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Symptoms of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

Tammi Reynolds, BA & Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

The final pervasive developmental disorder diagnosis is called Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. This is a very rare disorder that makes itself known between the ages of two and ten years old. Affected children display sudden behavioral regression and loss of previously mastered skills in at least two of the following areas: communication, play, social or motor skills. Criteria for childhood disintegrative disorder are as follows (quoted from the DSM-IV-TR):

A. Apparently normal development for at least the first 2 years after birth as manifested by the presence of age-appropriate verbal and nonverbal communication, social relationships, play, and adaptive behavior.

B. Clinically significant loss of previously acquired skills (before age 10 years) in at least two of the following areas:

(1) expressive or receptive language
(2) social skills or adaptive behavior
(3) bowel or bladder control
(4) play
(5) motor skills

C. Abnormalities of functioning in at least two of the following areas:

(1) qualitative impairment in social interaction (e.g., impairment in nonverbal behaviors, failure to develop peer relationships, lack of social or emotional reciprocity)

(2) qualitative impairments in communication (e.g., delay or lack of spoken language, inability to initiate or sustain a conversation, stereotyped and repetitive use of language, lack of varied make-believe play)

(3) restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, including motor stereotypes and mannerisms

D. The disturbance is not better accounted for by another specific pervasive developmental disorder or by schizophrenia.