Pervasive Developmental Disorder – PDD Counseling & Therapy Services in Orlando, East Orlando, Lake Mary, Winter Park & Clermont Florida FL

PDD Pervasive Developmental Delay

What is “PDD?” Translated, it means “Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.” This diagnostic category allows physicians, counselors and therapists to communicate that “something” is wrong, but it is unclear as to what is actually wrong. Sometimes, a label of PDD can be a blessing. If the child’s medical or therapeutic issues can be cleared up by age six, then the child can avoid a potentially more negative label, i.e. “Autistic.”

Counseling or Therapy for Pervasive Developmental Disorder in Orlando and Central Florida
Symptoms of PDD – What are the Signs?

PDD equals “we don’t know what’s wrong.”  The child may be delayed in the following areas:
Ø Gross motor (Sit, stand, walk run)
Ø Fine motor (eat, draw, play, get dressed)
Ø Language (speaking, using body language, gestures, asking for what he wants)
Ø Cognitive (learning, problem solving, remembering)
Ø Social (interacting with others, not responding to the feelings of others, missing non-verbals)

PDD is a general category requiring more testing and exploration. Examples of pathways for help include; your child’s Pediatrician, Pediatric Neurologist, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Developmental Pediatricians, Developmental Psychologists, and Developmental Psychiatrists. Some utilize take a more holistic or wellness approach and they access alternative medicine. Children are tested for “heavy metals” while others are tested for dietary allergies, i.e. allergies to wheat, gluten and casein. As you can see, it is not always clear which direction to pursue after receiving this diagnosis.

Benefits of Counseling or Therapy For Caregivers
Having something wrong with your child, especially not knowing what it is, can be extremely stressful. Caregivers may become isolated because their child is “different,” has intense tantrums, and difficulty with transitions. Because of symptoms like these, they do not get together with other people as much, and frequently find little support in their family and friends. Caregiver’s adult relationships may become strained as others have strong opinions about what they think you ought to do with your child (i.e. “You need more discipline.” “You need to put him on the Gluten free diet.” “He’ll be fine, there’s nothing wrong with him.”) Differences of opinion may even arise between parents, and each may begin to feel isolated and alone in their journey. Your counselor is trained in providing empathy and has resources to help you.  She can also provide you with support, encouragement, and a place to share your journey.

Counseling Options and Benefits of Therapy For Children
Your child may crave attention and unconditional acceptance.  Play Therapy can be effective in allowing him or her to express herself. She may be able to communicate more clearly with a trained professional than on  her own. The counselor will also have a good idea about developmental stages, and be able to better pin point which other professions could assist your child.  Total Life Counseling has a referral list for multiple professions which may benefit your child.

How long does counseling take?
Some parents enjoy regular weekly appointments in order to share the latest developments in their child’s progress. Others prefer less frequent visits, saving the most significant issues/changes for discussion. Still other prefer more frequent visits because they also need to work on their marriage and communication. Recommendation: set goals at the beginning of your counseling. Setting goals helps you track where you are in the process. As you achieve your goals, you will know when counseling may end.

Additional information about Pervasive Developmental Disorder PDD:
Many ask if the PDD diagnosis is “good” or “bad.” I would say that it is neither. I believe the answer to that question depends on our perception of the label. Think about the answers to the following two questions: How does the PDD diagnosis affect my child? And; How does the PDD diagnosis affect his medical care (insurance coverage)? Personally, my husband and I thought the PDD diagnosis was benign. Of course we preferred no need for any diagnosis, but “PDD-NOS” was acceptable to us. We did not see this as potentially career ending for him. We held out hope that our son’s issues could be treated and healed thus avoiding the need for any additional diagnoses when he was older. (Please note: When a child turn six years of age, he or she can no longer retain the PDD diagnosis. The child must be placed into another diagnostic category.)

Within this generation, professionals notice a seemingly incredible increase in PDD diagnoses. (Please see this flyer for more information about SPD). More research needs to be done to answer the question of “why” our nation is witnessing this incredible rise in PDD.

Written by Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC
Laura is a licensed Counselor and the parent of a special needs child who was diagnosed with PDD at age two and a half. Laura is very familiar with the resources for PDD in Greater Orlando.

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