Developmental disorder

Last updated date: 26-Apr-2023

Originally Written in English

Developmental disorder

Developmental disorder


Developmental disorders are delays in a child's physical, cognitive, linguistic, or behavioral development. They can have an influence on daily functioning and generally last a person's entire life. Developmental diseases can impact both physical and mental skills, such as eyesight and learning. Many of these disorders have various effects on different sections of the body or systems.

Developmental disorders can have a negative impact on an individual's physical, intellectual, and emotional development. If a kid has a developmental delay, it is critical that he or she receives assistance as soon as possible. Early detection and intervention can have a substantial influence on a child's capacity to learn new abilities, as well as lessen the need for costly treatments in the long run.

A child's growth and development are monitored by his or her parents and caregiver. The child's primary care provider will assess any developmental delays or difficulties and address any concerns. This is referred to as development monitoring or surveillance. Any issues that arise during developmental monitoring should be followed up on with developmental screening. A developmental screening is a brief exam that determines if a kid is learning fundamental skills at the appropriate time or if there are delays.

Most developmental abnormalities occur before a baby is born, but some can occur after birth due to a variety of causes. Injury, infection, genetics, and other variables are among those to consider. Excessive exposure to environmental toxins (such as lead), use of alcohol or other drugs during pregnancy

ADHD, Autism spectrum disorder, Cerebral palsy, hearing loss, intellectual disability, learning disability, and vision impairment are examples of developmental problems.

Developmental delay is not usually curable, but it can be managed. Individual and family therapies, medications, applied behavioral analysis, occupational and speech therapy, physical therapy, special education, and treatment of underlying medical concerns, if present, may be included in treatment programs.


How common are developmental disorders?

Common developmental disorder

The prevalence of autistic disorder has increased in recent surveys, with current estimates of prevalence around 20/10,000, whereas the prevalence of pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) not otherwise specified has increased in recent surveys, with current estimates of prevalence around 30/10,000.

Asperger disorder has a substantially lower incidence than autistic disorder, and childhood disintegrative disorder is a relatively rare disorder with a prevalence of roughly 2/100,000. Recent studies that have looked at the entire spectrum of PDDs have consistently produced estimates in the 60-70/10,000 range, making PDD one of the most common pediatric neurodevelopmental diseases.


When your child needs Developmental Monitoring and Screening?

Developmental Monitoring and Screening

Developmental milestones include skills such as taking the first step, smiling for the first time, and waving "bye-bye." Children attain milestones in their play, learning, speaking, behavior, and movement (for example, crawling and walking).

Because children develop at their own pace, it is hard to predict when a kid will master a specific skill. The developmental milestones, on the other hand, provide a basic picture of the changes to expect as a kid grows older.

If your kid is not hitting the developmental milestones for his or her age, or if you suspect a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, or moves, consult with your child's doctor and express your concerns.

A cooperation between parents and health care experts monitors a child's growth and development. During each well-child appointment, the doctor examines for developmental delays or disorders and discusses any concerns the parents may have. This is referred to as developmental monitoring.

Any issues that arise during developmental monitoring should be followed up on with developmental screening. A developmental screening is a brief exam that determines if a kid is learning fundamental skills at the appropriate time or if there are delays.

If a child has a developmental delay, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Early identification and intervention can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to learn new skills, as well as reduce the need for costly interventions over time.


What are the aspects of Developmental Monitoring and Screening?

Developmental Screening Aspects

Developmental Monitoring:

Developmental monitoring examines how your kid develops and evolves over time, as well as whether or not your child reaches the expected developmental milestones in play, learning, speaking, acting, and moving. Developmental monitoring can be done by parents, grandparents, early childhood professionals, and other caregivers. You may use a simple checklist of developmental milestones to see how your kid is progressing. If you observe that your kid is not hitting developmental milestones, discuss your concerns with your doctor or nurse.

When you take your child to a well visit, your doctor or nurse will also do developmental monitoring. The doctor or nurse might ask you questions about your child’s development or will talk and play with your child to see if he or she is developing and meeting milestones. A missed milestone could be a sign of a problem, so the doctor or another specialist will take a closer look by using a more thorough test or exam.


Developmental Screening:

Developmental screening examines your child's growth and development. Your kid will be given a quick test, or you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your child. Formal questionnaires or checklists based on research are used for developmental and behavioral screening, and they address questions about a child's development, including language, movement, thinking, behavior, and emotions. A doctor or nurse can do developmental screening, but so can other workers in healthcare, early childhood education, community, or school contexts.

