Heller syndrome, also known as Disintegrative Disorder of Second Childhood, is a degenerative brain disease. In this syndrome, the child has normal motor and intellectual development until 3 years of age (sometimes more) and, after a certain moment, begins to lose all previously acquired abilities, starting to behave similar to those of autism.
The regression phase lasts 4 to 8 weeks, where the main symptoms are difficulty in using familiar words, loss of autonomy, loss of intestinal control, loss of interest in the social activities that used to be done, isolation, loss of motor skills, such as run and hold objects.
The phase of motor regression is the most difficult, the child usually shows signs of confusion and agitation. After this phase, he develops behaviors similar to those of autism: he avoids eye contact, does not like to be hugged, kissed or touched, and seems to live in his own world.
The diagnosis of Heller syndrome is made through observation of symptoms and treated in a multimodal manner, which includes drugs that reduce secondary symptoms of the disease, such as sleep disorders, social therapies and physical therapy. These remedies also help in the attempt to reintegrate the child into the social environment and improve his motor development.