What Are Disorders of Psychological Development?

This term, “Disorders of Psychological Development,” refers to a wide variety of developmental disorders. It includes the more commonly discussed disorders, such as Autism and ADHD, and lesser know developmental disorders such as learning disabilities, communication disorders, coordination disorder, Genetic Disorders (such as down syndrome), and Tic Disorders (such as Tourette’s).

Learning Disabilities and Communication Disorder

It can be worrying if your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability or a communication disorder. You may feel as though this struggle to comprehend and communicate might be a hard challenge to overcome. There are services that can help anyone overcome this communication barrier.

The most common treatment for language disorders is speech therapy. Simply put, it is comprised of an assessment and then implementation that helps individuals overcome speech or language impairments.

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Coordination Disorder

Coordination disorder is a developmental delay that affects a child’s motor skills. In other words, it is a delay in the development of motor skills. Motor skills are things such as tying shoes or going down the stair. This disorder challenges a child’s ability to do everyday tasks.

Diagnosis requires a physician. They will assess that the coordination problem is not because of any underlying injury or disorder and they will determine if there are any other underlying disorders present. It is important to understand that developmental coordination disorder can exist by itself or it can be accompanied by other disorders.

Genetic Disorders (Such as Down Syndrome)

As the name might suggest Genetic Disorders are caused by mutations in an individual’s genes. 

Some genetic disorders, such as a heart defect, might be repaired with heart surgery; to correct the defect. On the other hand, Genetic disorders such as down syndrome have no established cure. There are research studies and focus group studies, but nothing has been established to ‘cure’ down’s syndrome. Early intervention, educational program, health care, therapy, the list goes on. Again, none of these treatments cure the disease, they simply make life for individuals with the disorder easier.

Genetic Disorders are not easy to spot. Warning signs include physical characteristics like misshapen teeth, webbed fingers, unusual birthmarks, ear abnormalities, etc. Some children might have these unique features and be perfectly healthy. The same thing can be said about a child who has none of these features; he/she could potentially have a genetic disorder. The best way to determine if an individual has a genetic disorder is through genetic testing.

Family history has a big impact. If there is a history of genetic disorders in the family, it could provide a clue into a genetic diagnosis. Please speak with your primary physician if you believe you or your child has a genetic disorder.

Tic Disorder (Such as Tourette)

We have all experienced a spasm-like involuntary movement of a muscle. In most cases, tics and twitches are momentary. But in some, there may be a tic disorder. Although most people refer to tics and twitches as the same thing, they are very different.

There are two different kinds of tics; motor and vocal. Motor tics are those like head-jerking, nose-twitching, or shoulder-shrugging. Vocal tics are when someone utters sounds unintentianally. Tics are often repetitive; an example could be having a reoccurring nose-twitch. Tics do have different severity levels. Complex motor tics could potentially involve someone reaching out and touching something repeatedly. One could suppress a tic, but eventually, they’d feel discomfort. The only way to relieve the discomfort is by performing the tic.

Twitches are isolated occurrences. They cannot be controlled or suppressed. They are entirely involuntary. For example, a muscle twitch, such as an eyelid twitch, is involuntary and an isolated occurrence.


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