Purpose: To establish that a child diagnosed by a health practitioner or educational professional as having a single disorder in fact presents symptoms of other disorders in a pattern of comorbidity.
Method: A prospective epidemiological study of 100 children attending a specialist clinic.
Results: A clear pattern of comorbidity was demonstrated. Whilst not always quantifiable, no patient was found to have one condition in isolation and comorbidity rates were found at incidences of up to 95%, representing an increase on the expected prevalence in a general population of 160–2300%.
Conclusion: The patterns of comorbidity occurred with such frequency that it would suggest that there could be an argument for the downgrading of these conditions from disorders per se to symptoms and that further investigation might suggest that the patterns of comorbidity may fit the criteria for a developmental delay syndrome.
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