First describe by kanner in 1943
A pervasive developmental disorder characterized by severe deficits in social interaction and communication, by an extremely limited range of activities and interests, and often by the presence of repetitive, stereotyped behaviours. Information from DSM-IV-TR, 2000
Pervasive Developmental Disorders are characterized by severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development: reciprocal social interaction skills, communication skills, or the presence of stereotyped behaviour, interests, and activities. The qualitative impairments that define these conditions are distinctly deviant relative to the individual’s developmental level or mental age. Information is contained here on Autistic Disorder, Rett’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. These disorders are usually evident in the first years of life and are often associated with some degree of Mental Retardation, which, if present, should be coded on Axis II. The Pervasive Developmental Disorders are sometimes observed with a diverse group of other general medical conditions (e.g., chromosomal abnormalities, congenital infections, structural abnormalities of the central nervous system). If such conditions are present, they should be noted on Axis III. Although terms like “psychosis” and “childhood schizophrenia” were once used to refer to individuals with these conditions, there is considerable evidence to suggest that the Pervasive Developmental Disorders are distinct from Schizophrenia (however, an individual with Pervasive Developmental Disorder may occasionally later develop Schizophrenia). Diagnostic Features
The essential features of Autistic Disorder are the presence of markedly abnormal or impaired development in social interaction and communication and a markedly restricted repertoire of activity and interests. Manifestations of the disorder vary greatly depending on the developmental level and chronological age of the individual. Autism Disorder is sometimes referred to as early infantile autism, childhood autism, or Kanner’s autism. The impairment in reciprocal social interaction is gross and sustained. There may be marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors (e.g., eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures and gestures) to regulate social interaction and communication (Criterion A1a). There may be failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level (Criterion A1b) that may take different forms at different ages. Younger individuals may have little or no interest in establishing friendships. Older individuals may have an interest in friendship but lack understanding of the conventions of social interaction. There may be a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., not showing, bringing, or pointing out objects they find interesting) (Criterion A1c). Lack of social or emotional reciprocity may be present (e.g., not actively participating in simple social play or games, preferring solitary activities, or involving others in activities only as tools or “mechanical” aids) (Criterion A1d). Often an individual’s awareness of others is markedly impaired. Individuals with this disorder may be oblivious to other children (including siblings), may have not concept of the needs of others, or may not notice another person’s distress. The impairment in communication is also marked and sustained and affects both verbal and nonverbal skills. There may be delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (Criterion A2a). In individuals who do speak, there may be marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others (Criterion A2b), or a stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language (Criterion A2c). There may also be a lack...
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