The Mayo Clinic defines Childhood Disinigrative Disorder (CDD) as a rare condition that affects children in that they develop normally for the first years of their life, but decline in communication, social, and other skills later in life. Also called Heller’s Syndrome, CDD is on the autism spectrum, however CDD is more severe in the fact that children suffering from this disorder regress severely, unlike autism. Another difference is that CDD can develop much later then autism does. Why children begin to show this disorder is not known at this time. CDD is so rare that not much research has been done on it as of yet.
To be diagnosed with CDD, the child needs to have lost significant skills in two or more categories. These categories include language, motor skills, social skills, play, and bowel and bladder control. These changes can happen suddenly within a few days or gradually over time. Children do develop at different rates, but any loss in functions is always a cause for alarm. If a child suffers a loss in any of the above mentioned skills, such as self-feeding or toilet training, a doctor needs to be contacted.
When visiting the doctor make a list of things to ask. Being prepared is the key. Bring all personal information on your child that you have access to. Videos of how the child interacts can be very helpful as well. Family history and how the child interacts with others is also important.
Bring in all medications the child is currently on, if any. Either write them down or just bring the bottles in. This includes anything over the counter such as supplements, herbs, and vitamins. If wished, bring another family member who is familiar with the child’s behaviors. Make a list of questions you have to ask the doctor so nothing is forgotten. Take a notebook along to write down any information given by the doctor.
The doctor will possibly run some tests to see if the child has CDD. Be prepared for these. These can include auditory, social skills, gross motor skills, and other tests. As always, if there are any concerns our doubts about a child’s progress or health, always consult a doctor. This disorder is considered a type of autism.