(DSM-V, 2013) A disorder that begins in the developmental stage, typically before the child begins grade school. The signs of this disorder constitute as a deficiency in producing personal, social, academic, or occupational functioning. The deficit can vary from very specific limitations of learning or control of executive functions to global impairments of social skills or intelligence. These types of disorders often co-exist with one another, for example a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will often also have some type of a learning disorder. These disorders consist of intellectual disability, communication disorders, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, neurodevelopmental motor disorders, or specific learning disorders.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 

(DSM-V, 2013) A disability showing signs concerning debilitating degrees of inattention, disorganization, and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity. The symptom of inattention and disorganization consist of the lack of skill in staying on task, appears to not listen, and loses items, at a degree that is not consistent with the individual’s age or development. The factor of hyperactivity-impulsivity consist of over-activity, fidgeting, inability to stay seated, intruding into other people’s activities, and inability to wait, at a degree that is not consistent with the individual’s age or development. During the childhood years ADHD often co-exists with other disorders like conduct disorder for example. In many cases, it continues into adulthood causing difficulties with social, academic, and occupational functioning.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

(DSM-V, 2013) A deficiency in social communication and social interaction in various circumstances that include a shortage in social reciprocity, nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, and skills in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships. This disorder also depends upon the existence of restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. Symptoms will change during development and can be covered by offsetting systems. Along this spectrum are characteristics that are defined by various specifiers when concluding on a diagnosis. 


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V). Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013.