Disintegrative psychosis; Heller syndrome
Definition of Childhood disintegrative disorder
Childhood disintegrative disorder is a condition in which children develop normally through age 3 or 4. Then, over a few months, children lose language, motor, social, and other skills that they already learned.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The cause of childhood disintegrative disorder is unknown, but it has been linked to brain and nervous system problems. A child who is affected loses:
Signs and tests
The health care provider will determine whether the child has this disorder, or a similar condition such as childhood schizophrenia or pervasive developmental disorder (autism).
Treatment is the same as for autistic disorder (autism) because the two disorders are similar.
The outlook for this disorder is poor. Most children with the condition have an impairment similar to that of children with severe autism by age 10.
Benjamin W. Van Voorhees, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/13/2010