"This rare condition was described many years before autism (Heller, 1908) but has only recently been 'officially' recognized. With CDD children develop autism only after a relatively prolonged period (usually 3 to 4 years) of totally normal development (Volkmar, 1994). This condition differs from autism in the pattern of onset, course, and outcome (Volkmar, 1994).
A special educator in Vienna, Theodore Heller, proposed the term dementia infantilis to describe the condition. Relatively little is known about the condition. The assumption until recently has been that this condition is ALWAYS associated with some specific neuropathological process. However, to there is no evidence to support this. In most cases after even very extensive testing no specific medical cause for the condition is found. As with autism, children who suffer from this condition are at increased risk for seizures."
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