This is the 2007 version. Click here for the 2017 chapter 12 table of contents.

Developmental Disorders

A developmental disorder is a problem that interrupts the normal sequence of development by which people mature and learn skills. Developmental disorders include most of the well-known syndromes that include intellectual disabiliy, such as Down syndrome. Other developmental disorders affect only one isolated part of the intellect. An example is dyslexia (classified as a communication disorder in DSM-IV). Still other developmental disorders are complex syndromes with widely varying effects, such as autism. What all developmental disorders have in common is that they represent unusual limits or blockades on development.

What are developmental disorders?

DSM-IV covers developmental disorders under "Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy or Childhood." On coming pages we depart from strict adherence to the DSM-IV scheme in two ways: by using the term developmental disorders (which was used as a category in DSM-III but not in DSM-IV) and by taking a look at Down syndrome (which is almost ignored in DSM-IV).

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