Annual Research Review: The transdiagnostic revolution in neurodevelopmental disorders

Duncan E. Astle, Joni Holmes, Rogier Kievit, Susan E. Gathercole

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Practitioners frequently use diagnostic criteria to identify children with neurodevelopmental disorders and to guide intervention decisions. These criteria also provide the organising framework for much of the research focussing on these disorders. Study design, recruitment, analysis and theory are largely built on the assumption that diagnostic criteria reflect an underlying reality. However, there is growing concern that this assumption may not be a valid and that an alternative transdiagnostic approach may better serve our understanding of this large heterogeneous population of young people. This review draws on important developments over the past decade that have set the stage for much-needed breakthroughs in understanding neurodevelopmental disorders. We evaluate contemporary approaches to study design and recruitment, review the use of data-driven methods to characterise cognition, behaviour and neurobiology, and consider what alternative transdiagnostic models could mean for children and families. This review concludes that an overreliance on ill-fitting diagnostic criteria is impeding progress towards identifying the barriers that children encounter, understanding underpinning mechanisms and finding the best route to supporting them.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Early online date23 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • learning difficulties
  • working memory
  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Developmental Language Disorder
  • ATTENTION-DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER
  • AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
  • REACTION-TIME VARIABILITY
  • POPULATION-BASED SAMPLE
  • SHORT-TERM-MEMORY
  • EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS
  • LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENT
  • WORKING-MEMORY
  • DEVELOPMENTAL DYSLEXIA
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES

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