Definitions of Disorders

What is Autism?

Autism is a severe, lifelong neurological disability that is usually diagnosed between the ages of two and three. Autism interferes with the normal development of the brain in areas that control verbal and non-verbal communication, social interaction and sensory development. Raising a child with autism can be very demanding and affects everyone in the famiy.

Early intervention with intensive behavioral therapy may reduce, improve, and in some cases, alleviate certain symptoms. Currently, there is no consensus regarding the cause and there is no cure.

What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) is a neurobiological disorder. It is characterized by developmentally inappropriate impulsivity, inattention, and in some cases, hyperactivity. Although individuals with AD/HD can be very successful in life, without appropriate identification and treatment, AD/HD can have serious consequences. These consequences may include school failure, depression, conduct disorder, failed relationships, and substance abuse. Early identification and treatment are extremely important.

What is Selective Mutism?

Selective Mutism is an extreme form of an active childhood anxiety disorder where a child cannot speak in select settings, such as in school, despite their ability to speak normally in situations where they are comfortable, such as at home. Since over 95% of Selective Mutism children have social anxiety, the school setting in particular, can be extremely anxiety provoking.

Being unable to communicate verbally can be quite debilitating and painful for the child and family affected. These children often stand motionless with fear as they are confronted with specific settings. If left unchecked, the fear can grow and take over the life of the impacted individual.

Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens:

Bipolar disorder is a serious brain illness. It is also called manic-depressive illness. Children with bi-polar disorder go through unusual mood changes. Sometimes they feel very happy or "up" and much more active than usual. This is called mania. And sometimes, children with bipolar disorder feel very sad and "down" and are much less active than usual. This is called depression.

Bipolar disorder is not the same as the normal ups and downs every kid goes through. Bipolar symptoms are more powerful than that . The illness can make it hard for a child to do well in school or get along with friends and family members. The illness can also be dangerous. Some young people with bipolar disorder try to hurt themselves or attempt suicide.

Children and teens with bipolar disorder should get treatment. With the right kind of help, they can manage their symptoms and lead successful lives.

Non-specific Learning Disabilities:

A non-specific learning disability can be defined as a learning disorder in one or more basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language, which may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, read, write, spell or to mathematical calculations. Learning disabilities can include conditions such as pervasive developmental disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.

Children with non-specific learning disabilities may exhibit a wide range of traits, including problems in reading comprehension, spoken language, writing or executive functioning (reasoning ability). Hyperactivity, inattention and perceptual coordination problems may also be associated with this condition. Often these children present with a variety of symptoms including uneven and unpredictable test performance, perceptual impairments, motor disorders, and behaviors such as impulsivity, intolerance for frustration and problems in handling day-to-day school interactions.

Regulatory Disorders:

Regulatory disorders can be defined as disturbance in the capacity to habituate to sensory stimuli often when exposed to novel, repetitive non-monotonous sensory stimuli. A tendency to over or under-react to environmental stimuli and to become over aroused, easily-excited, irritated, angry, anxious, fearful or shut down and cut off, when exposed to novel sensory experiences such as crowds, loud or unexpected sounds, (e.g., vacuum cleaners, ticking clocks, thunder and lightening) and dissonant sensations (e.g., shirt tags, texture of some clothing, perceived foul odors). The diagnosis of regulatory disorder involves both motor or processing difficulty and a distinct aberrant presentation of behavior in one or more the areas of vision, touch, oral sensation, sound, smell or movement. Therapy often considers a combination of interventions including mental health, occupational therapy and educational support.