PDD-Pervasive Developmental Disorder MY STORY
This story is about my son’s disorder. How I came to find out he had this disability, what
has been done to help, and also how I have felt through this whole process.
Early 2004, I was approached by my son’s pre-school teacher as she was concerned
Lachlan was not doing so well in the academic and social side of things. She thought it
was a good idea, that we have him assessed.
At this time, I was like “Oh god, what’s wrong with my son?” It was a huge blow to a
mother’s heart, to hear things were not so good.
The assessment went ahead, although could not be fully done, as Lachlan did not want
to co-operate. I’m not sure if Lachlan found it too hard to comprehend, but they couldn’t
finish the whole test. They thought the best for Lachlan would be to attend an S.E.D.U,
which is a Special Education Department Unit. This would help with his learning and
comprehension of learning and daily happenings that would occur at school and in his
life. He would attend the S.E.D.U for the 1st 2 days of the week, and also still attend
pre-school the last 2 days of the week.
Children also attending the S.E.D.U would be children with Down’s syndrome, Autism
So…. Lachlan attended the SEDU in 2004 and 2005. He repeated a 2nd year at preschool.
Also in this time, we were seeing many different specialist’s through the public health
system. Speech assessments, hearing tests, blood tests etc. I knew Lachlan was NOT a
quick learner, and maybe he was a little behind but I never thought he would have a
disorder or disability.
Near the end of 2005, it was decided that Lachlan would need extra help at school, but
diagnosing him would be hard. He did not have a certain number of characteristics, of
just 1 thing. A decision by the public health system would be to let him go to main
stream schooling and see where it went from there.
Mid-year 2006, Year 1, I would have to get a letter from his teacher, and certain
questionnaires filled out about how Lachlan was doing. Well his learning was no going
so well, and the Guidance Officer was involved. This was such a long process, my
husband and I had been dealing with this since early 2004! And finally we were hoping
to get some answers.
Thanks to a FANTASTIC teacher and a WONDERFUL guidance officer, we finally came to
a diagnosis which was Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
PDD is a term referring to a couple of disorders characterized by: impairments in social
interaction, impairment in verbal and nonverbal communication, and a restrictive,
stereotypic pattern of behaviours. There is a large amount of differences in symptoms
among people with PDD and again a large amount of differences in how severe these
symptoms are. There are a few disorders that fall into this category these are Autism,
Asperger's Syndrome, Rett's Syndrome, etc. Symptoms of PDD can include
communication problems such as:
• Trouble using and understanding language
• Having trouble with relating to people, objects, and events
• Playing unusually with toys and other objects
• Finding changes in routine or familiar surroundings hard
• Repeating body movements and/or behaving the same over and over again
Kids with PDD have a diverse range of abilities, intelligence and behaviours. Some kids
do not speak, some will speak a small amount, and some kids have fairly normal
language development. Kids with this usually have repetitive play and social skills which
are obvious. This can be diagnosed the best way with a multi disciplinary assessment.
This involves your child having tests with a number of professionals, who will then give
you the information you need to decide about programs and treatments that are best for
you to use for you own child..
Treating PDD Early intervention is important in treating a PDD. Even though there is
not a cure, there is definitely hope for Kids with these disorders. Identifying and starting
work with these kids early is the key to helping with this. The main thing aimed for is to
maximize communication with kids with an autistic spectrum disorder. Therapy for
children with PDD should be done individually as each child's disorder is different and
has different needs. Some kids with these disorders do well in small classes with lots of
one-on-one attention. Others do well in standard classrooms with some kind of support.
The thing that is aimed for with treatment is to get kids with PDDs to a point where they
can be placed back in a mainstream classroom into a regular classroom. They may also
require special programs and support services, including speech and language therapy.
Helping Your Child Once you learn your child has a PDD, it's important to get help.
Because the needs of children with these disorders are different, you may want to set up
an individualized education plan (IEP) for your child. You'll want to incorporate social
skills and communication into the program, and most experts agree it should be highly
structured. Maximized speech and language intervention is important, as is the use of
behaviour modification and rewards to try to stop problem behaviours and to encourage
all types of communication. Encourage your child with hugs and praise, as well as
rewards that stimulate social interaction (like a trip to the park). If your child is in
school, talk with your child's teacher and try using some of the same rewards and
behavior modification techniques at home. That way, your child will get a consistent
message at home and at school.
Some information I have used was provided by:
www.kidshealth.org go into the parents section and type PDD in the search area
Since Lachlan has been diagnosed with this disorder, PDD.
Things are looking up and he is getting the extra help he needs. He is doing really well
with his reading, although he’s not at the normal standard he is improving in leaps and
bounds. He makes me very proud every time he accomplishes a very hard word. His
writing is beautiful, but to think back 2 years ago, he couldn’t even write!
He regularly attends The Attic, which is the Special Unit situated within his school. He
also gets extra help in class, One on One, which he really needs as he seems to cope
better this way. He also has Speech Therapy through the school as well.
The negative side to this is a lot of people don’t understand Lachlan until I explain his
disability. It makes it very hard, as you cannot see his disability. So people think
automatically that he is a NAUGHTY boy!
He does not have that many friends, which through my eyes is so very sad and
upsetting, but for Lachlan it’s just the norm and prefers to just play on his own.
It’s hard for him to comprehend some things. The Guidance Officer told me his brain is
like a filing cabinet, he looks for the answer in there, but has a lot of trouble finding what
file he put it into.
In the past 3 yrs, I felt a lot of emotions a mother could feel. Disappointment, failure as
a parent, sadness, stress and fear of what is yet to come. I am scared for my Lachlan,
and what he will have to endure in his life. By this I mean, people not understanding
him, him being seen as stupid or arrogant and most of all him not being accepted. In my
own words the best way I explain Lachlan is, he is JUST DIFFERENT!
It has been a long road….but I cannot change what has happened, but I CAN make it
better. I will do everything in my power, to see he gets the extra help he needs. I will
never let him feel stupid, isolated from others, misunderstood and most of all unloved.
I hope this has helped anyone out there, who may have a child with PDD OR knows a
child with PDD.
Thanks for reading my advice