By Kim Stagliano
As expected, the mainstream media outlets who couldn't wait to announce that the Vaccine Court Special Masters found against three cases earlier this month, thus, "closing the door on the autism/vaccine debate forever" have said little to nothing about the current case, by the same court, which awarded a large judgement to a family for their child's vaccine-induced autism.
The diagnosis code selection is subjective. A PDD-NOS diagnosis can be a function of a doctor trying to soften the blow of "the A word" for a parent. It can also be based on geographic differences in terminology use, I've found. Not to mention the skill and experience of the diagnosing doctor and the honesty of the parents explaining their child's life at home. For those who say, "Oh Bailey Banks had PDD-NOS, that's not autism," here are a few definitions to review. Go ahead and submit a PDD-NOS code to your insurance company. See if they tell you, "That's not autism, so we'll cover the charges." What was your diagnosis experience like?
FROM AUTISM SOCIETY OF AMERICA
What is the difference between autism and PDD?
The term "PDD" is widely used by professionals to refer to children with autism and related disorders; however, there is a great deal of disagreement and confusion among professionals concerning the PDD label. Diagnosis of PDD, including autism or any other developmental disability, is based upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, Washington DC, 1994), and is the main diagnostic reference of mental health professionals in the United States.
According to the DSM-IV, the term "PDD" is not a specific diagnosis, but an umbrella term under which the specific diagnoses are defined.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (Pervasive Developmental Disorders)
What are Autism Spectrum Disorders?
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), also known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs), cause severe and pervasive impairment in thinking, feeling, language, and the ability to relate to others. These disorders are usually first diagnosed in early childhood and range from a severe form, called autistic disorder, through pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), to a much milder form, Asperger syndrome. They also include two rare disorders, Rett syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is a 'subthreshold' condition in which some - but not all - features of autism or another explicitly identified Pervasive Developmental Disorder are identified. PDD-NOS is often incorrectly referred to as simply "PDD." The term PDD refers to the class of conditions to which autism belongs. PDD is NOT itself a diagnosis, while PDD-NOS IS a diagnosis. The term Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS; also referred to as "atypical personality development," "atypical PDD," or "atypical autism") is included in DSM-IV to encompass cases where there is marked impairment of social interaction, communication, and/or stereotyped behavior patterns or interest, but when full features for autism or another explicitly defined PDD are not met.
It should be emphasized that this ''subthreshold'' category is thus defined implicitly, that is, no specific guidelines for diagnosis are provided. While deficits in peer relations and unusual sensitivities are typically noted, social skills are less impaired than in classical autism. The lack of definition(s) for this relatively heterogeneous group of children presents problems for research on this condition. The limited available evidence suggest that children with PDD-NOS probably come to professional attention rather later than is the case with autistic children, and that intellectual deficits are less common.
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.