What Do I Need To Know About Neurodevelopmental Disorders?

At this point you have learned that you or someone in your family has a neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD), such as intellectual disability or an autism spectrum disorder. Your healthcare provider may have talked to you more about this or will do so soon.

What are neurodevelopmental disorders, and what causes them?

Neurodevelopmental disorders are differences in how your brain and/or spinal cord develop and function. Some of the more common NDDs are:

  • Developmental delay (DD)
  • Intellectual disability (ID)
  • Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Learn more about these NDDs here

There are many different causes of NDDs. Some people have an NDD because of an accident that injured the brain by depriving it of oxygen, or because of an infection in the brain. Others have an NDD because of a change in a gene. In fact, recent research has shown that changes in genes contribute to the cause of many NDDs.

Your healthcare provider can talk to you more about the likely cause of the NDD for you or your family member(s). There may be medical tests that can help find the cause of an NDD, such as blood and urine tests and/or imaging tests like MRI. This discussion may also include the possibility of genetic testing. Even with testing, many people with a NDD still don’t know the cause of their condition.