Speech Therapy

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder – An Overview

Childhood disintegrative disorder is also called the Heller’s syndrome. In this disorder, children develop normally till they turn 2-4 years old, but after that they exhibit a harsh loss of communication as well as social skills. This disorder is similar to autism. Both the disorders belong to the group of disorders called autism spectrum disorders or pervasive developmental disorders. Also, both disorders include normal development in childhood followed by severe loss of motor, play, social and language skills. Read on to know more about childhood disintegrative disorder.

This disintegrative disorder usually happens later than autism. Also, it results in a more dramatic and severe loss of skills. Additionally, this disorder is rare when compared to autism. The mode of treatment for correcting this disorder includes a combination of behavior therapy, medications and various other approaches.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder – An Overview

Description of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

This disorder was first described by an Austrian educator, Thomas Heller in 1908. This is a complex disorder which can affect various areas of the child’s development. Also, the disorder is designated to the group of pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). In addition, this is far more common and better known form of autism.

Earlier this disorder was considered to be a strictly medical disorder. Also, many believed that the disorder had known medical causes. On the contrary, after extensive research, no specific neurological or medical cause was found which could account for the incidence of childhood disintegrative disorder.

Hence, the disorder was described in the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1994. This manual is a standard reference point used by mental health professionals in Canada and the United States. The exact cause of childhood disintegrative disorder is yet unknown but extensive research work is going on to find out the primary reason.

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