Neurodevelopment is a term referring to the brain's development of neurological pathways that influence performance or functioning (e.g., intellectual functioning, reading ability, social skills, memory, attention or focus skills). When you learn to do just about anything, you are improving neurodevelopment. When you learn to ride a bike, play a musical instrument, improve your game of basketball, etc., your neurodevelopment can improve. As you improve, the structure of your brain changes and you usually get to keep the gains that you have made, especially if you stay at it long enough.
Just as you would engage in daily practice on a keyboard or piano to overcome a 'piano playing deficit' (i.e., learn to play piano or become a better piano player), you can use a similar process to improve a reading deficit, math deficit, social skills, speech, coordination, or attention deficit.
Some children may not need to spend as much time practicing to become a better piano player. These children might be called "gifted" or naturals at playing the piano. However, some children will need to invest considerable time and effort to become a better piano player, a better reader, a better speaker, more social, or pay attention better.
Neurodevelopmental "disorders" are characterized according to developmental deficits or delays that usually show up early in a child’s development, many times before the child enters elementary school, and can persist throughout the individual’s lifetime. These brain functioning challenges can affect a person’s emotions, behaviors, memory, attention, ability to learn, ability to socialize, and ability maintain self-control. They can be limited, for instance, to focus only or the deficits can be global and affect intelligence, learning, or social functioning.
Neurodevelopmental disorders, as defined in the DSM-5, include: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), communication disorders, intellectual developmental disorder, motor disorders such as tics, and specific learning disorders. It’s not unusual for these diagnoses to co-exist.
The goal of neurodevelopment is to achieve the highest level of functioning that is possible for that individual. The talented team at Brighton Center for Pediatric Neurodevelopment approaches each child, teen, and young adult as a complete, unique person, rather than just someone with a set of “symptoms” that needs to be corrected.
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