Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Good morning. We really need your help - Childhood Schizophrenia?

My son is ten and has been on the spectrum since he started school. Pddnos is what we were told. He also has add and was started on Adderall recently. It seems to have made his anxiety worse. And he is now telling us that the imaginary show he made up in his head won’t turn off. It’s all encompassing and has several different characters. He says he doesn’t hear the voices like he hears us but with his autism it is difficult to get him to communicate.

Does this sound like schizophrenia?

My parents knew I wasn’t right when I was about 5. I’ve had the ADD, ADHD, PTSD, bipolar, schizoaffective, to Sz labels in my life until my huge break when I was 17.

When I was 10 my “imaginary” friends were still vividly real and giving me bad advice and trying to talk me into giving them my blood so they could be real. I also got a message from God that year and I was sure I had developed sonic hearing. (That turned out to be my voices.) I didn’t think I was hearing voices. I was hearing the neighbors and the all the people across town.

I’m sorry the Autism is getting in the way of the communication. But he has to be assessed by a pro. No one here should try and diagnose from a web site.

If his anxiety is worse then he’s suffering and needs some relief. But voices aren’t an SZ trait only. Just from Wikipedia (not that I would ever diagnose from that shake source) there are a list of mental illnesses that can have hallucinations and voices other then JUST Sz.

schizophrenia and schizophreniform disorder

affective (mood) disorders, including severe depression, and severe depression or mania in bipolar disorder (manic depression).

schizoaffective disorder, involving symptoms of both schizophrenia and mood disorders
brief psychotic disorder, or acute/transient psychotic disorder

schizotypal disorder

certain personality disorders at times of stress (including paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder)

major depressive disorder in its severe form although it is possible and more likely to have severe depression without psychosis

bipolar disorder in severe mania and/or severe depression although it is possible to have severe mania and/or severe depression

post-traumatic stress disorder

Sometimes in obsessive-compulsive disorder

He really needs to be seen by a pro. I’m sorry he has to go through this.

I’d say check out more of the main site for FAQ

and of course

Good luck

This link should take you directly to information on childhood schizophrenia:

If you are on Facebook then here is a link to group where you may find a lot of support as it is parents of kids with sz. Among other disorders like autism and add/adhd.

Thank you both. He is seeing a clinical child psychiatrist next week. His therapist of 6 years just told us yesterday that does not believe our son is autistic! I’m completely stressed out. Thanks again for replying. He’s our only child and my entire world. My heart is breaking for him.

I’m sorry your heart is breaking for him. I understand it must be painful.

But for me on the outside looking in…
I was thinking that getting the correct diagnosis and meds as early as age 10 is really lucky. My poor parents were given a lot of bunko and had to watch me get worse and worse until age 17 when I was so out of my head I was forced into hospital… and because of my voices, I had begun drinking at a young age of 14.

If your son can get on the right path at 10 he is a lot luckier then I was.

Good luck. I’m rooting for you.

I’m rooting for you as well. All of you!

This has to be so hard on you. Getting the correct diagnoses doesn’t seem to be an easy thing. So many disorders seem to overlap. Figuring out what is causing what is not easy. I guess whatever the most prominent symptoms at the time would dictate the diagnoses and they can change so easily.

Good luck with the child psychiatrist. Having someone who specializes in this with children should be a big help.

As SurprisedJ says. Getting treatment early is a good thing. Wishing you both all the best.

Stimulant, as Adderall, have psychosis as side effect! Try a different med for his ADD and see if it gets better. My son also has PDD-NOS and ADHD. He is unmedicated. He is 12 now and his ADHD has calmed down very much and is not a big problem anymore.

When my son was just 5 years old, the preschool staff insisted he be evaluated, or we would be finding another school. The psychiatrist we took him to did not diagnose him with ADHD, but said it was clear there was ‘something’ going on - and said that he would not be surprised if my son developed some psychiatric illness when older. The doctor wanted to prescribe a mood stabilizer. My son’s dad was terrified of him taking something that he had never heard of, and somehow convinced the doctor to prescribe Ritalin. That lasted - maybe a week - our son flipped out, with extreme fits of anger, including putting his hand thru a pane of glass. He was then changed to a mood stabilizer, which did help. He was also assessed for Asperger’s at the age of 14, and was found to clearly be on the autistic spectrum.


