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Patient-Centered Guides
August 1999

Pervasive Developmental Disorders Diagnoses Soar 1,975% since 1987

What are Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs)?

PDDs are a range of neurological conditions that adversely affect a person's speech and communication, emotional growth, socialization, and physical capabilities. PDDs range from Asperger's syndrome (at the less severe end) to autism. In the middle of this spectrum are the most frequently diagnosed PDDs: PDD-NOS (not otherwise specified) and Atypical PDD. Children with these diagnoses meet some, but not all, of the criteria for autism.

What causes PDDs?

Bad parenting used to be blamed, but all of the pervasive developmental disorders are rooted in a complex combination of genetics, individual brain wiring, and environmental factors. Some researchers suspect viruses, vaccines, pollution or metabolic problems in the increasing number of cases.

"It's been three months since the diagnosis. I don't know if my boy is going to be okay, I don't know if I'm going to be okay, I don't know if this marriage is going to be okay. Some days I keep wishing this was a dream. And then I wake up, and it's so not-normal, and there's nobody among our old friends or at work who I can talk to about it." Peter, father of three-year-old Morgan, diagnosed with PDD-NOS

SEBASTOPOL, CA -- Pervasive Developmental Disorders are on the rise. The latest figures from the California Department of Developmental Disabilities report an astonishing 1,975% increase in children with PDD-NOS (and closely related PDDs) in the last 11 years, accompanied by a 272% rise in the number of children with autism. According to researchers, there may be many more people who fit the criteria of PDD-NOS or atypical PDD, but who remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Mitzi Waltz, a journalist, tireless researcher, and mother of an eight-year-old boy with PDD-NOS, has written Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Finding a Diagnosis and Getting Help to offer a unique view on treating, coping with and understanding PDDs. Waltz focuses on PDD-NOS which is a challenge for doctors to diagnose and parents to identify. Waltz provides parents and professionals with:

  • How to get a diagnosis, including preparing for a diagnostic interview in a medical, psychiatric or school setting
  • Treatment options, including medications, vitamins and supplements, sensory integration, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and behavior modification
  • Coping with diagnosis and treatment, including insurance and education plans
  • A thorough list of resources and support information
  • Stories from parents who have a child with a PDD

Unfortunately, there is no cure for any of the PDDs, but by writing the only complete book on the subject, Waltz has empowered parents of children who struggle with this neurological condition. It provides necessary tools for making informed decisions.

About the Author

Mitzi Waltz is a Portland, OR-based freelance writer who has covered technology, health and medicine for publications ranging from Parenting to Covert Action Quarterly. Seven years of trying to solve the puzzle of her son's illness has called on her research skills and has brought her into contact with top researchers in the field.

Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Finding a Diagnosis and Getting Help
by Mitzi Waltz
$24.95, 584 pages, paperback
ISBN: 1-56592-530-0

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