When we think of mental disorders or issues, it is easy to think of issues like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or phobias. ADHD or autism. Then we will examine what are the types of neurodevelopmental disorders, The category to which they belong.
Neurodevelopmental disorders or neurodevelopmental disorders are the set of mental disorders and difficulties that have their origin in non-neurotypical development of the brain or in the presence of alterations or lesions in its maturation.
They therefore have their origin in early childhood or during the developmental process, and can usually detect the first symptoms early.
The alterations caused by these disorders generate difficulties of varying intensity in the process of adaptation and social participation and / or in carrying out basic activities for survival. Subject’s activity is limited or modified compared to what would be usual in other subjects of the same age and the same conditions.
Types of Neurodevelopmental Disorders in DSM-5
The label of neurodevelopmental disorders encompasses a large number of disorders that share the aforementioned characteristics, although they show remarkable differences between them depending on the aspects affected.
Then we will observe the main groups of neurodevelopmental disorders envisioned by the latest version of one of the most important reference manuals, the DSM-5. For ease of understanding, disorders caused by the use of medical substances or illnesses are not included.
1. Intellectual disability
Intellectual disability is considered to be one of the disorders of neurological development, due to the fact that impairments or difficulties in intellectual functions appear. and in adaptive behavior in its conceptual, practical or social aspects, Which result in a possible limitation of the functioning of the subject and of one or more vital areas unless they have specific support.
This group also includes global developmental delay, which is diagnosed when it is not possible to assess the severity of the disorder in children under the age of five, even though it is observed to be unresponsive. expected development objectives. This diagnosis is provisional.
2. Communication disorders
Communication disorders are neurodevelopmental disorders in which the subject fails to communicate properly or learn to do everything and have sufficient mental capacity to do it.
Within this group of disorders are language disorder (formerly TEL), phonological disorder, pragmatic communication disorder or stuttering or early speech fluency disorder in childhood.
3. Autism spectrum disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by the presence of communication and interpersonal interaction difficulties, repetitive and restrictive behavioral patterns and interests. Those who suffer from it find it difficult to understand the rules that govern social interactions and to capture and express feelings, they usually have a literal oral language and be complex to grasp the intricacies and figurative uses of it, to present the preference and need for routine and monotony, and to resent change.
Although previously different disorders have been distinguished in this spectrum, such as Kanner-type autism and Asperger’s disease, it is currently considered a single disorder that encompasses them (While with prescribers).
4. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Another of the most well-known neurodevelopmental disorders, ADHD is a disorder characterized by the presence of typical symptoms of intention (such as difficulty in maintaining attention, errors due to inattention, high distractibility, non-performance of tasks, loss and forgetfulness of objects and activities, Mental absence …) and / or hyperactivity (excessive expression, motor restlessness, difficulty sitting or waiting for turns, interruption of the activities of others …).
Intentional and overactive symptoms may predominate or a mixed presentation may occur.
It is also possible to find cases in which there is no case of hyperactivity but only intention, which is now called attention deficit disorder or ADD.
5. Specific learning disability
A specific learning disability is understood to mean a disorder in which the subject has difficulty in acquiring and using academic skills, such as reading, writing and mathematics.
The individual has difficulty reading, interpreting and using language (eg grammar and spelling problems) and / or mathematical concepts. These difficulties are above what is expected of a person of the subjects’ age and intellectual capacity, Interfere in their academic activity.
6. Motor disorders
Another major group of neurodevelopmental disorders is motor, in which there are difficulties in aspects related to movement such as coordination or involuntary movements.
Within these disorders, we find the disorder of the development of coordination, that of stereotypical movements and tics. In the latter group, we find Tourette’s disorder, as well as persistent motor or vocal tics and transient tics.
This label is used in disorders related to neurodevelopmental disorders which cause the subject to affect certain or certain vital areas, but which do not meet the diagnostic criteria for any of the above groups of disorders.
For example, these disorders related to maternal substance use during pregnancy, Or in cases where there is not enough information available to classify the disorder in question.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.