How PDD-NOS Is Diagnosed

The diagnosis of PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified) is often given when a child shows several of the signs does of Autism, but they not meet all the criteria for being diagnosed with Autism. Several different types of assessments are used to diagnose PDD-NOS.

The types of assessments needed for PDD-NOS diagnosis include the following:

Medical Assessment

It is important to first rule out any health conditions that could be causing the symptoms the child is experiencing. There are health conditions that can cause symptoms that are similar to those in PDD-NOS.  A complete medical assessment will be done to make sure the symptoms are not being caused by one or more of these conditions.

Educational Assessment

Several different educational areas will be examined. The educational assessment is done to determine what skills the child has that are appropriate for his or her age. One area in which the child will be assessed is daily living skills such as eating, dressing, bathing, etc. A combination of testing and interviewing parents and teachers will be used to assess the child’s development in these areas.

Interviews with Childs Parents, Teachers

In order to get a good picture of skills and behaviors, persons who know the child well will be interviewed.  Children who have Persuasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified may display symptoms that vary at different times or places. Interviewing the people who know the child well can give a better overview of the child’s symptoms. Teachers often spend several hours a day in school with the child. They may have information to add that is very important to the childs assessment. That is true for others who spend a great deal of time with the child. This could be daycare providers, grand parents, family friends, etc.

Psychological Assessment

A Psychologist will assess the child to eliminate to possibility that the problems are being caused by mental disorders. The examination will focus on evaluating areas such as cognitive development, social development, anxiety, or depression.

Behavior Observation Assessment

Often, doctors assessing children for PDD-NOS will want to observe the child in a natural setting, such as in the childs home. In this way, by seeing how the child acts with their family, the doctor can better understand the child’s symptoms.

Communication Assessment

Communication skills are an important factor in determining if a child has PDD-NOS.  Communication skills can be evaluated by testing and by talking to the childs parents. Factors such as the child’s ability to understand others, and their ability to use their words, will be evaluated. The assessment will show if the child understands body language and facial expressions.

Occupational Assessment

Evaluations known as occupational assessment will be done to determine how well the child can use fine motor skills. Checks will be done to learn whether the child is dealing with any sensory issues. Sensory issues could be things like the child preferring only certain textures, or disliking certain textures. This type of issue can cause problems such as making it difficult to choose clothing.

When all of the assessments have been completed, the team will meet to decide if the child has met the criteria for a diagnosis of PDD-NOS. If the answer is yes, they will create a treatment plan.  It is very important to get treatment for the child. Appropriate treatment can help a child with PDD-NOS in many ways.  They may learn to communicate better. They can learn how to behave more appropriately in social settings. In many ways, proper individualized treatment can help them to have a much easier and more satisfying life.