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When Autism Strikes: Families Cope with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder Paperback – March 21, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 1998 edition (March 21, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030645789X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306457890
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #722,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
A diagnosis of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) seems a pretty frightening thing and one that most of us would choose to run away from (as if we might have a choice!). Some- where along my own path for answers concerning my child's regression I can remember a well meaning speech therapist sharing with me the short criteria list for CDD from DMS-IV. I xeroxed it and carried it around for a couple of years glancing at the paper from time to time in order to reassure myself against that diagnosis. I've got to tell you that this book is a must read for many of us who are still searching for the true diagnosis for our kids. Yes, it's scary but it's also VERY enlightening. The preface by Dr. Catalano begins, "This book is not for the weak of heart." He's right and should you read it, you can expect to shed some tears... for the families profiled and for all families in search for answers when their children regress.
The DMS-IV criteria for CDD specifies that the child develops typically to the age of 3; the condition's onset may be abrubt or more gradual; "sometimes there is a period of non-specific agitation as the child begins the dramatic regression that is the hallmark of this condition." Dr. Robert Catalano is an opthalmologist and a parent of a CDD child, while Dr. Volkmar of the forward is an authority in the autism/ CDD field. Dr. Volkmar explains that "for many years the presumption was that CDD was the overt manifestation of some identifiable neurological or other medical condition and, therefore, did not deserve official recognition." He adds, that "this has not been the case.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
The disorder is defined and eight case studies as viewed by parents are described. In so doing, various educational and medical avenues and life-style options are identified as alternatives in the treatment.
I consider that this book is a succinct, invaluable and wide source of information that might provide a critical role in assisting parents to cope with this devastating disorder. In addition, pediatricians are provided with an insight into the plight of the families of certain of their clientele.
Congratulations to Robert Catalano on bringing together the stories from diverse families in three continents and five countries.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 1998
Format: Paperback
I have a son who has been diagnosed with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder And every thing that I read in this book is true.This is an awfull disorder and what makes it worse is the fact that nobody knows where it comes from and how to prevent it.Reading this book was good for me, it helped me to know that I am not alone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
As far as I know, this is the only book specifically about the rare and mysterious pervasive developmental disorder known as Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (or Heller's Syndrome), in which children lose previously acquired skills and develop the symptoms of autism after several years of apparently normal development.
With an introduction by autism expert Fred Volkmar, the book presents the stories of eight families of children with CDD, including the editor's own son Thomas, and Jordan Schulze (the subject of his father Craig's book "When Snow Turns to Rain"), as they struggle to cope with and find an explanation for their children's devastating regression.
Hopefully, this book will increase awareness of the under-diagnosed condition and let other families know that they are not alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 VINE VOICE on August 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's true this book is definitely not for the weak of heart, as Dr. Catalano, father of Thomas attests. It is a book that will evoke just about every strong emotion under the sun.

The children featured in this book all suffer from varying degrees of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, or CDD. The children all reached normal developmental milestones within the first three years of their lives with the exception of one girl who began her downward developmental spiral at two. The penultimate child featured in this book was described as being developmentally delayed and did not appear to suffer from CDD so much as developmental delays. Two children appeared to have some form of psychosis. One child benefitted greatly from the anti-psychotic Largactil. The child's mother insisted on having a prescribed anti-psychotic agent for her child. Risperidol failed whereas Largactil allowed the child to function at close to age appropriate levels.

Whether or not these two children suffered from psychosis is a matter of conjecture; the bizarre ideation and equally bizarre verbalizations and seemingly disorganized thinking and inability to make contact in meaningful ways with others suggested this as a possibility. Sadly, many people with autism have been misdiagnosed with psychosis, so it is strongly urged not to jump to that conclusion. Many people with autism and not CDD often make utterances others find bizarre; in the case of people at the higher functioning end of the spectrum have provided the rationale for their statements, thus dispelling the question of psychosis.

Autism, unlike psychosis is characterized by rigid thinking and is accompanied by craving for order.
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