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Childhood Disintegrative Disorder Symptoms

(Also Known As: Heller’s Syndrome Symptoms, Disintegrative Psychosis Symptoms, Autism Symptoms, Mental Retardation Symptoms, Aspergers Symptoms)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What are the Symptoms of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder?

The age a child begins to see deterioration in skills happens between three and four and up to age 10. Although, symptoms may occur gradually, it can abruptly arise over a period of six to nine months. Like autism, which resembles it, the child who has childhood disintegrative disorder begins to see unexplained changes in behavior such as the following:

  • 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

Children with disintegrative disorder show symptoms of loss of communication, social, and motor skills. Their ability to communicate declines such as: delay in speech, starting or continuing a conversation, repeating use of language, or even stop speaking.

They also withdraw from interaction with their peers. They will lack social or emotional reciprocity like failure to share, recognize, understand and respond to other people’s feelings and communications. Children with CDD may also perform repetitive activities, which will be difficult for them to change or move from one activity to the other.

Based on the Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, almost all children with CDD lose speech and social skills. Approximately 90% of children with CDD lose self-help skills like toilet training, feeding, and washing their selves, and about the same number develop non-specific over activity. Although this deterioration will stop, they cannot recover or get back the skills that were gone. 6

If you have observed that your child has lost some or is starting to lose some of the acquired skills like language, social, motor, play, thinking, or ability to help themselves such as toilet training and feeding; you must call your provider and discuss this matter.

Could You Have Childhood Disintegrative Disorder?

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Asperger's Syndrome – autism, impaired social interaction, restricted behavior, atypical use of language, clumsiness
Autism – impaired social interaction and communication, delayed brain development, repetitive behaviors, restricted interests
Rett's Disorder – absence of verbal skills, cognitive impairment, delayed motor skills