PDD-NOS is a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum that is often referred to as atypical autism. According to a new poll released by the CDC, about 1 in 50 children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS if they meet some but not all of the diagnostic criteria for Asperger Syndrome or autistic disorder(1). A child who receives a diagnosis of PDD-NOS usually falls into one of the following categories(2):
- The child is high functioning, like a person with Asperger syndrome, but is experiencing mild cognitive issues and/or language delay that would prevent an Asperger diagnosis.
- The child is similar to a person with autism, but symptoms began at a late age.
- The child has many symptoms of autism, but has fewer perseverative behaviors than those with an autism diagnosis.
- The child may exhibit signs of autism, but be too young to fully assess language development.
Symptoms of PDD-NOS
Children with PDD-NOS may experience some of the following ASD symptoms to varying degrees, depending on severity(1):
- Do not respond to their name by 12 months of age.
- Do not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months.
- Do not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months.
- Avoid eye contact and want to be alone.
- Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings.
- Have delayed speech and language skills.
- Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia).
- Give unrelated answers to questions.
- Get upset by minor changes.
- Have obsessive interests.
- Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles.
- Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel.
PDD-NOS and the Brain Balance Program
Research results published in the Oxford Journal Cerebral Cortex show that study participants with autism spectrum disorders have decreased inter-hemispheric connectivity in brain regions responsible for regulating behaviors associated with the disorder. This connectivity issue is called functional disconnection syndrome, an imbalance in hemispheric brain communication that is at the root of learning and developmental issues.
Since the right hemisphere of the brain regulates creativity, non-verbal learning, communication, attention, and socially appropriate behavior, a child with decreased right-brain activity may have trouble reading body language, regulating repetitive behaviors, and maintaining eye contact, attention, and mood. The Brain Balance Program combines individually customized sensory motor and neuro-academic activities that are designed to improve right-brain connectivity leading to a reduction or elimination of behavioral symptoms. In addition, our nutritional guidelines are supported by recent research that stresses the importance of a healthy diet in decreasing symptoms of autism spectrum disorders.
Help and Hope for PDD-NOS
Neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to improve and change throughout a person’s lifetime, is fundamental to the Brain Balance Program. Our drug-free, integrated approach brings parents and kids together to achieve a common goal of improving symptoms of PDD-NOS so they may reach their full potential.