Genes play an important role in  how children develop, whether they develop normally or not.

Genetics & Genetic Disorders

  • Genes also contribute to the risk or likelihood that a child will have a developmental delay or disorder (See other H4MC), including learning disabilities like dyslexia, or rarer conditions. These rarer conditions include disorders that are due to a specific single gene, like Phenylketonuria (PKU), or due to multiple genes or entire chromosomal anomalies like Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome).
  • Many of these genetic disorders can cause disturbances in how a child develops physically and they often also affect a child’s intellectual and learning abilities. Such children may be obvious in that they can look “different” or have clear physical handicaps. Other such children can appear perfectly fine on the outside with intellectual or learning symptoms that are harder to detect.

Early Intervention

When a child has a developmental delay or exhibits serious problems at birth or in the early years, it is important that the evaluator consider medical, neurological and genetic conditions, so that they can be ruled out. Fortunately, diagnostic tools are quite good today, and pediatricians are trained to make referrals to specialists if genetic conditions are suspected. That said, there is the occasional “miss” and some conditions go unrecognized until later in life.

Receiving Help

If you have a child with a diagnosed genetic condition or are about to go through a genetic evaluation (even before your child is born), you might want to consult the sites we provide links to on this page for more information. Many of these links also have parent groups where you can connect with other parents facing similar issues. Connecting with others is often a good thing to do.

In Merced County there are several places you can go for more information, guidance and help.  For local or nearby help see these links and other pages of this website:

Merced County on Genetics:

Valley Children’s Hospital Genetic Medicine and Metabolism (with satellite clinics in the Merced Area):

UC Davis MIND Institute (Neurodevelopmental Disorders:  and Genetics:

General Discussion

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