Speech Therapy

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder – Diagnosis and Treatment

Childhood disintegrative disorder is also called Heller’s syndrome. In this condition, the child develops normally till the age of 2-4, after which he/she demonstrates a severe loss of communication, social and various other skills. Read on to know more about the diagnosis and treatment of childhood disintegrative disorder. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder – An Overview

Diagnosis of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

This disorder is usually diagnosed when the affected child’s parents consult a pediatrician or speech language pathologist about his/her loss of skills. First, the doctor will conduct a medical examination for the child to eliminate the chances of epilepsy. Also, the child’s head might be x-rayed to rule out any brain trauma or head trauma. After these procedures, the child is referred to a psychiatrist. They will then make a differential diagnosis for the condition.

A child must exhibit regression or loss in specific areas to be correctly diagnosed with childhood disintegrative disorder. Most frequently, loss occurs in at least three areas. The loss in specific areas include:

  • Bladder or bowel control

  • Motor skills

  • Play with peers

  • Self-help or social skills

  • Spoken language (expressive language skills)

  • Language understanding (receptive language skills)

Treatment for Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

There is no absolute cure for this disorder. This is basically treated similar to autism treatment. The various options include:

  • Medications – No drugs are available which will treat this condition directly. Although, sever behavior problems like repetitive movements and aggression can be successfully controlled by drugs for depression or anxiety. Even antipsychotic drugs can be used. To control the epileptic seizures, anticonvulsant medications can be used.

  • Behavior Therapy – This treatment method is employed by occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists and psychologists as well as caregivers, teachers and parents. These therapy programs are specially designed to help the child to learn self-care, social and language skills.

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