Most developmental disabilities are caused by a complex mix of factors ranging from genetic issues to parental health and lifestyle during pregnancy (like smoking and drinking), birth complications, exposure to environmental toxins, to even infections that might have been contracted by the mother when the baby was in the womb.
Some of the main disorders that fall under developmental disability are –
- Mental retardation – Characterised by the limited ability to process, limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive skills.
The affected person can have difficulties with communication, conceptual skills, social skills, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and work.
Interventional strategies and individualised support is delivered to promote the development, education, interests, and personal well-being of the affected child, along with promoting self-determination and confidence.
- Cerebral palsy – Disorder caused by damage to the brain that may have occurred before, during, or shortly following birth. It affects body movement and muscle coordination and individuals with cerebral palsy may also have seizures, abnormal speech, hearing and visual impairments, and mental retardation. They may not be able to properly walk, talk, eat, or play.
- ADD / ADHD – A neurobehavioral disorders, characterised by problems with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination of all, which exceed the normal range of activity observed in average kids.
Treatment includes medical, educational, behavioural, and psychological interventions. ADHD is a lifelong disorder that can negatively impair many aspects of daily life if not treated, including home, school, work, and interpersonal relationships.
- Angelman syndrome – A genetic disorder in which a gene on chromosome 15 is missing or unexpressed. Children with Angelman Syndrome typically have developmental delays that are frequently evident between six and twelve months of age.
Symptoms include problems concerning movement and balance, frequent laughter and smiling, an easily excitable personality, hand flapping movements, hyperactive behaviour, and a short attention span.
Associated symptoms are seizures, movement problems, hypopigmentation, sleep and feeding problems.
- Bipolar disorder – A form of mood disorder characterised by a variation of moods that fluctuate between a manic phase of elation, hyperactivity and hyper imagination, and a depressive phase of inhibition, slowness to conceive ideas and move, and even anxiety or sadness.
It is a chronic condition that can be managed through medication, stress reduction, psychotherapy, counselling, dietary restriction, regular sleep and exercise.
- Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) – Neurological disorder that is characterised by reduced or impaired ability to discriminate, recognise, or understand sounds. The symptoms are highly individual, ranging from mild to severe with many different causes and expressions.
Speech-language pathologists and educational specialists can provide treatment strategies to help children with CAPD to combat the receptive, organisational and retention challenges caused by this disorder.
- Expressive Language Disorder – A developmental disorder where the infant may have problems expressing him or herself in speech. Characteristics may include limited vocabulary, difficulty recalling words and producing complex or lengthy sentences.
Expressive language disorders may interfere with academics and social communication and hence, speech therapy and social skills therapies from the initial days would benefit children affected by this disorder.
- Fragile X Syndrome – Is a genetic disorder that is the most common form of inherited mental retardation and occurs more in boys than in girls. Infants suffering from this disorder will typically have distinctive physical features, such as a long face, large prominent ears and hyperextensible joints.
It is a lifelong condition that has no cure but is treatable with behavioural and educational therapies.
- Learning Disabilities (LD) – They are a group of neurological disorders which become evident in childhood and which are characterised by difficulty in learning, sorting, and storing information.
Children with this condition may have difficulties with listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities, and in some extreme cases, with activities of daily living.
The disability is lifelong, but with proper intervention, training, and strategies, individuals can lead successful and fully functioning lives.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – Is a disability category that occurs as the result of an injury to the brain caused due to an accident, insufficient oxygen, or poisoning or infection at any time during the baby’s life.
It may result in impairment in cognition, language, social skills, memory, attention, reasoning, psychological functioning, information processing, or speech. Physical challenges would be related to ambulation, balance, coordination, fine motor skills, strength, and endurance.