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Updated: May 22, 2023

Neurodevelopmental disorders are a group of conditions that typically manifest in early childhood and are characterized by developmental deficits or delays in areas such as communication, social interaction, cognition, and motor skills. These disorders are often caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors, and can have a significant impact on a person's functioning and quality of life. If left untreated, these disorders may cause more issues later in life. Here are the most common:

1. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopment disorders. This is a condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. In 2019 the CDC estimated the number of children (diagnosed aged 3–17) is 6 million (9.8%). They also estimated that 6 in 10 children with ADHD had at least one other mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder.

2. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition characterized by impairments in social communication and interaction, as well as restricted and repetitive behaviors or interests. Currently about 1 in 36 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC. The numbers grow alarmingly every year. The spectrum can vary from mild to profound to severe. There are five catagories Asperger's syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Kanner's syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder or not otherwise specified.

3. Intellectual disability (ID) is a condition characterized by deficits in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior. While treatment can help, this condition currently has no cure because each case is unique. Various disasters or disabilities are often placed in this umbrella category including Apert Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Hearing Loss, Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Fragile X Syndrome, Kernicterus, Prader-Willi, Phenylketonuria (PKU), Muscular Dystrophy, Tourette Syndrome, Vision Impairment, and Williams Syndrome.

4. Specific learning disorder is a condition characterized by difficulties in reading, writing, or math that are not due to intellectual disability or lack of educational opportunities. This includes developmental delays or impairment. Most cases can be found in early childhood development but few may not be diagnosed until adulthood.

5. Communication disorders are conditions that affect a person's ability to communicate effectively, such as stuttering, language disorders, or speech sound disorders. The DSM-5 includes Language Disorder, Speech Sound Disorder (previously Phonological Disorder), Childhood-Onset Fluency Disorder (Stuttering), Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder, and Unspecified Communication Disorder in this category.

Treatment for neurodevelopmental disorders varies depending on the specific condition and the individual's needs, but may include behavioral therapy, medication, educational interventions, and support services. Early diagnosis and intervention are important for improving outcomes and helping individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders reach their full potential.

If you, or someone you know, struggles with a mental health issue… please seek a mental health professional. If you are in a crisis and need help immediately, text “HOME” to 741741 to be connected with a trained volunteer at Crisis Text Line. Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 support. There is hope. Take your mental health seriously.

You are loved.

Dr. Ray Reynolds

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