What is neurodevelopment?

Neurology is a branch of medicine that focuses on the nervous system, made up of the spinal cord and the brain. Neurodevelopment is the development of neurological pathways in the brain that are responsible for influencing mental functioning, including intellectual ability, reading, social skills, memory, attention and focus skills.

A child’s neurodevelopment is stimulated by learning and interacting with their environment. As they grow, they learn to speak, walk, play and understand social cues. Abnormal brain development may affect children’s memory, emotions and ability to learn, socialise or maintain self-control.

Problems with brain development can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders such as:

Gold StarAutism spectrum disorder (ASD)
This is a condition that impacts how a child perceives and socialises with others, causing problems with their social interaction and communication. Autism spectrum disorder also involves limited and repetitive patterns of behaviour.

Gold StarAttention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
This medical condition is associated with difficulties maintaining attention, managing energy levels and controlling impulses. Some children may find it hard to sit still.

Gold StarIntellectual developmental disorders
These are neurodevelopmental disorders that are characterised by deficits in general intellectual functioning like performing daily tasks or struggling to read or speak.

Gold StarCommunication disorders
These are conditions where the child has trouble communicating with others due to incomprehension or lack of ability to speak.

What causes neurodevelopmental disorders?

Neurodevelopmental disorders are caused by deviations in the intricate and precise development of the nervous system. Genetic abnormalities can cause this to occur, while factors such as trauma, infectious diseases, immune dysfunction, nutritional disorders, metabolic disorders and social deprivation may also affect neurodevelopment.

How are neurodevelopmental disorders treated?

Early intervention helps provide the best possible outcome for children with a developmental disorder. While there are no known cures for neurodevelopmental disorders, therapy and medication are often effective forms of treatment. Dr Nsele focuses on educating parents by offering in-depth, trusted information about their child’s condition in order to support them in managing the symptoms.


Can neurodevelopmental disorders be diagnosed at birth?

Yes, most neurodevelopmental disorders can be diagnosed at birth; however, some disorders may be diagnosed later when symptoms arise or when a child misses a developmental milestone.

What are the signs of a neurodevelopmental disorder?

The most common symptoms of the neurodevelopmental disorder include:

  • Gold StarSeizure
  • Gold StarDevelopmental delay
  • Gold StarRecurrent headaches
  • Gold StarStrokes
  • Gold StarMeningitis
  • Gold StarLearning disabilities
  • Gold StarCommunication disorders
  • Gold StarImpairments in hearing and vision
Will my child be referred to other specialists?

Depending on your child’s condition, Dr Nsele may refer you to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment.

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When should my child see a Paediatrician

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Visits with your paediatrician should begin as soon as your child is born. This allows you to become familiar with your child’s doctor, and also allows your child’s health to be monitored from an early age.

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