If you have a brother, nephew, uncle or some other member in your family with certain special needs, you will want to be cautious and mindful that many neurodevelopmental conditions have a high genetic component. Recent studies have indicated that genetics account for 70 to 80 percent of the risk of having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A 2004 study indicated that there is considerable evidence that demonstrates that genetics play a major role in the risk of having an anxiety disorder. It is important to realize that the risk factors are high; however, they are not necessarily 100%. This simply means that just because a parent or relative has a neurodevelopmental disorder, it does not mean that the child will exhibit the condition. What it does indicate is that the child is at a higher risk for the condition.
As a parent, it is important to realize that your child may be at risk for a condition if a relative has that same condition. Do not be alarmed; instead, be aware. Always pay attention to any concerns, seek out advice from your pediatrician, psychologist and/or developmental therapist.
There are numerous possible warning signs for the purpose of this blog; however, below is what to be on the lookout for:
- Does the child shy away from peers?
- Does the child have sleep onset issues?
- Does the child engage in behaviors such as picking, biting nails, pacing, etc.?
- Are there fixed routines that the child engages in?
- Does the child have difficulty focusing on work?
- Does the child require a lot of redirection and repetition of information?
- Does the child make careless errors with work?
- Does the child always seem to be on-the-go?
- Does the child struggle with initiating and sustaining appropriate eye contact?
- Are there language delays?
- Does the child avoid seeking out others for interaction?
- Does the child avoid engaging in nonverbal behaviors such as gesturing?
The information above should not be considered to be a diagnostic check sheet, but rather possible concerns that might require further assessment. Parents, if you know that there is a family history of a neurodevelopmental condition and you see any of the above signs or symptoms expressed in your child, it is then time to seek further guidance.