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October 2011



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The Special Learner


October 24, 2011, 4:28am

MANILA, Philippines — Question: My daughter has been seen by a developmental pediatrician and was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder — not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS, including atypical autism).

She had months of session with an occupational therapist and she did improve. I enrolled her in a daycare center in our area and the teacher described her as this: may sariling mundo attitude because she likes to roam around the classroom and talk by herself. I’m now worried because next year, I’m planning to enrol her in the same school as my eldest son and she will probably be left behind and will not be able to follow other students of her age. Will she ever have a chance to be enrolled in a regular school, or she should just really be enrolled in a school handling special education? – Worried Mom

Teacher Tess says: Pervasive Developmental Disorders refer to a group of disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization, imaginative activity, verbal and nonverbal communication skills.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM -IV), five conditions fall under this category:

1. Autistic disorder

2. Rett’s disorder

3. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

4. Asperger’s Disorder

5. Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, or PDD-NOS

Education is the primary tool for PDD-NOS and your child is on the right path as early childhood intervention services are given to her such as occupational therapy. However, please take note that the most important elements of a quality educational program for your child must have the following. By working closely with the school and teachers, parents can do even more to help their children with the crucial skills for school success.

*Structured, consistent, predictable classes with schedules and assignments posted and clearly explained. Information should be presented visually as well as verbally

*Opportunities to interact with non-disabled peers who can model appropriate language, social, and behavioral skills

*A focus on improving a child’s communications skills using tools such as communication devices

*Reduced class size and appropriate seating arrangement to help the child with PDDNOS avoid distraction

*Modified curriculum based on the particular child’s strengths and weaknesses

*A combination of positive behavioral supports and other educational interventions

*Frequent and adequate communication among teachers, parents, and the other related service providers

*A knowledgeable teacher

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