March 06, 2006

Recommended Reading: Books

The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D. (Harper Collins Publishers, 1998)

Straight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for Kids by Timothy E. Wilens, M.D. (The Guilford Press, 1999)

Kids in the Syndrome Mix of ADHD, LD, Asperger's, Tourette's, Bipolar, And More!: The One Stop Guide for Parents, Teachers, and Other Professionals by Martin L., M.D. Kutscher

If Your Adolescent Has Schizophrenia : An Essential Resource for Parents (Adolescent Mental Health Initiative) by Raquel E. Gur and Ann Braden Johnson

Child & Adolescent Psychopharmacology by Stanley Kutcher, M.D. (W.B. Saunders Co., 1997)

The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood's Most Misunderstood Disorder (Revised and Expanded Edition) by Demitri Papolos, M.D., and Janice Papolos (Broadway Books, 2002)

DSM-IV Training Guide For Diagnosis Of Childhood Disorders
by Judith L., M.D. Rapoport, Deborah R., M.A. Ismond (1996)

A Research Agenda for DSM-V, ed. David Kupfer, M.D., et al, from the American Psychiatric Association (2002).

Teaching the Tiger - A Handbook for Individuals Involved in the Education of Students with Attention Deficit Disorders, Tourette Syndrome or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder" by Marilyn P., Ph.D. Dornbush, Sheryl K. Pruitt;

Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Consumers, and Providers (4th Edition) -- by E. Fuller Torrey

A Mood Apart by Peter Whybrow, M.D. (Harper Collins, l997).

The Omega-3 Connection by Andrew L. Stoll, M.D., (Simon & Shuster, New York, 2001).

Out of the Shadows: Confronting America's Mental Illness Crisis by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1997)

Survival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar Disorder: Innovative parenting and counseling techniques for helping children with bipolar disorder and the conditions that may occur with it by George Lynn (2001)

Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of the Twice-Exceptional Studentby Kay Kiesa, Kiesa Kay (July 2000)

When You Worry about the Child you Love: Emotional and Learning Problems in Children by Edward Hallowell, M.D. (Simon & Schuster,1996)

Winter Blues: Seasonal Affective Disorder - What it is and how to overcome it by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D. (The Guilford Press, l993)

I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help! ...A Practical Guide for Families and Therapists by Xavier Amador with Anna-Lisa Johanson (Vida Press, 2000).

The Invisible Plague: The Rise of mental Illness from 1750 to the Present by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., Judy Miller

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Help for Children and Adolescents by Mitzi Waltz (O'Reilly, 2000)

The Thyroid Sourcebook 2nd ed., by M. Sara Rosenthal (Lowell House, l996)

Childhood Schizophrenia by Shiela Cantor, M.D. (Guilford Press 1988)

"Children with Schizophrenia" Noble, Devyn and Lenz,Sandy.
Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, 1995. ISBN 0-9695567-3-X
(From D.Webs: This is a 98 page spiral-bound book written in a style that is easy to ready and very helpful for families and other people interested in learning about schizophrenia in children and youth. Useful to give a teacher.
Order from:
Education Services Room 0601
Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital
10230-111 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
T5G 0B7

Telephone (780) 471- 7912
Cost is $ 12.00 Candaian dollars plus $5.00 for shipping

Glenrose also has a 25 minute videotape about "Childhood Schizophrenia". Cost is listed as $99.00 Canadian.

Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2005

Childhood Schizophrenia Update

A child's stage of development must be taken into account when considering a diagnosis of mental illness. Behaviors that are normal at one age may not be at another. Rarely, a healthy young child may report strange experiences—such as hearing voices—that would be considered abnormal at a later age. Clinicians look for a more persistent pattern of such behaviors. Parents may have reason for concern if a child of 7 years or older often hears voices saying derogatory things about him or her, or voices conversing with one another, talks to himself or herself, stares at scary things—snakes, spiders, shadows—that are not really there, and shows no interest in friendships. Such behaviors could be signs of schizophrenia , a chronic and disabling form of mental illness.

