Why Early Diagnosis of Neurodevelopmental Disorders is Important?

Being aware of yourself is very, very crucial so that you know how to navigate the world. By knowing yourself, you become aware of your temperament, personality, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. There, you can decipher which careers are suitable for you or choose your ideal mate, etc. You will also know what are your flaws and how to improve or minimize them. However, not all of us are aware of ourselves, especially if you have an undiagnosed neurodevelopmental disability.

Why is diagnosing neurodevelopmental disabilities important, especially early diagnosis?

To think of these conditions is daunting, what more is it’s disabling someone from doing things the neurotypical way.

For the first few months of a baby’s life, you can already see her progress. Usually, babies are sociable and curious; they try to explore the world, crawl, babble, coo, respond to their mothers and other people, and so on. But if you notice that she doesn’t react to a stimuli, that’s a different story already. In fact, pediatricians have the developmental milestone tracks of infants and children in general.

The Centers for Disease Control in America have some lists of developmental milestones by age:

Two Months[1]:

Social and Emotional

Begins to smile at people
Can briefly calm himself (may bring hands to mouth and suck on hand)
Tries to look at parent

Language/Communication

Coos, makes gurgling sounds
Turns head toward sounds

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

Pays attention to faces
Begins to follow things with eyes and recognize people at a distance
Begins to act bored (cries, fussy) if activity doesn’t change

Movement/Physical Development

Can hold head up and begins to push up when lying on tummy
Makes smoother movements with arms and legs

Nevertheless, you should call for attention immediately if you see the following signs in your child:

Doesn’t respond to loud sounds
Doesn’t watch things as they move
Doesn’t smile at pesople
Doesn’t bring hands to mouth
Can’t hold head up when pushing up when on tummy

Aside frome these, they have the complete lists and milestones per age from 4 months to 5 years. For the milestones, click here.

By recognizing deficits or differences in a child’s milestones can be very crucial for the child’s life. Although there can be ‘late-bloomers’, developmental delays shouldn’t be taken for granted as this can have consequences.

While autistic disorder is very obvious and therapies are often lifelong, its milder form usually has been taken for granted, leaving people who possess the latter unaware of the difficulties they face ahead. Although HFA (high functioning autism) children are able to speak at late toddlerhood (as opposed to autistic disorder who some of them learn to speak in late childhood or never speak at all), most HFA children don’t know about the semantics of social communication, which can have very negative effects on their well being when they become adolescents and adults like social isolation, communication difficulties, unemployment, and depression. The same also will happen if ADHD is not detected until adolescence.

As for children with dyslexia and dyscalculia, diagnosing them earlier, the better. If detected early, coping strategies will be made to accommodate learning difficulties in letters and numbers, respectively. If not given intervention, the same consequences may happen like the undiagnosed ADHD or autism.

If Tourette Syndrome is undetected, this could lead to labeling and bullying of other people, and also suffer the same consequences all other disorders could have.

To summarize, if neurodevelopmental disorders or learning disabilities are not diagnosed early, I listed its ill effects:

-Depression
-Anxiety
-Social isolation
-Unemployment/underemployment
-Underachievement
-Wrong choice of career/vocation
-Risk of substance/alcohol abuse
-Unstable relationships/divorce
-Mental breakdown
-Suicide

That is why early identification, diagnosis, and intervention is needed while the individual is young to avoid hardship as she grows and instead help her unleash her potential while managing her symptoms. More research and detection is needed in order to lessen the number of individuals with undiagnosed neurodevelopmental disorders.

Reference:
1. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/milestones-2mo.html

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