Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

Black and white photo of two adult hands holding the feet of a small baby that is blurry in the background.
Figure 23.1 Understanding the psychiatric-mental health issues that can affect young people and older adults is important for a nurse to care for clients across the life span. (credit: “Ada’s feet” by Christian Haugen/flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Nurses should be aware of the ways that neurodevelopmental and neurocognitive disorders affect the brain and neurological systems function (Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], 2023). These disorders most often begin during a person’s developmental stages, such as in toddlers, children, and adolescents, but they persist into adulthood (Blain, 2022). Neurodevelopmental disorders have a genetic component, but can also be associated with environmental factors, such as lead exposure (EPA, 2023). Nurses have a role in educating clients about environmental factors that have the potential to cause or exacerbate these conditions. A child with a neurodevelopmental disorder can have “difficulties with language and speech, motor skills, behavior, memory, learning, or other neurological functions” (EPA, 2023, About the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Indicators section, para. 2). Nurses also have a role in performing and staying attuned to continued research on new treatments, medications, and preventive strategies for neurodevelopmental disorders.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Jun 12, 2024 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.