Fortunately, schizophrenia is rare in children, affecting only about 1 in 40,000, compared to 1 in 100 in adults. The average age of onset is 18 in men and 25 in women. Ranking among the top 10 causes of disability worldwide, schizophrenia, at any age, exacts a heavy toll on patients and their families.

For Full Story - See:

Childhood-Onset Schizophrenia: An Update

Posted by szadmin at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2003

Recommended Reading: Websites

Bipolar Disorder Focus at - Lots of good information on all aspects of bipolar disorder (frequently misdiagnosed as schizophrenia, and similar in many aspects).
Early-onset Bipolar. This website is brought to us by Papolos & Papolos, the authors of ?The Bipolar Child?. The information is VERY applicable for Childhood Onset Schizophrenia!! Has Newsletters, information on symptoms, educational needs, sample IEP, and summarized information about, and analyses of, the pediatric use of the newest antipsychotics.
Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF)website. Contains links to more information, and boards about hospitals, residential treatment centers, medications, and more. Remember, the symptoms and treatment of COS, COS-A, and EOBP HIGHLY overlap.
Drug & illness information for consumers (as opposed to professionals, although it does have that for registered medical professionals). Simple, easy-to-understand information about illnesses and medications (including proper use, precautions, side-effects, etc). Also has articles. HIGHLY recommended site for anyone wanting LOTS of information in layman language.
A lifetime of reading is at this site. Has a Schizophrenia Resource Center. You must register to use it, but it?s free. You get the latest (daily updates) news (both from Reuters Health as well as other news) in any medical category. It has a link directly into the famous ?medline search? tool which is allows you to search through an enormous database of medical research articles, many of which have on-line abstracts. It will cost money to get the actual full-article, but often, the abstracts are good enough. Also has links to on-line medical lessons "CME". Site has medical dictionary, drug information, medical conference summaries, case studies, and more.
Radio shows (1 hr) with Dr. Goodwin. Uses Real Audio. Every week, a new radio show is added. Includes summaries. Covers diverse topics such as ?The Bipolar Child?, ?Epilepsy?, ?Psychosis?, ?Cell Phones?, ?Menopause and the Mind? and many many more.

Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2003

Introduction & FAQs

Last Updated: 18 Feb 2007
Authored By: Jeanie Wolfson

Welcome to the (early) Childhood-onset Schizophrenia Weblog. We add information to this area as we learn it. Check back regularly for new information.

Disclaimer: No information given here is meant to replace consultations with, nor diagnoses by, medical professionals. It is NOT to be construed as medical advice.

What is childhood-onset Schizophrenia?
Childhood onset schizophrenia is a pediatric neurobiological brain disorder whose symptoms begin before puberty. The most common symptoms are sensory hallucinations, delusional thinking, and cognitive problems. In children, there is a high comorbidity of learning disorders, mood disorders, attentional problems, sleep problems, tic disorders (Tourette's syndrome).
Commonly, problems are seen at or shortly after birth. For this reason, as with autism, it is with increasing frequency that medical professionals and scientists refer to childhood, or early childhood-onset schizophrenia as a developmental disorder.

Isn't childhood-onset Schizophrenia a mental illness?
The "mental" vs "medical" labels are at the core of public confusion about schizophrenia in general. The term "mental" is equated with "emotional" or psychological. This neurobiological brain disorder is neither "emotional" nor "psychological" in origin. In this respect, it is not "mental".

The confusion arises because severe emotional disturbances can occur in young, genetically predisposed children due to severe psychological stressors such as in cases of severe abuse or neglect.

The confusion may clear up when better diagnostic testing becomes available, such as blood tests, tests of Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), EEG, or MRIs. Protein Biomarkers for Schizophrenia Studied in Cerebrospinal Fluid is an interesting study of a potential test for schizophrenia with a sensitivity (the probability that a symptom is present given that the person has the disease - also known as the true positive rate) between 80-88 percent, and the specificity (the true negative rate) was 95%. That is NOT shabby!

Unfortunately, such diagnostic tests are not yet available in medical practice. For now, diagnosis is made by a psychiatrist based on symptoms after all other known medical causes have been ruled out. The problem with this, is that there are many possible known medical causes for symptoms matching those of schizophrenia, and usually, very few of these known medical causes are actually tested for.