Developmental screening is more formal than developmental monitoring and is often performed less frequently. If you or your doctor have concerns about your kid, he or she should be checked. Even if there is no known problem, developmental screening is a standard element of some well-child visits for all children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends developmental and behavioral screening for all children during regular well-child visits at these ages:

  • 9 months
  • 18 months
  • 30 months

In addition, AAP recommends that all children be screened specifically for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during regular well-child visits at:

  • 18 months
  • 24 months

If your child is at higher risk for developmental problems due to preterm birth, low birthweight, environmental risks like lead exposure, or other factors, your healthcare provider may also discuss additional screening. If a child has an existing long-lasting health problem or a diagnosed condition, the child should have developmental monitoring and screening in all areas of development, just like those without special healthcare needs.


Causes and risk factors for developmental disorders

developmental disorders risks

Developmental disabilities begin anytime during the developmental period and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime. Most developmental disabilities begin before a baby is born, but some can happen after birth because of injury, infection, or other factors.

The majority of developmental disabilities are assumed to be caused by a complicated combination of causes. Genetics; parental health and habits (such as smoking and drinking) throughout pregnancy; problems during birth; infections the mother may have during pregnancy or the infant may have very early in life; and exposure to high amounts of environmental toxins, such as lead, are among these factors. We know what causes some developmental problems, such as fetal alcohol syndrome, which is caused by ingesting alcohol during pregnancy. But for the most part, we don't.

Following are some examples of what we know about specific developmental disabilities:

  • At least 25% of hearing loss among babies is due to maternal infections during pregnancy, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection; complications after birth; and head trauma.
  • Some of the most common known causes of intellectual disability include fetal alcohol syndrome disorder; genetic and chromosomal conditions, such as Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome; and certain infections during pregnancy.
  • Children who have a sibling with autism spectrum disorder are at a higher risk of also having autism spectrum disorder.
  • Low birthweight, premature birth, multiple birth, and infections during pregnancy are associated with an increased risk for many developmental disabilities.
  • Untreated newborn jaundice (high levels of bilirubin in the blood during the first few days after birth) can cause a type of brain damage known as kernicterus. Children with kernicterus are more likely to have cerebral palsy, hearing and vision problems, and problems with their teeth. Early detection and treatment of newborn jaundice can prevent kernicterus.


Developmental disorder types

Developmental disorder types

Some types of developmental disorders include:

  • ADHD: The most common type.
  • Autism spectrum disorder: the second common type of neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Hearing loss
  • Intellectual disability
  • Learning disability
  • Vision impairment

Some people may have one or more developmental disabilities at once.


What is ADHD?


ADHD is an abbreviation for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It's a medical problem. ADHD patients have variations in brain growth and activity that influence their attention, capacity to sit still, and self-control. ADHD can have an impact on a child's schoolwork, home life, and friendships.

It is unclear what causes the neurological abnormalities associated with ADHD. There is compelling evidence that ADHD is primarily hereditary. Many children with ADHD have a parent or relative who suffers from the condition. Children are also more likely to get it if they were born prematurely, are exposed to environmental pollutants, or their mothers took drugs during pregnancy.

Treatment for ADHD usually includes:

  • Medicine: This activates the brain's ability to pay attention, slow down, and use more self-control.
  • Behavior therapy: Therapists can help kids develop the social, emotional, and planning skills that are lagging with ADHD.
  • Parent coaching: Through coaching, parents learn the best ways to respond to behavior problems that are part of ADHD.
  • School support: Teachers can help kids with ADHD do well and enjoy school more.

The right treatment helps ADHD improve. Parents and teachers can teach younger kids to get better at managing their attention, behavior, and emotions. As they grow older, kids should learn to improve their own attention and self-control.

When ADHD is not treated, it can be hard for kids to succeed. This may lead to low self-esteem, depression, oppositional behavior, school failure, risk-taking behavior, or family conflict.


What is Autism spectrum disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.


Signs and Symptoms of Autism spectrum disorder

Signs and Symptoms of Autism spectrum disorder

People with ASD often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life.

