Autism and early childhood schizophrenia

September 19th, 2007

Autism and early childhood schizophrenia are quite different,though many people found out that they have things in common.

In actuality, in decades past, prior to the real understanding of autism which was finally recognized in the 1970s, persons with that disorder were commonly diagnosed as having childhood schizophrenia. This resulted in a great many persons being misunderstood and improperly treated, some for life. Because both disorders had early onset symptoms such as disrupted cognitive, linguistic, and social development they were often confused, as diagnosis was made before the onset of frank psychotic symptoms.

Childhood onset schizophrenia is/was extremely rare and good diagnosticians should be reluctant to diagnose it without overt confirmation of psychosis. It isn’t so much a matter of the diagnosis being elimated as it is of falling into disuse. The NIMH is still conducting studies in regard to childhood onset schizophrenia.

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