Understanding typical and atypical neurodevelopment in children and adults

Cynthia A. Riccio, Linda Huilin Sun, Alyssa Gonzalez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

1 Scopus citations


Having an understanding that brain development precedes and is necessary for behaviors to occur is paramount to the understanding of brain-behavior associations. This is most evident when neurodevelopment is considered from a longitudinal perspective beginning at conception. Neurodevelopment is sequential, with functions of increasing complexity. Research indicates extraordinary changes to brain structure and function throughout development that parallels the capacity and typical development of behaviors whether sensory, motor, cognitive, academic, or social emotional. Neurodevelopment begins at gestation with indicators of typical or delayed development evident prior to birth. Risk factors have been identified for prenatal development. Similarly, factors in childhood and adolescence either promote or impede neurodevelopment as well. Understanding the developmental trajectory for typical development provides the basis for understanding and potentially intervening when the behavior and skill acquisition observed is not as expected. This chapter highlights what is known about typical and atypical development across the life span, with consideration of neural development as a foundation that interacts with environmental stressors, trauma or disease, or intervention. Although most neurodevelopment focuses on children and adolescents, neurodevelopment and associated changes in functional abilities continue into adulthood. A developmental perspective is particularly important in understanding behavioral manifestation across the life span and can inform professional practice for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUnderstanding the Biological Basis of Behavior
Subtitle of host publicationDeveloping Evidence-Based Interventions for Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9783030591625
ISBN (Print)9783030591618
StatePublished - Jun 13 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Atypical development
  • Brain behavior association
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental models
  • Neurodevelopmental trajectory
  • Neuropsychological function
  • Neuropsychology
  • Plasticity
  • Typical development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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