In clinical practice the onset of a new pathology mostly draws the patients’ and physician’s
attention. New manifestations that interrupt the pre-existing healthy condition of a
child are easily noticed by their parents or paediatricians, but the bio-psychic condition
in the age of development is not so stabilized as in adulthood. Therefore, it is extremely
important to focus the attention on the negative symptoms that are usually insidious and
difficult to recognise because they present themselves as “shortcomings” and that can be
the onset of a disorder. The non-development of a psychological function expected for
the age may not be a simple retardation, but it may be the first symptom of an atypical
development. By using selected examples, the article briefly summarises the most recent
tendencies of the literature and clinical practice for the early diagnosis and treatment of
the neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD). It also suggests some instruments that paediatricians
can use to identify the risk of onset of NDD.
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