When Autism Strikes: Families Cope with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

When Autism Strikes: Families Cope with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

When Autism Strikes: Families Cope with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

When Autism Strikes: Families Cope with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

Synopsis

To lose a child is tragic; to lose a child who still lives is beyond comprehension. Yet this is the experience of the mothers and fathers who tell their very personal stories in this important book. Their children, born healthy and happy, lost their minds to a mysterious disorder with no known cause or cure: Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD). Also called late-onset autism, this malady differs from typical autism in that it afflicts children after one or even two years of apparently normal development. In the long term, deterioration leads to still poorer behavioral and developmental functioning.

How do families respond to such ever-present loss? In When Autism Strikes, the parents of eight such children from around the world present their own stories, in their own words. They describe their first suspicions, their struggles to find a cause, and the means by which they cope, day to day. By turns heartbreaking and inspiring, this courageous document brings to light a scientific mystery and a human tragedy.

Excerpt

In his classic description of the autistic syndrome, Leo Kanner (1943) originally suggested that children with autism were born with the disorder. Subsequent research has modified this impression. It is clear that most children with autism do exhibit problems in the first year or year and a half of life, but a small group of children develop autism, or something very similar to it, after what appears to be 1 or even 2 years of normal development (Volkmar,Klin, f511Cohen, 1997). Of course, various factors might well act to advance or delay case detection. Some parents are more aware of what to expect from normally developing infants and note problems that other parents miss. In some cases, a child who goes on to have higher-functioning autism may speak on time but as the child develops, more unusual social behaviors or environmental responsiveness are seen. The available data do, on balance, suggest that classical autism almost never develops after 3 years of age. However, some children who develop normally for a period of several years go on to develop a clinical syndrome very similar to autism. In considering how best to classify such disorders, we must turn to the work of the special educator Theodore Heller.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.