Childhood schizophrenia is a type of schizophrenia, a chronic mental illness in which reality is interpreted abnormally (psychosis). Childhood schizophrenia is essentially the same as schizophrenia in adults, but it occurs early in life — sometimes even before the teen years — and has a profound impact on a child’s ability to function.
Childhood schizophrenia includes hallucinations, delusions, irrational behavior and thinking, and problems carrying out routine daily tasks, such as bathing. With childhood schizophrenia, the early age of onset presents special challenges for diagnosis, treatment, educational needs, and emotional and social development. Childhood schizophrenia is sometimes called childhood-onset schizophrenia or early-onset schizophrenia. It’s also sometimes grouped together with similar conditions known collectively as schizophrenia spectrum disorders.