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a doctor explains PDD


Both behavioral and biological studies have generated sufficient evidence to suggest that PDDNOS is caused by a neurological abnormality--problems with the nervous system. However, no specific cause or causes have been identified.

While studies have found various nervous-system problems, no single problem has been consistently found, and exact causes are far from clear. This may be due to the current approach of defining PDDNOS based on behaviors (as opposed to, say, genetic testing). Hence, it is possible that PDDNOS is the result of several different conditions. If this is the case, it is anticipated that future studies will identify a range of causes.

Beginning the Search for Information

Sam was an active and busy child. But his parents were worried about him. Compared with the other 3-year-olds they knew, Sam was different--he wasn't talking and he didn't seem to want or try to play with his sister. At day care Sam wouldn't join in any activities with the other kids, but he really enjoyed playing with water. He would splash and play at the sink for hours, with a big smile on his face. After about a year of expressing concern to their pediatrician, Sam's parents finally obtained a referral to a developmental psychologist who diagnosed Sam as having PDDNOS. The pediatrician also suggested that they get the school to test Sam. The school tested him and said he had autism. No one seemed to know anything about PDDNOS, and although Sam's parents had heard of autism, they didn't know much about it. They began their search for information on what PDDNOS was and what autism was.

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