Development Disorders are disorders that occur at some stage in a child's development, often retarding the development. These may include psychological or physical disorders. They can be grouped into specific developmental disorder and pervasive developmental disorders. It is sometimes equated with developmental disability
The cause of pervasive development disorders is not known, but researchers are looking for answers. Some studies suggest that PDDs are caused by a problem with the nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Studies currently in progress are examining the structure and function of the brain in people with autism for clues that may help us better understand these conditions, as well as how to treat and/or prevent them.
Because children with pervasive development disorders have a range of symptoms and abilities, a plan of therapy must be developed with the child's specific needs in mind. The treatment plan -- or more appropriately, a program of intervention -- will address the child's needs at home and at school. For that reason, intervention planning is a cooperative effort of the parents, health care providers, teachers, and others who may be needed to provide services, such as counselors, social workers and occupational, physical, or speech therapists. The plan aims to promote better socializing and communication, and reduce behaviors that can interfere with learning and functioning.
A plan of care for a child with a PDD may include:
- Special education: Education is structured to meet the child's unique educational needs.
- Behavior modification: This may include strategies for supporting positive behavior by the child.
- Speech, physical or occupational therapy: These therapies are designed to increase the child's functional abilities.
There are no drugs to treat the PDDs themselves. Medications may be used, however, treating specific symptoms such as anxiety (nervousness), hyperactivity, and behavior may result in injury.