Information for Patients
Developmental disabilities are severe, long-term problems. They may be physical, such as blindness. They may affect mental ability, such as learning disabilities. Or the problem can be both physical and mental, such as Down syndrome. The problems are usually life-long, and can affect everyday living.
There are many causes of developmental disabilities, including
- Genetic or chromosome abnormalities. These cause conditions such as Down syndrome and Rett syndrome.
- Prenatal exposure to substances. For example, drinking alcohol when pregnant can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
- Certain infections in pregnancy
- Preterm birth
Often there is no cure, but treatment can help the symptoms. Treatments include physical, speech, and occupational therapy. Special education classes and psychological counseling can also help.
NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Movement disorders are neurologic conditions that cause problems with movement, such as
- Increased movement that can be voluntary (intentional) or involuntary (unintended)
- Decreased or slow voluntary movement
There are many different movement disorders. Some of the more common types include
- Ataxia, the loss of muscle coordination
- Dystonia, in which involuntary contractions of your muscles cause twisting and repetitive movements. The movements can be painful.
- Huntington's disease, an inherited disease that causes nerve cells in certain parts of the brain to waste away. This includes the nerve cells that help to control voluntary movement.
- Parkinson's disease, which is disorder that slowly gets worse over time. It causes tremors, slowness of movement, and trouble walking.
- Tourette syndrome, a condition which causes people to make sudden twitches, movements, or sounds (tics)
- Tremor and essential tremor, which cause involuntary trembling or shaking movements. The movements may be in one or more parts of your body.
Causes of movement disorders include
- Damage to the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves
- Metabolic disorders
- Stroke and vascular diseases
Treatment varies by disorder. Medicines can cure some disorders. Others get better when an underlying disease is treated. Often, however, there is no cure. In that case, the goal of treatment is to improve symptoms and relieve pain.