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Ask the Experts

Question:

My Ex has schizophrenia. My daughter is 3 years old, but she is showing early signs of the illness, i.e. delayed speech, flat affect, lack of eye contact. Who can help?

Answered by: Cheryl Corcoran

Since your daughter has symptoms you are worried about, you should have her see a good child psychiatrist for an evaluation.

But remember these symptoms are not necessarily early signs of schizophrenia. Your daughter's risk for schizophrenia is 13%, based on having a parent with schizophrenia. A good evaluation will consider the many other possibilities that could be causing these symptoms (i.e. subtle learning difficulties, social anxiety, medical illness, hearing impairment).

There is no specific prevention yet for possible future schizophrenia in a 3-year-old. Your best bet is to do what you are doing - seek evaluation and treatment for her current difficulties.