Medical Definition of Specific developmental disorder

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Specific developmental disorder: A disorder that selectively affects one area of development, sparing essentially all other areas of development.

For example, dysgraphia is one type of specific developmental disorder. In dysgraphia there is inability to write legibly. Problems in dysgraphia may include fine-motor muscle control of the hands and/or processing difficulties. Sometimes occupational therapy is helpful. Most successful students with dysgraphia that does not respond to occupational therapy or extra writing help choose to use a typewriter, computer, or verbal communication.

Specific developmental disorders are as opposed to pervasive developmental disorders (which affect development across the board), dyspraxias that affect multiple systems, cerebral palsy, and metabolic disorders.

See also developmental disorders, dysarthria, dyscalculia, dyslexia.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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