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Childhood Disintegrative Disorder


Childhood disintegrative disorder is a disorder in which child develops normally after the age of 2 years, say around 3-4 years. In other words, it is condition that is characterized by late onset of the necessary social skills. Due to this disorder, a child faces delays in development of intellectual and social skills, language and normal behaviour. People often get confused between autism and childhood disintegrative disorder as former condition is also related with late onset of the child development. However, both the conditions are same and have trivial differences. In the condition, there is a great possibility that children may get affected from permanent loss of social, cognitive, language skills. Heller’s syndrome is the alternative name of the condition.

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Although, the actual cause of the disorder is not yet known, doctors believe that the condition is the outcome of neurological problems. Other than this, the researchers also believe that autoimmune repose and abnormal genes also contribute in causing the condition. Childhood disintegrative disorder is commonly associated with conditions like:

  • Tuberculosis Sclerosis
  • Lipid storage diseases
  • Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis

A less number of children get affected from the condition because it is a rare disorder.

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Signs & Symptoms

Those children who are affected from the childhood disintegrative disorder mainly show symptoms like:

  • Loss of acquired skills
  • Loss of social and motor skills
  • Lack of receptive or expressive language
  • Lack of spoken languages
  • Lack of communication and social interaction
  • Stereotyped patterns of behaviours, activities and interests
  • Lack of impairment or normal function
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There is no prevention of the disorder

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Behaviour Therapy Psychotherapy

It is important to disclose that it is difficult to cure the childhood disintegrative disorder completely and easily. Long term care is required in order to reap the desired benefits. Medications and behaviour therapy are two treatments that are given to children.

Although, none of the medications directly treat childhood disintegrative disorder, acute behaviour problems like repetitive movements, aggression can be controlled through medications. For controlling epileptic seizures, anticonvulsant drugs are recommended by health professionals. Behaviour therapy programs are designed in order to make children learn languages, social and communication skills, self-care skills, etc. These programs basically aim at encouraging the desired behaviour and discouraging the problematic behaviours. Continuous support of not only psychologist or physical therapist is required, teachers, friends, parents’ support is also equally important.

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