Course and prognosis

In about 75 per cent of cases the deterioration reaches a plateau, in that there is no further loss of skills, but subsequent gains tend to be minimal. Thus the child who previously was normally socially related, speaking in full sentences, and toilet-trained becomes indifferent to social interaction, loses all expressive language and toilet skills, and remains mute and relatively low functioning. (12> In the remainder of cases there is more limited recovery, for example the child regains the capacity to speak but only in single words or only echoes language. Particularly if a progressive metabolic or neuropathological process is present, the developmental progression may continue until death ensues; such cases often have a later onset. (7D Life expectancy otherwise appears to be normal. In a very small number of cases significant recovery has been noted.

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