What is a neurodevelopmental disorder?
The teenage brain is constantly growing and changing. Sometimes neurological development is impaired or arrested, causing social, intellectual, or emotional challenges. Most life-altering neurodevelopmental disorders occur within the regions of the brain that manage emotion, learning, self-control, and memory.
What are the types of neurodevelopmental disorders?
While there are several types of neurodevelopmental issues, the most common ones include:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. Boys are more frequently diagnosed than girls.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): ASD is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life. Autism is known as a “spectrum” disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience. ASD occurs in all ethnic, racial, and economic groups.
- Learning Disabilities: Cognitive skills are not all the same level in a person, but if after proper development a particularly low area exists, we are speaking about a specific problem in learning characterized by substantially lower than expected academic performance in relation to a person’s chronological age. It often interferes with school performance, hindering adequate progress and the achievement of goals set out in education.
Signs of a neurodevelopmental disorder
Look for these symptoms if you’re worried about your child having a neurodevelopmental disorder–but these symptoms are not exclusive, these are simply the most common indicators:
- Social isolation
- Compulsive or obsessive behaviors
- Academic failure
- Frequent distraction
- Mispronunciation of common words
- Carelessness or clumsiness
- Constant fidgeting
- Antisocial behavior, especially toward peers
- Persistent feelings of restlessness or discomfort
- Difficulty expressing oneself in speech or writing
- Excessive talking
- Frequent speech interjections
- Difficulty completing or organizing tasks as assigned
- Lack of attention to detail
- Abnormal body language
- Delay in mathematical or compositional development
Risk factors for neurodevelopmental issues
Many risk factors exist for neurodevelopmental issues–there’s still much we don’t understand about why they happen. Some of the most common factors that can increase an individuals risk include:
- Genetics: Having a sibling or family member with a neurodevelopmental disorder often means you’re more at risk as well.
- Abuse and Neglect: Social and language deprivation, especially during early childhood, significantly increases the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders.
- Nutrition: Nutritional deficits and malnutrition have been connected to several of the less common neurodevelopmental disorders.
- Physical Conditions: Severe immune dysfunction during pregnancy, infectious diseases (including toxoplasmosis, rubella, and measles) during infancy, and metabolic disorders like diabetes have been strongly linked to neurodevelopmental issues later in life.
- Toxins: Exposure to certain toxic substances, such as mercury, lead, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) is a high-level risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders.
Treating Neurodevelopmental Issues
Some of the most used techniques for treating neurodevelopmental issues include:
- Medical Attention: Early diagnosis and treatment is key to minimizing the harmful effects of neurodevelopmental disorders. A medical doctor can evaluate symptoms, give a diagnosis, and recommend treatments specifically tailored to the person’s needs.
- Occupational Therapy: Since some teens with neurodevelopmental disorders struggle to carry out everyday tasks, regular sessions with a licensed occupational therapist can help them to feel more comfortable with day-to-day responsibilities.
- Residential Treatment: These programs offer a higher level of supervision and care for children who are struggling significantly with not just their symptoms, but behavioral or emotional issues, too.
Although parents and other caregivers often notice the first signs of a neurodevelopmental disorder, it’s important to keep track of symptom development. Keeping a vigilant eye can help with early diagnosis and treatment.
If you suspect a neurodevelopmental disorder, get an assessment immediately. Ask a medical practitioner for an evaluation and possible diagnosis. The next steps include treatment possibilities.
Research potential therapeutic options and choose the one that suits your needs best. It’s important to weigh all your choices and consider what will fit your child specifically.
the prevalence of any developmental disorder was nearly 14 percent.
have serious concerns about their ability to cope with their children’s learning issues.
the prevalence of developmental disorders has increased by over 17 percent.
of a child with learning disability report their child has been bullied at least once.