June 27, 2001

Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Young Children

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Pediatrics, Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities (Drs Hyman and Davidson), and Obstetrics and Gynecology (Dr Rodier), University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY.

JAMA. 2001;285(24):3141-3142. doi:10.1001/jama.285.24.3141

There is much concern about whether the prevalence of pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs), sometimes referred to as autistic spectrum disorders, is increasing.1 No study is likely to answer that question because the last 20 years have seen dramatic changes in the diagnostic criteria, an increase in public awareness of autism and related disorders, and sweeping changes in the types and availability of therapeutic and educational services. However, problems with determining whether prevalence of the PDDs is increasing should not serve to distract from the question that can be answered—ie, what is the prevalence of PDDs now.

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