized by a monotonous, flat delivery with little change in pitch, change of
emphasis, or emotional expression.


Continues for 6 more pages >>




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