Is my child at risk for developing Schizophrenia?

Keep in mind that NO CHILD IS A STATISTIC. NO CHILD IS A DIAGNOSIS, AND NO CHILD IS A PROGNOSIS. Also, even if your child DOES have Schizophrenia, do not expect all symptoms to match!!!!

The possible early symptoms listed at this site are a composite! For instance - the "low verbal IQ"... this is STATISTICALLY. Although some of our children do have a "low verbal IQ", many of our children do NOT have a "low verbal IQ", and some even test out as "highly gifted" in verbal communication.

Risk Factors

It is very likely that Schizophrenia is several diseases all being lumped under one label. There are hereditary components, but some seem more hereditary than others.

Influencing whether or not a person gets Schizophrenia are factors such as genetics, whether or not the mother got a viral illness or was subjected to extreme psychological trauma (such as surviving a devastating earthquake) during a certain stage of pregnancy, the age of the father (older fathers tend to produce more offspring with Schizophrenia), and even how much oxygen and nutrition the fetus got, which may be part of the reason one of a pair of identical twins will get the illness, and the other will not.

Genetic Chances of YOUR child getting Schizophrenia:

o A person's risk even if no known family member has Schizophrenia is 1%.
(So, look around at your child's school. If there are 500 students at that school, at least 5 of those children will someday develop this disorder.)
o Chances increase for a positive family history for other neurobiological brain disorders such as bipolar disorder, and depression.
o Chances if you or the other parent has it: 13%
o Chances with both you AND the other parent have Schizophrenia: 36%
o Chances if one of YOUR parents (you child's grandparent) has it: 4%
o Chances if a sibling of yours (your child's aunt or uncle) has it: 3%

What should I watch out for?

Early Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Early indications that a person MAY develop Schizophrenia (but do NOT mean the person WILL) include:

Clumsiness or awkward gait as a child.
Delayed early verbal abilities, or low verbal IQ,
Non-smooth eye-tracking
Withdrawn, seclusive
Chronic Insomnia
Oversensitive or undersensitive to external stimuli such as to sounds, touch, taste, and smells.

Even with older children, watch out for the same things you would watch out for in ANYBODY....

Becoming overly withdrawn from family and peers,
Sleeping too much or sleeping too little,
Frequent "staring into space" spells or episodes of immobility
Difficulty concentrating
Excessive pacing & agitation
Overly aggressive
Overly Fearful
Hours of "tantrums"

Be aware that some of the above symptom list can also mean the child is under too much stress, suffers anxiety, PTSD, depression, bipolar mood disorder, seizure disorder, thyroid problems, hypothalmic dysfunction, Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), Cushings Disorder, Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS), PANDAS, severe OCD, other neurological conditions, etc. It does not necessarily mean Schizophrenia, but it still should be looked into.

Does my child have Schizophrenia?

Prior to Diagnosis
Before a diagnosis of Schizophrenia, the following neurological and endocrinological exams should have been made:

o 1 to 3 EEGs (Rule out seizure disorders - ie Temporal Lobe seizures which do NOT cause "convulsions")
o Brain MRI

o Thyroid function to rule out hypothyroid and hyperthyroid (see: Hypothyroidism and Psychiatric Illness and Lingering Psychiatric Symptoms May be Due to Hyperthyroidism
o Pituitary function (rule out Cushing's Syndrome and others)

o Full check-up, check for yeast, strep (PANDAS) nutritional eval, allergy eval, etc.

If all the above test are normal, and all other neurological/endocrinological disorders have been ruled-out, then (in an ideal world) a psychiatrist would make sure that the symptoms do NOT match that for bipolar disorder, or an autistic-spectrum illness, would treat for any mood disorder, if any is present, and lastly, a diagnosis of Schizophrenia would be made.

There are MANY early childhood "symptoms" shared between Early Onset Bipolar Disorder (EOBD) and Childhood Onset Schizophrenia(COS). Many kids have Schizoaffective Disorder and important information for both can be found both on, as well as on the CABF website (Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation) at Also, a lot of useful information about the use of atypicals and mood stabilizers can be found at
Posted by Jeanie Wolfson at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)