Disorders of neural development can begin before conception based on parental genetic inheritance with risk of diseases such as schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, Huntington’s and many others.
Pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester, carries risk of intra-uterine infection (e.g. rubella), poor quality of maternal health, or lifestyle factors (alcohol, smoking, nutrition, drug use), as well as quality of ante-natal care.
Labour can be a hazardous time, if delivery is complicated by physiological delay, foetal distress for any reason or other risks, known (e.g. existing maternal illness such as diabetes) and unknown (e.g. obstetric emergency, such as prolapsed cord).
Survival into neonatal life with a good outcome also depends on many factors such as maternal bonding, nutrition, home environment and social support.
Many children at various stages fall into difficulty with delay in the achievement of significant milestones signposting learning difficulties and the need for assessment, investigation and appropriate support.
The signs of an autistic spectrum disorder are usually apparent before nursery stage, but other developmental disorders, such as ADHD and schizophrenia, may manifest much later in adolescence. OCD, anxiety and psychosis can also all be associated with neurodevelopmental conditions.
Disorders of Neurodevelopment Diagnoses
Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
This is described as a spectrum because although individuals with ASD share common features such as difficulties with understanding and engaging in social interaction, social communication and adapting to a world full of variation and change, each individual is on a spectrum of difficulty.
Learning Disability (LD) and Challenging Behaviours Associated with LD
Many children are affected with either a general learning disability or have specific disorders of learning such as dyslexia which can impair educational progress.
Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
Most ADHD is diagnosed in children and often treated with a combination of behavioural therapy and psychostimulant medication under close supervision of either a paediatrician or a specialist in children’s mental health.