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A child may be diagnosed with a pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) when she has some of the signs and symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) or Asperger syndrome but doesn’t meet the strict criteria used to diagnose those conditions.

Children with PDD-NOS may have:

  • Poor social skills because of limited verbal or nonverbal skills
  • Persistent and repetitive interests, activities, and behaviors

Children with PDD-NOS differ from children with ASDs or Asperger syndrome in that their symptoms may not appear until they are older.

Some people feel that PDD-NOS is a subthreshold or atypical form of ASD because children who have it show certain symptoms but not others. For instance, a child may have difficulties with social interactions and communication but have no persistent, repetitive behaviors. Symptoms may also be milder. Still, PDD-NOS involves a “severe and pervasive impairment” in developing social skills. This means it can create many of the same challenges as ASDs and Asperger syndrome. This may be especially true if the child also has an intellectual disability that affects her cognitive functioning or other behavioral challenges, such as ADHD.


Last Updated
Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics 2012)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.