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Symptoms of PDD range in type and intensity, and no two people will have the same symptoms. Symptoms generally affect speech, language, and communication skills; social skills; and repeated routines and behaviors. PDD symptoms can manifest in several ways, for example, an inability to understand common gestures, such as waving goodbye, or not noticing when other people are talking.

An Introduction to PDD Symptoms

Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) covers a wide range of behaviors and abilities. People who have PDD, like all people, differ greatly in the way they act and what they can do. No two people with PDD will have the same symptoms. A PDD symptom might be mild in one person and severe in another person.
Some examples of PDD symptoms include problems with:
  • Speech, language, and communication
  • Social skills
  • Repeated routines and behaviors
  • Development.

PDD Symptoms Related to Speech, Language, and Communication

About 40 percent of children with PDD do not talk at all. Others have echolalia, which is when they repeat back something that was said to them. The repeated words might be said right away or at a later time. For example, if you ask someone with a PDD, "Do you want some juice?" he or she will repeat "Do you want some juice?" instead of answering your question. Or a person might repeat a television ad heard sometime in the past.
People with PDD might not understand gestures such as waving goodbye. They might say "I" when they mean "you" or vice versa.
Other PDD symptoms related to speech, language, and communication can include:
  • Standing too close to the people they are talking to
  • Speaking with a flat-sounding voice
  • Inability to control how loudly or softly they talk
  • Sticking with one topic of conversation for an excessive amount of time
  • Talking a lot about something they really like, rather than having a back-and-forth conversation with someone
  • Speaking well and knowing a lot of words, but having a hard time listening to what other people say.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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