Annette Karmiloff-Smith and Emily K. Farran

in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Across the Lifespan

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199594818
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738166 | DOI:

Series: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience


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This chapter discusses how a neuroconstructivist, multidisciplinary approach enriches our understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders. The neuroconstructivist approach raises cross-syndrome questions at multiple levels of analysis, such as: is this brain/cognitive/behavioural deficit syndrome-specific or is it syndrome-general, that is, is it characteristic of all atypical development where learning difficulties obtain or unique to a particular syndrome? It differentiates domain-relevant mechanisms from domain-specific or domain-general ones. It also searches for very low-level impairments in the neonate profile — at the levels of brain, cognition, and behaviour — that might affect gene expression and have cascading effects on developmental outcomes.

Keywords: neurodevelopmental disorders; neuroconstructivist approach; cross-syndrome; domain-relevant mechanisms; domain-general mechanisms

Chapter.  4502 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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