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Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is a condition in which children develop normally until age 3 or 4, but then demonstrate a severe loss of social, communication and other skills. Autism typically occurs at an earlier age than Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, but there's a more dramatic loss of skills with CDD and a greater likelihood of mental retardation.

Overall, the social, communicative, and behavioral features of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder resemble those of Autistic Disorder. Affected children have distinct qualitative impairments in social interaction and communication. In addition, restricted, repetitive, or stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities occur.

Motor loss of previously acquired skills also occurs (eg, child previously toilet trained now has accidents, child previously able to pedal a tricycle or draw shapes can no longer do so). Additional symptoms may include the onset of difficulty in the transition of waking from sleep. Social interactions become compromised (eg, aggressiveness, tantrums, withdrawal from peers), as does motor function, resulting in poor coordination and possible awkwardness.

Treatment for Childhood Disintegrative Disorder involves a combination of medications, behavior therapy and other approaches.