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Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Neurodevelopmental Disorders (NDs) are commonly diagnosed during childhood, although in some cases they may not be noticed or diagnosed well into adulthood. NDs include a wide range of disabilities that may be experienced as difficulties with learning language, speech, motor skills, behavior, memory, and other neurological and brain development areas.

Studies report that approximately 15% of children (ranging ages 3 – 17) in the United States are affected by neurodevelopmental disorders, where they are more prevalent in boys than girls.

Types of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Although a wide range of disorders fall under neurodevelopmental disorders, here are some of the more common NDs we see at New Hope Health:

Causes of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Most cases of NDs have multiple contributors, ranging from genetic and biological factors, as well as physical and environmental factors.

Genetics

Genetics, specifically epigenetics, have shown to be associated with intellectual disability and other psychological disorders.

Environmental Risk Factors

Use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs during pregnancy have been shown to cause certain neurodevelopmental disorders. Other environment related factors such as lower social and economic status may affect diet and health during pregnancy leading to preterm births, lower birth weight, and other complications leading to neurodevelopmental disorders.

Industrial Contaminants and Pollutants

Prenatal exposure to environmental contaminants such as lead, methylmercury and other polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been shown to create neurotoxic and neurodevelopmental effects such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, deafness and blindness, and a host of other disorders.

Some Symptoms of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Treatment of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Although there are no cures for neurodevelopmental disorders, there are medical and therapeutic techniques that are effective in controlling some of the symptoms of neurodevelopmental disorders. Preventative care with respect to environmental conditions may also reduce occurrences of neurodevelopmental disorders. Complementary and alternative options such as wellness practices may also help alleviate some of the symptoms.

Medical Treatment

For severe instances of ADHD and Autism Spectrum disorders, physicians may prescribe medication, in addition to other treatment options.

Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other counseling and therapeutic variations such as speech therapy and developmental therapy have often shown significant impact on neurodevelopmental disorders.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Yoga, mindfulness practices as well as other physical and recreational exercises have been shown to have a positive impact on neurodevelopmental disorders.

Preventative and Prenatal Care

Changing the environmental conditions and improving prenatal care including regular health check ups during pregnancy have been shown to help early diagnosis leading to greater chances of a healthy, full term delivery.

Should you see a doctor?

If you are noticing any of the symptoms and behaviors described above in your child or yourself, consult your healthcare provider to obtain a diagnosis. Although neurodevelopmental disorders are not curable we have made significant progress in helping to alleviate some of the challenges caused by them, allowing many individuals to function well within society.

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