Explanation of Aspergers vs. autism vs. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified


Well-Known Member
My won Sonic is now 21. When he was very young, he was quite impaired, although always appeared social, even before he could talk. He would pull us and point. He always had a sense of humor, an animated face, and learned to read by rote at age two. Yet he babbled more than spoke until age four and a half. His diagnosis was Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified.

Today, to the untrained eye, he looks a little shy as he is kind of still timid about full eye contact, although he is much better. Many people assume he has ADHD because he fidgets a lot (this is anxiety). He still does not like to try new things, but he will without a meltdown. He lives alone and is doing great. Due to early intervention, hard work on his part and his own unwillingness to give up, he lives a fruitfull, full life and is a very happy, kind, caring young man. It can happen.

Notice that in this video, which I find very good, there is no talk of ASDers hurting others or animals or refusing to behave. There are ASDers with co-morbid disorders however. Sonic is lucky that the only other disorder he has been connected to is ADHD. medications made him crazy so he deals with it.

To this day, it is hard to have a give and take conversation with Sonic unless it is about his obsessions. It's not that he can't speak. He actually speaks like a Professor with a huge vocabulary...lol. He also has a wonderful sense of humor (this stereotype is so untrue...that ASDers don't get humor...most seem to). But he will monologue at you more than give and receive and will answer with one word answers unless it is one of his obsessive interests, in which he can go on and on and on! He likes to socialize with the friends he has known for long periods of time, but also likes to be alone and do his own thing. Unlike some ASDers, Sonic never had physical delays and is pretty coordinated and enjoys sports, as long as he knows his teammates well. He walked on time and could do flips on our trampoline by age three! He is good at bowling and baseball and soccer.

LIke many autism-ers, he is picky about what he eats and will gag on green vegetables and even throw up!! His bad diet, which we have no control over, has made him obese and we hope one day he'll care about this. Right now it doesn't slow him down and he doesn't care. He does not have "typical" interests as far as hanging at malls or meeting girls for dating, but some ASDers do. He has younger interests, but an average IQ. Thus, the pervasive developmental not otherwise specified diagnosis (Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified) still fits to a "T." He is still growing and still behind emotionally, which is part of the disorder, no matter how smart you are.

We have had a lot of discussion about autism spectrum disorder of late. I think this video nails it, based on what I've seen in my parents of autistic kids group and what our neuropsychologist from Mayo told us. Enjoy! Hope it helps somebody understand what this disorder is.

Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Thank you so much MidewestMom!!!! I hope one day your son does lose the weight ( its hard for me too ) but I didn't know know they can be picky eaters. Diagnoses are so hard Im finding out. Im glad Sonic was doing so much when he was younger and hopefully he continues that now!


Active Member
I haven't been here in a while, life is a bit complicated. But it is interesting to see how our kids are going. difficult child 3 will be 21 in a few months' time. He also is immature in his social aspects, no interest in girls yet that we have seen. He's made some friends on line (male) who I think have confused him further about his sexuality.

Diet and weight - difficult child 3 is a stick. mother in law is always fussing about how thin he is, and how pale (typical gamer complexion). We have got him to eat a wider variety of foods (as long as we avoid the textures he hates) by getting him to taste them and tell us what he likes and doesn't like about them. Creamy textures have been a problem for him, but we've managed to expand his repertoire there too. He still won't have cream, but he will eat bechamel sauce now, and will tolerate butter cream on cakes. easy child 2/difficult child 2 is fussy about food too, won't eat anything with 'bits' in it. Although she doesn't have an official diagnosis of Asperger's (other than 'borderline') her diet is far worse. She also was a stick until she had a baby. Now she's got baby weight, not helped by poor diet.

As for Asperger's and hurting others - I have seen it happen, usually as reaction. But we've also had cases of criminal attack being linked to the person having Asperger's. A lot of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) support networks in Australia have become very upset with the media reporting of this, because often the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis is not an official one, or is unconfirmed. I think the media reporting is also due to poor understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). For example, a certain mass murderer in Australia who appeared to be remorseless and conscienceless was claimed to be Aspie. But with the information that came out, the guy had a lot of other problems too, his social inappropriateness was more down to sociopathy. His name doesn't get mentioned and he will never be released.