Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 265–271

Revisiting Regression in Autism: Heller’s Dementia Infantilis

Includes A Translation of Über Dementia Infantilis
  • Alexander Westphal
  • Stefanie Schelinski
  • Fred Volkmar
  • Kevin Pelphrey
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-012-1559-z

Cite this article as:
Westphal, A., Schelinski, S., Volkmar, F. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2013) 43: 265. doi:10.1007/s10803-012-1559-z

Abstract

Theodor Heller first described a severe regression of adaptive function in normally developing children, something he termed dementia infantilis, over one 100 years ago. Dementia infantilis is most closely related to the modern diagnosis, childhood disintegrative disorder. We translate Heller’s paper, Über Dementia Infantilis, and discuss similarities in presentation between Heller’s cases, and a group of children with childhood disintegrative disorder. In particular we discuss a prodromal period of affective dysregulation described by Heller, and also evident in our sample, but not previously described in any detail since the publication of Über Dementia Infantilis.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder Childhood disintegrative disorder Regression 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Westphal
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stefanie Schelinski
    • 1
    • 3
  • Fred Volkmar
    • 1
  • Kevin Pelphrey
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale Child Study CenterNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Law and PsychiatryYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain SciencesLeipzigGermany

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