‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’ – Foreword from Guest Editor Dr Mark Lovell

Dr Mark Lovell


Dr Mark Lovell is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Intellectual Disability Psychiatrist, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. He is an ACAMH Board Member and the Lead for CPD and Training.

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This edition of The Bridge concentrates on Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Research, particularly on treatments in children within the neurodevelopmental arenas is limited and in many ways behind general mental health research for children or adults. In this Bridge, there are summarised versions of JCPP (ACAMH’s world-leading multidisciplinary child and adolescent mental health journal) papers on the topics of speech, language and communication, ADHD and ASD, highlighting the advancement of research in these areas. It is acknowledged that more research is required to produce evidence-based treatments, and even more work is required to get them from scientific papers into clinical practice, but also that this is a stepwise process with understanding the conditions from a scientific perspective being part of it.

Mary Busk and Sue North from NHS England have also contributed updates and their views on the importance of identifying an Intellectual Disability for parents, carers, services and where national policy has a part to play. Mary has also contributed a separate piece on the importance of research for children with neurodevelopmental conditions.

Neurodevelopmental disorders are getting increased national attention, particularly in England, with the next 10 year NHS plan including Learning Disabilities, Autism and Mental Health as priorities and next steps for the transforming care agenda (home not hospital, for people with Autism and or Intellectual Disabilities) being considered. Prescribing practices in people with Intellectual Disabilities by GPs are being reviewed by Public Health England as part of the STOMP-LD agenda and Health Education England have recently concluded a project on workforce and are now progressing with considering other aspects of Intellectual Disability services eg leadership. The Royal Colleges of Psychiatry, Paediatrics and Child Health and General Practitioners are all working towards a joint response to the Lenehan report ‘These are our children’ which highlighted the issues faced by a select complex group of children with Intellectual Disabilities and/or Autism concentrating on their care, support and treatment. The government’s green paper on education and mental health highlights vulnerable groups which include children with neurodevelopmental disorders. There have also been updates recently to NICE guidance on ADHD, ASD and a new guidance on services for people with behaviour that challenges, to supplement the guidance on assessment and treatment for this group.

This edition of the bridge is timely, with the publication of the Intellectual Disability Topic Guide, which includes an extended version of the IDIDA2H© framework.

I hope that you enjoy reading this version of the bridge, please feel free to share this and the direct links below with colleagues. Email publications@acamh.org with details of what you’d like to see in future.

Dr Mark Lovell, ACAMH Lead for CPD and Training

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Articles from this edition

The importance of identifying

Machine learning improves ADI-R efficiency

Children with ASD show intact statistical word leaning

Children with a language disorder are vulnerable to sexual abuse

Parent-delivered teaching supports children’s early language development

Routine screening is needed to identify language problems in children with ADHD

Early speech sound disorder alone confers a low risk on reading difficulties

Research issues for children, young people and adults with learning disability and/or autism and their families – some personal reflections

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