Neurological Differences

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) – a group of disorders that includes Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD NOS). Individuals with ASDs demonstrate deficits in social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication, and show repetitive behaviors or interests. Each of these symptoms can run the gamut from mild to severe and presents differently in each individual.

Attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorders (ADD or ADHD) – a group of disorders that includes three subtypes, including Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive, Predominantly Inattentive and Combined Types. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty managing behavior and inhibiting impulses, and hyperactivity (over-activity)—and the subtype names are used as descriptors based on which of these areas of functioning are affected.

Learning disabilities – a group of disorders defined by the fact that those affected are not achieving academically in a way that reflects the potential demonstrated by their intellect. These include Disorder of Written Expression, Mathematics Disorder and Reading Disorder.

Tourette Syndrome – a genetically determined disorder characterized by childhood onset and the presence of tics—which are defined as sudden, repetitive, nonrhythmic and stereotyped motor movements or vocalizations involving discrete muscle groups.

Mood disorders – a group of disorders where mood regulation deviates substantially from the norm and affects the person’s ability to function. These include Bipolar Disorders, Major Depression, Dysthymia, Cyclothymia and Depressive Disorder NOS.

Anxiety disorders – a group of disorders where anxiety management difficulties are a central feature. These include Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder (with or without Agoraphobia), Specific Phobia, Social Phobia, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Anxiety Disorder NOS.

Traumatic brain injury – as a general descriptor, this category is used to describe any injury to the brain caused by accident or other trauma. It is different than brain differences caused by development and/or genetics in their origins, but depending on the location and severity of the brain damage, the symptoms can be quite similar to those seen in various specific mental disorders. 

Seizure disorders – often referred to as epilepsy, this disorder is defined by the presence of transient symptoms of abnormal, excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain. The observable result can range from involuntary thrashing movements (tonic-clonic seizure) to sudden slumps in body posture, or may involve fewer muscle groups and present as mild or brief losses of awareness.