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Pervasive Developmental disorder (PDD)

Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is a neurological disorder.

Pervasive Development Disorder “Not Otherwise Specified” (PDD-NOS; also called “Atypical Autism”): This is probably the most common category within PDD.

PDD-NOS is generally used to mean “mild autism”, or “some autistic characteristics”. Often doctors will simply use the shorthand of “PDD” when referring to PDD-NOS. This term refers to individuals who have significant difficulties in the areas of social interaction, verbal communication (speech), nonverbal communication (gesture, eye contact), but are too social to be considered fully autistic.

Characteristics of PPD

Social Behavior Shows clear social interest but limited reciprocity. Seeks social interactions but relationships may be hampered by limited understanding of the perspective and feelings of others.
Language and Communication Speaks in complete sentences, but language may be rigid or inflexible. Conversational skills may be limited by persistence on particular topics and poor understanding of nonverbal cues. May show comprehension problems and difficulty with abstract concepts.
Repetitive Activities Shows some behavioral rigidity and inflexibility. May have circumscribed areas of interest and specific routines or rituals that interfere only minimally with daily activities.

Educational Implications

  • When teaching someone with PDD, the emphasis needs to be on learning ways to communicate, as well as structuring the environment so that it is consistent and predictable
  • Individuals with PDD learn better, and are usually less confused, when information is presented visually as well as verbally
  • Also refer to suggestions in brochure, “College Students with Learning Disabilities” (copies can be found at the
    Learning Accommodations Center).