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How is Childhood Disintegrative Disorder Diagnosed?

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is commonly diagnosed when the parents/carers of achild notice the child's loss of previously acquired skills and as a result, contact their GP.

In general, the GP will perform a medical examination on the child to rule out any other medical conditions. If Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is suspected, the child will be referred to one or more specialists that may include a child psychiatrist, a neurologist or a paediatrician specialising in developmental and behavioural problems. Following a formal evaluation they will be able to make the differential diagnosis of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.

Assessment tests performed may include some or all of the following:

  • Full medical history examination - extensive interview assessing when developmental milestones were reached, and the age at which previously acquired skills were lost
  • Neurological examination - to assess any abnormalities in the individual's brain or nervous system
  • Genetic tests - any inherited family conditions or diseases
  • Communication and language tests
  • Lead screening - to assess for lead poisoning as this can damage the nervous system and lead to developmental delays or behavioural problems
  • Vision test
  • Behaviour inventory - occurrence of specific behaviours, for example repetitive movements, or social interaction and play skills
  • Developmental tests - performed to assess how the child's skills compare to other children of the same age
  • Hearing test
  • Tests which assess:
    • Large motor skills
    • Fine motor skills
    • Sensory skills
    • Play skills
    • Self-care skills
    • Cognitive skills

Below is the criteria used to assist with the diagnosis of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder:

  • Normal development for the first two years of life including verbal and non-verbal communication, social skills, motor, play and self-care.
  • Significant loss or regression of previously learned/acquired skills - which occurs before the age of 10, in a minimum of two of the following areas:
    • Expressive language - the ability to say words and sentences
    • Receptive language - the ability to understand verbal and non-verbal communication
    • Adaptive behaviour - social skills and self-care
    • Bladder and bowel control
    • Motor skills
    • Play skills
  • Lack or loss of normal function - occurring in at least two of the following areas:
    • Social interaction - this can cover a wide variety of problems including difficulty with non-verbal interaction, unable to make friends, lacking the ability to understand and respond to others' social cues and feelings.
    • Communication - this may be a delay or a complete loss in the ability to speak
    • Repetitive patterns of behaviour, activities and interests

To arrange an assessment with one of our therapists please contact us by emailing or calling 03300 886 693.

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