Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

Introduction: Childhood Disintegrative Disorder


According to recent studies a lot of the mental health disorders have their developmental roots to a person’s childhood most of the time. In our society there are many parents unaware of the problems children, but with the rise of newfound mental health awareness I hope It can be prevented. This current article is related to a developmental disorder in children, so I wish this will provide some use or help in any way possible.


Childhood disintegrative otherwise known as Heller’s syndrome or called disintegrative psychosis, is a rare condition of developmental problems in linguistic, social, functional, and motor skills. Thomas Heller was the first describe childhood disintegrative disorder in 1908. It is a complex disorder that affects major factors in the child’s development stage. It is grouped with pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) and is also related to the better known and more common disorder, autism.

Causes: Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

While still under research the Heller’s syndrome has no known no accurate cause. In some of the case reports, the CCD(Childhood Disintegrative Disorder) occurs all of a sudden and the symptoms stop after a short while, like in about 3 to 4 months and in other cases they prevail for a lifetime in spite of treatment.

The diagnostic methods for other pervasive developmental disorder can be used for identification. There are also genetic possibilities for the Heller’s syndrome.

Other kinds of disorders have CDD as an onset. A case of childhood schizophrenia, Brain tumour, any kind of poisoning, sclerosis have shown symptoms similar to CDD. The symptoms start showing up from the age of 3 up to the age of ten.

So if a child shows the upcoming symptoms then an EEG to show the neurobiology of the brain could help indicate, as all children affected with pervasive development disorders show abnormal brain activity.

Symptoms: Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

  • The afflicted children can show:
  • Over Expressive language skills
  • Lack of language itself
  • Decreased Social skills and self-skills
  • Poor Bowel and bladder control
  • Playing skills
  • Motor functional skills affected
  • Difficulty in Social interaction
  • Communication problems
  • Repetitive interests or maybe obsessions

As said before the child would show no symptoms or even a hint until the age of 2 and from the age of 3 to 10 they show the symptoms:

  • The symptoms may occur suddenly or be gradual.
  • It can be intense enough that children are aware themselves of the regression, and will communicate in some way to their parents.
  • Usually parents and guardians who have not previously noticed abnormalities in terms of language and other skills can easily notice them.
  • There may exist some difficulty in speaking skills which will be obvious to the care giver.
  • There may be social and emotional problems, like a child previously happy to some habits may become averse to that thing, like physical contact as hugging and such.
  • Some of the children tell or seem to be reacting to hallucinations which may prove difficult to classify as children sometimes tend to have imaginary friends.

Prevention and Treatment:

Treatment will be similar to treatment for autism. The emphasis is usually on early stages, mostly behavioural-based, and based on the children specific needs. The treatment to be exact may differ from every child as different children exhibit different symptoms. One may show lack of language skills, other might show a social interaction difficulty and another may show both of it.

So all the Possible therapies for CDD include language therapy, an occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy (for the lack of motor skills and other senses) and social skills development. Much like ASD, there are no permanent pharmacological therapies specific for CDD, but depending on a child’s symptoms, some medications like antipsychotics or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may help treat children that show behavioural symptoms.

Parent involvement and guidance, education and help from teachers can prove integral to any form of treatment success for a child. Though therapies with licensed professionals are compulsory and a necessity, the child will spend obviously more time with their primary caregivers. To best, compliment that what is being taught and learned in a therapy, a child must also be appreciated and taken care of in their homes.

The medical community are still aiming to work to broaden its understanding of autistic disorders to provide appropriate and helpful therapies and other such aids to those who suffer from them. Great understanding of the physiological founding and genetic factors of such development disorders surely help to establish effective treatments, medications and preventative therapy. While CDD is a rare and totally different type of autism spectrum disorder, it also to impact the lives of children, parents in similar ways and continues to be treated comparably.


Let’s take a look at what we saw through in this article.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, also known as Heller’s syndrome is a rare pervasive developmental disorder. This condition affects children from the age of 3 years or at least two years of development without issue. The symptoms will be shown from 3 years to the age of 10. Childhood disintegrative disorder or CDD is listed under autism spectrum disorders but it can be significantly different.

The symptoms of CDD can severe and obvious, like complete loss of language, affected social interaction and social skills and other symptoms related to autism. Researchers are still searching for the cause of this disorder, it was thought that CDD was a medical disorder with identifiable medical causes.

Eventually, researchers realized that the same medical or neurological cause is not always the factor that leads to a CDD. Therapies like behaviour therapy, speed therapy and other related based on symptoms will be taken.


“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
— Frederick Douglass


As the wise quote says, children are the men and women of a bright future and it is our responsibility to help them in every way possible.  They should be listened to and respected. A person is a person, no matter how small and their feelings are the same no matter what it is.

What do you think?

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