Friday, October 21, 2011

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

Children with Childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD) appear to develop normally for the first two years of life, but then lose skills in areas such as language, play, and bowel control and manifest impaired social interaction and communication associated with restrictive, repetitive, stereotyped behaviors.

This disease and autism are among several developmental disorders known as pervasive developmental disorders or autism spectrum disorders. Childhood disintegrative disorder is also known as Heller's syndrome after the Viennese educator, Theodor Heller, who first described the condition. Childhood disintegrative disorder is perhaps 10 times less common than more strictly defined autism.

It is a rare serious disorder in which a child older than age 3 stops developing normally and regresses to a much lower level of functioning, typically following a serious illness, such as an infection of the brain and nervous system. Childhood disintegrative disorder cannot be specifically treated or cured, and most children, particularly those who are severely retarded, need lifelong care.

Social and emotional development regress, resulting in impaired ability to relate with others. Social interactions become compromised (e.g., aggressiveness, tantrums, withdrawal from peers), as does motor function, resulting in poor coordination and possible awkwardness of gait.

Typically language, interest in the social environment, and often toileting and self-care abilities are lost, and there may be a general loss of interest in the environment. Children with CDD became uninterested in social interaction, and various unusual self-stimulatory behaviors became evident. Over several months, a child with this disorder will deteriorate in intellectual, social, and language functioning from previously normal behavior.


· Loss of social skills

· Loss of bowel and bladder control

· Loss of expressive or receptive language

· Loss of motor skills

· Lack of play

· Failure to develop peer relationships

· Impairment in nonverbal behaviors

· Delay or lack of spoken language

· Inability to start or sustain a conversation

Doctors sometimes confuse this rare disorder with late-onset autism because both conditions involve normal development followed by significant loss of language, social, play and motor skills.

Behavioral changes are followed by loss of communication, social, and motor skills. Behavioral impairments include the repetitive, stereotyped motions and rigid adherence to routines that are characteristic of autism. Behavior modification procedures may be quite useful. Behavior therapy programs may be designed to help your child learn or relearn language, social and self-care skills.

Treatment is the same for autistic disorder (autism) because of the similarity in the two disorders. Treatment can be very difficult and prolonged. Treatment of CDD involves both behavior therapy and medications.

Specific treatment for CDD will be determined by your child's physician based on your child's age, overall health and medical history. Treatment plans are individualized based on each child's symptoms and the level of severity.

Mark Huttenlocker, M.A. is a family therapist who works with parents of strong-willed, out-of-control teens and preteens. If your child is out-of-control and you're at your wits end, then feel free to use Mark as your own personal parent-coach. Get permanent solutions to your child's behavior problems within 15 seconds from now by visiting his website:

A Message from Mark-

"Dear Parents: For many years now I've been running a very successful "off-line" parent program, but I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted to reach out to parents worldwide and help them discover that there really is light at the end of the tunnel. That's when I came up with "Online" Parent Support (OPS). Since its launch in 2004, OPS has overwhelmed users and success rates have been phenomenal."

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