How Do I Know If My Child Has PDD-NOS? Autism Checklist:

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What is PDD NOS?

If you are asking “how do I know if my child has PDD-NOS?” you probably have some idea of what the diagnosis means. The acronym PDD stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and all disorders on the autistic spectrum (PPD-NOS, autism, Asperger’s syndrome) are considered PDDs.

The acronym NOS stands for “Not Otherwise Specified” - which means that children with PDD-NOS share some of the same symptoms as others on the autistic spectrum, but do not meet the criteria for true autism or Asperger’s syndrome. For example, a child with PDD-NOS may meet all of the other criteria for Asperger’s syndrome except for the fact that children with Asperger’s syndrome only lack language skills in social areas, whereas PDD-NOS child may lack language skills in all areas.

The following three sections list questions that you can use as a checklist to see if your child may have PDD-NOS.

How Do I Know if My Child has PDD-NOS? Social Interaction

  • Does your child turn away or look away in order to avoid eye contact?
  • Does your child seem to prefer solitary play rather than social play, and seem uninterested in making friends?
  • Does your child rarely smile or point to objects in order to draw your attention to them?
  • Does your child only seem to interact with you in order to receive something, but not in order to communicate? Does your child seem to treat you as a robot rather than a person during these interactions?
  • Does your child seem to lack proper facial expressions?
  • Does your child seem unnerved by physical contact, and yet unable to respect personal boundaries?
  • Does your child have strange body posture, especially when communicating with others?


  • Does your child repeat words or phrases over and over again (Echolalia)?
  • Does your child have difficulty using personal pronouns correctly, saying the word “you” instead of “I”? Does your child talk about him or herself in the third person?
  • Does your child seem unable to respond properly to conversations? Does he or she have a hard time recognizing when someone wants to start a conversation?
  • Does your child rarely use gestures in order to get a point across?
  • Does your child avoid pretend play, or seem to not understand what it entails?
  • Does your child take statements literally, including those that obviously contain a sarcastic or joking tone?
  • Does your child often make up words in order to communicate?

Behavior and Interests

  • Does your child play with toys in an unusual way? For example, lining up the toys in a particular order over and over again?
  • Does your child perseverate (stim)? This might include flapping hands in front of his or her face, saying the same words over and over again, spinning around in circles, or flicking fingers obsessively.
  • Does your child eat only foods with a specific texture, or substances that are inedible?
  • Is your child extremely upset by schedule changes?
  • Does your child seem to be unable to feel pain?
  • Does your child tantrum for no apparent reason?


This post is part of the series: Resources for Children with PDD

Children with PDD have many unique characteristics and needs. This series will discuss these needs and how to fill them effectively.

  1. How Do I Know If My Child has PDD-NOS?
  2. The Best Social Games for Children with PDD
  3. Methods of Teaching Social Skills to PDD Boys and Girls
  4. Top Five Specific Behavior Interventions for PDD