Rett’s Disorder

Rett’s Disorder and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder are two extremely rare forms of ASD that include a regression following apparently normal development.

Rett’s Disorder only occurs in girls. It is characterized by apparently normal prenatal and postnatal development, along with normal psychomotor development through the first five months of birth. But children with Rett’s disorder will go through the following regressions after early development:

  • Loss of previously acquired hand/motor skills between 5 months and 30 months, followed by the development of repetitive hand movements such as hand-wringing or hand-washing
  • Deceleration of head growth between 5 months and 48 months
  • Loss of social interests (although social interaction tends to return later in life)
  • Appearance of poorly coordinated movement
  • Severely impaired language development with severe psychomotor retardation (slowing down of thought and movement)

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) involves normal development for the first two years of life, including normal language development, social relationships, and adaptive, flexible behavior. But before the child reaches the age of 10 years, he or she will lose skills in at least two areas of the following areas:

  • Expressive (spoken) or receptive (understanding) language
  • Social skills or adaptive behavior
  • Bowel or bladder control
  • Play
  • Motor skills

In addition, children with CDD will develop abnormal functioning in at least two of these areas:

  • Social functioning: failure to develop friendships, lack of empathy
  • Communication: Delays to, or lack of, spoken language, difficulty sustaining a conversation, repetitive use of language
  • Restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped behavior: hand flapping or hand washing, intense interest in limited topics, extremely upset with changes to routine

If you recognize any of these patterns in your child, or in a child with whom you work, it is recommended that the child is evaluated by a professional. To schedule an evaluation with one of our clinicians, click here.

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