Communication Disorders like reading disability, autism spectrum disorders and language delays all follow the same basic principles, according to quantitative behavioral genetic studies:
- Complex abnormalities have complex causes, with multiple genes influencing each clinical disorder
- At least a fraction of behavioral related disorders are affected by the same genetic makeup.
These principles have been confirmed by the recent development of molecular and statistical methods, which are now leading to a clearer appreciation of the genes associated with these mental illnesses and how their interruption may affect cognitive development.
The genes involved in these disorders are expected to form a network of interlinked neurologic functions, with fluctuations of many elements of this network producing sensitivities to various disorders. This awareness would shed light on the underlying deficiencies in these disorders and lead to new diagnostic paradigms. These objectives, nevertheless, are still a long way off. It takes a long time to identify individual genes in a network like this, and there have been some conflicting studies along the way. Many of these concerns are being gradually clarified thanks to advancements in study design and extra-functional analysis of genetic makeup.
Molecular genetic analyses, when integrated with cautious phenotypic research, can reformulate clinical concepts of communication disorders and leverage their treatment.