Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Thursday, February 16, 2012

PDD-NOS. (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified ) vs. Classic Autism

Here is some info I have found on PDD-NOS -

Pervasive Development Disorder:

Not otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) occurs when a child may not fall within the realm of other ASD's, but nonetheless shows signs of severe and pervasive impairment... in the development of reciprocal social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication skills

Autistic Disorder:

Autistic Disorder occurs four times more frequently in boys than girls and is characterized in some children by withdrawn behaviour or other unusual social behaviours,... problems using language to communicate, repetitive patterns of behaviour and the inability to engage in imaginative play. Usually the child begins with normal development and shows regression between 12 and 24 months of age.

---With just these 2 small comparisons, you can see how close the diagnosis are, but yet can be so different. We are awaiting to see Dr. Snyder, in Niagara Falls, who is a Developmental Pediatrician so we can get Ben assessed again for his severity level. I keep juggling between what Owen has, which is Classic Autism and PDD-NOS. Ben reminds us of Owen in a lot of ways, but then he seems to be redirected when he is in his, "own world" where Owen was stuck there.

The therapy for either diagnosis are the same, will cost the same, and can benefit him the same. Ben seems to be a quick learner, but unfortunately, most of the things he learns tend not to stick with him. I feel like waiting for the appointment is the hardest part, waiting to see what services he will qualify for, depending on his severity, if he even gets them.

After this appointment as well, we will be able to apply to Alberta for services and hopefully get an assessment out there for services. No, this does not mean we are for sure packing up our life and leaving, but we both truly believe not applying would be a stupid decision. When they call for the assessment, the boys and I would fly out for a few days vacation and they can be seen by the specialized service worker. After their assessment, in a short while, we will find out if they have been granted services or not. Then the biggest, hardest, life changing choice will have to be made - and I kid you not, it is all we talk about.

So, you may be wondering, what are the differences between these 2 diagnosis? and you might keep hearing people (especially on TV) talk about Aspergers syndrome, what is the difference? Here is a short blurb to help you all out :)

Pervasive Developmental Disorder Symptoms:
An Overview
Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) covers a wide range of behaviors and abilities. People who have the condition, like all people, differ greatly in the way they act and what they can do. No two people will have the same pervasive developmental disorder symptoms. A symptom might be mild in one person and severe in another.

Examples of pervasive developmental disorder symptoms include problems with:

•Social skills
•Speech, language, and communication
•Repeated behaviors and routines

Pervasive Developmental Disorder Symptoms Related to Social Skills

Pervasive developmental disorder symptoms related to social skills can include:

•Not interacting with others the way most people do, or not being interested in other people at all
•Not making eye contact and wanting to be alone
•Trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about their own feelings
•Not wanting to be held or cuddled, or only cuddling when they want to
•Not noticing when other people try to talk to them
•Being very interested in people, but not knowing how to talk, play, or relate to them.

What Is Asperger Syndrome?
(Like Max from Parenthood)

Asperger syndrome (AS) is a developmental disorder. It is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), one of a distinct group of neurological conditions characterized by a greater or lesser degree of impairment in language and communication skills, as well as repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behavior.

SymptomsThe most distinguishing symptom of Asperger syndrome is a child's obsessive interest in a single object or topic to the exclusion of any other. Children with Asperger syndrome want to know everything about their topic of interest and their conversations with others will be about little else.

Their expertise, high level of vocabulary, and formal speech patterns make them seem like little professors. Other characteristics of Asperger syndrome include:

•Repetitive routines or rituals
•Peculiarities in speech and language
•Socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior (and the inability to interact successfully with peers)
•Problems with nonverbal communication
•Clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements.

Children with Asperger syndrome are isolated because of their poor social skills and narrow interests. They may approach other people, but make normal conversation impossible by inappropriate or eccentric behavior, or by wanting only to talk about their singular interest. Children with Asperger syndrome usually have a history of developmental delays in motor skills such as pedaling a bike, catching a ball, or climbing outdoor play equipment. They are often awkward and poorly coordinated with a walk that can appear either stilted or bouncy.

What Is Rett Syndrome?
Rett syndrome is a relatively rare condition that almost exclusively affects females. It occurs in one out of every 10,000 to 15,000 people.

Rett syndrome is part of a category of disorders known as pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), which are more commonly known as autism spectrum disorders. All of these disorders are characterized by varying degrees of:

•Impairment in communication skills and social interactions
•Restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.

Symptoms of Rett SyndromePeople who develop Rett syndrome initially go through a period of normal development that lasts between 6 and 18 months. After that, autism-like symptoms begin to appear. The little girl's mental and social development regresses -- she no longer responds to her parents and pulls away from any social contact. If she has been talking, she stops; she cannot control her feet; she wrings her hands. Some of the problems associated with Rett syndrome can be treated. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can help with problems of coordination, movement, and speech.

Causes of Rett SyndromeScientists have discovered that a mutation in the sequence of a single gene can cause Rett syndrome. This discovery may help doctors slow or stop the progression of the syndrome. It may also lead to methods of screening for Rett syndrome. This would enable doctors to treat -- and thus improve the quality of life of -- these children much sooner.

You can see then why Autism is referred to as an, "Umbrella Term". Autism has so many different forms, different level of severity, different criteria - also, different abilities, different gifts, and different delays. All forms, in my opinion, have their strengths but also have their obvious challenges. The difficult part is watching your child develop typically - then something happens. You know what that, "something" is, but you just can't put a name on it - because you have seen it before, and know it all too well(Owen|), but because know you can see all the different types and a couple of them are so close, and my 2 boys are different in so many ways - we are lost.

It is also not fair to say one form is better than the other, a parent to a child with Classic Autism may look at a child with Aspergers, that unlike their child, they can talk - but do they know that even if this child can talk, they have severe tantrums when their routine is changed in anyway? As parents to children with Autism, we all have a common understanding we are all in this together, and we know the wait lists, the therapies we pray will work, and the ones we see fail.

Going through this for the second time, I won't lie - its not easier, its different. I feel like it is circa February 2010 and we are reliving it all. The difference this time, we have a map - with Owen, we only had a flashlight.

-Vanessa oxox

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