Does your child have sz? Our son was language delayed and got early intervention. He is in an inclusion class. Loves math.

Yes, his first identified psychotic episode was at age 17. This means nothing in regards to your son, but just shows that sometimes there are manifestations in childhood, and there can be some dual-diagnosis with autism


In addition to your regular pdoc - you might take him in for evaluation at an early psychosis center that specializes in this type of thing.

I recommend you contact one of the centers listed here that is closest to you and (if there none really close to you) then ask them for a recommendation of another clinic like theirs closer to you.

These centers are specifically set up to help people like son as early as possible.

Here is another list of Early Psychosis Treatment centers - call them also if there is not one listed above that is close:

Thank you for the list. I sent an email to the closest hospital.

Links fixed - sorry, they probably didn’t work before:

Here is another list of Early Psychosis Treatment centers - call them also if there is not one listed above that is close:

Lol. That’s ok. I used the link and went back to the main site and found mr way from there. The closest center is in Long Island. We were thinking of taking him to the children’s hospital in Boston if we can get a referral.

By the way - This lady is widely considered the number one expert in childhood schizophrenia (it is very rare - so most psychiatrists don’t know much about it). She also does a lot of research on this topic and so has free programs for children. You might contact her, and see if you can get recommendations for doctors in your area, if you can’t visit her:

Judith L. Rapoport, M.D.

I see this as more proof that things are getting better for us. My Mom and Dad would have done every thing they could to see this lady if she was around almost 29 years ago. Thank you for posting this.

I do know that schizophrenia can be detectable even in our childhoods regardless of how old we are when it fully develops. Him having austism is very problematic, it does make communication difficult, but an evaluator will be able to find out what is going on.

For example, outdated psychiatry blamed schizophrenia on childhood experiences and even parenting styles. There is a grain of truth, but only in the sense that symptoms may be there at times in childhood, and the concept of schizophrenia as being developmental is long gone, it is now a purely neurologically blamed disorder.

Again, an evaluation sounds necessary, I had an unusual set of symptoms and behaviors and it took a formal evaluation to diagnose me- I was seemingly together, sharp-tongued, witty, doing well in college even and physically fit, but upstairs in the dome, stuff was all over the place. I turned out to have an unusual case of very high positive symptoms and quite low negative symptoms, mainly introversion, which isnt even pathological normally, but given that I was completely extroverted before my onset, it qualified as a negative symptom.

I went from being friends with everyone and being the ringleader to sitting at home alone or with one old friend at most, and he accepted me because he himself has a heart condition, has had multiple open heart surgeries and even has a pacemaker. He knew I was mentally ill and saw the human side of me, not the paranoid schizophrenic side of me. He could tell I was suffering but was good at faking being normal.

What I really mean to illustrate is the value of a formal psychological evaluation. Mine left no stone unturned and now I know virtually everything about myself, even the tiniest little details that I never even thought about before. Some of it was unsavory, some of it was just dry factual information. Be ready for surprises…

I spoke with Charlotte Armstrong at NIH. She referred me to several lists. I then spoke with a great person by the name of Melinda at the Feinstein institute here in NY. She said she would get my info to the right folks and someone should contact us. We have yet another appointment tomorrow with the new psychiatrist. I think he’s going to help us. Thank you all. I will keep you up to date. Xoxoxo to you all!

Hello all. The new psych said he does not think our son is exhibiting signs of schizophrenia. I sent him back to school today (first time in a week) and got a call around 1:30. He had a good morning but had trouble after lunch. He said he heard a song in his head and he couldn’t stop hearing it. I went to the school to get him and he was very weepy and sad. I brought him back home… so far so good but he is still talking about the music that gets stuck in his head and that he can’t turn it off.

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Going back to the dr. again on Sat.