Children or adults with ASD might:

  • Not point at objects to show interest (for example, not point at an airplane flying over).
  • Not look at objects when another person points at them.
  • Have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all.
  • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone.
  • Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings.
  • prefer not to be held or cuddled, or might cuddle only when they want to
  • Appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond to other sounds.
  • Be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them.
  • Repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language.
  • Have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions.
  • Not play “pretend” games (for example, not pretend to “feed” a doll).
  • Repeat actions over and over again.
  • Have trouble adapting when a routine change.
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
  • Lose skills they once had (for example, stop saying words they were using).


Diagnosis of Autism spectrum disorder

Diagnosis of Autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be difficult to diagnose because there is no medical test, such as a blood test, to do so. To determine a diagnosis, doctors examine the child's developmental history and behavior.

ASD can occasionally be recognized in children as early as 18 months. By the age of two, a professional diagnosis can be regarded quite reliable. Many children, however, do not obtain a definite diagnosis until they are considerably older. Some people do not receive a diagnosis until they are teenagers or adults. Because of this delay, children with ASD may not receive the necessary early intervention.


Treatment of Autism spectrum disorder

Treatment of Autism spectrum disorder

While there is no “cure” for autism, there are several effective interventions that can improve a child’s functioning:

  1. Applied behavioral analysis: It involves systematic study of the child’s functional challenges, which is used to create a structured behavioral plan for improving their adaptive skills and decreasing inappropriate behaviour.
  2. Social skills training: Done in group or individual settings, this intervention helps   children with autism improve their ability to navigate social situations.
  3. Speech & language therapy: It can improve the child’s speech patterns and understanding of language.
  4. Occupational therapy: This address adaptive skills deficits with activities of daily living, as well as problems with handwriting
  5. Parent management training: Parents learn effective ways of responding to problematic behavior and encouraging appropriate behavior in their child. Parent support groups help parents cope with the stressors of raising a child with autism
  6. Special education services: Under an Individual Education Plan provided by their school, which accommodates for their social communication deficits, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors, children with autism can achieve their fullest potential academically. This includes special day classes for very young children to address language, social, and life skills.
  7. Treating co-occurring conditions: Children with autism experience insomnia, anxiety, and depression more often than peers without autism. They also more often have ADHD. Children with autism may have intellectual disability and this needs to be addressed. The impact of these conditions can be reduced with the proper services, which include all of the above, in addition psychotherapy and/or medication treatment
  8. Medication: A child psychiatrist can evaluate for co-morbid depression, anxiety, and impulsivity. If appropriate medications can be helpful. For example, autism-related irritability can be reduced by medications such as aripiprazole and risperidone (the two medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for irritability associated with autism), prescribed judiciously by a knowledgeable clinician in collaboration with the child’s parents.

Several complementary and alternative interventions involving special diets and supplements have been tried over the years by parents/caregivers seeking ways to help their child with autism function better. To date compelling evidence has not been found to clearly recommend any such specific interventions. Research into these types of interventions continues, and parents/caregivers interested in them should discuss them with their child’s treating clinician.


What is the prognosis of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

prognosis of Autism spectrum disorder

The prognosis of autistic people is closely connected with their IQ. Low-functioning individuals may never be able to live freely; they will almost always require home or residential care for the remainder of their lives. Patients with high functioning can live freely, work well, and even marry and have children. Autism remission has been recorded in anecdotal case reports.



Developmental disorder

Developmental disabilities are a range of disorders caused by a disability in one or more of the following areas: physical, learning, language, or behavior. These disorders emerge throughout the formative era, have an influence on day-to-day functioning, and often last a person's whole life.

Some types of developmental disorders include: ADHD, Autism spectrum disorder, Cerebral palsy, Hearing loss, Intellectual disability, Learning disability and Vision impairment.

These delays are identified when a kid performs 25 to 30% below age standards in one or more of these areas (with adjustment for prematurity in affected children). Following the predicted sequence, progress happens at a slower than expected rate. There are several medical and environmental factors.

Some examples of physical or mental disorders likely to result in delayed development are:Chromosomal abnormalities, Genetic or congenital disorders, Severe sensory impairments, including hearing and vision, Inborn errors of metabolism, Disorders reflecting disturbance of the development of the nervous system, Congenital infections & Disorders secondary to exposure to toxic substances, including fetal alcohol syndrome.

Developmental delay is generally not curable, however it can be treated. Treatment programs may include: Individual and family therapies, Medications, Applied behavioral analysis, Occupational and speech therapy, Physical therapy, Special education and Treatment of underlying medical issues, if present.