Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD), also known as Heller's Disorder, is a rather rare condition that has been described first in 1908. Children develop a condition similar to that of autism after several years of normal development (usually 2 to 4 years) but before the age of 10 years. They then become impaired in at least two of the following major functional areas: social, communication, restricted receptive language, or stereotyped movements. Though the age of onset is later, in the most severe cases, these children can resemble those with autism.The prevalence is believed to be 1 in 100,000 children. But it is possible that CDD is under diagnosed.
Like autism, CDD is four times more common in boys than girls.
Generally, those diagnosed with CDD have the following characteristics :
• Normal development in language understanding, speech, motor skills, and social skills for at least 2 years
• Loss of skills is usually around 3 to 4 years, but can happen as late as 10 years
• The loss may be gradual, but in some children occurs rapidly within a period of 9 months
• The onset may be manifested by anxiety, unprovoked anger or agitation
• Changes in behavior are followed by loss of language and communication, social and motor skills
• Regression in language from normal verbal skill to single word usage, and in some cases complete loss of ability to speak
• Withdrawal from social interaction
• Repetitive activities
• Transition from one activity to another difficult
For a child to be diagnosed with childhood disintegrative disorder, he or she must meet the criteria given in the DSM-5. CDD is diagnosed by a number of symptoms that develop between the ages of 4 to 10 years. The DSM lists the criteria for diagnosis.
Education and training for children with CDD is very similar to that for autism. The emphasis falls on early and intense educational interventions. Training should be is behavior-based and highly structured. Educating the parents so that they can support the child's treatments at home is usually part of the overall educational plan. Speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, social skills development, and sensory integration therapy may all be used according to the needs of the individual child