What Do I Need To Know About the Genetics of Neurodevelopmental Disorders?

Changes in genes are part of the cause of most neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). Some gene changes can be inherited within a family. People who carry these gene changes are born with them – they do not develop over time.

Learning why genetic testing is important can make a difference to your family member’s treatment and medical management. Genetic testing can also help you understand who else in your family may be at risk for a NDD. Finding a genetic cause for your family member’s NDD can help you:

  • Get better information about what to expect in the future
  • Learn about the chance of someone else in the family having an NDD, including future children
  • Choose the best treatment plan with your healthcare provider
  • End the search for an answer about why your child/family member has a NDD
  • Avoid other costly or invasive testing to find a cause for the NDD
  • Connect with other families in a similar situation

Sometimes genetic testing will not find an answer. Your healthcare provider will talk to you about the limitations and drawbacks of the testing, and if any other tests can be done to provide you with information. There are many different types of genetic testing, so it is important for your healthcare provider to order the right genetic test for your needs after a discussion with you.