Neuropsychological Treatment of AADC Deficiency Patients

Brian Murphy, Ph.D. avatar

by Brian Murphy, Ph.D. |

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Children with aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency may experience a number of emotional and cognitive difficulties in addition to the motor symptoms caused by this genetic and neurometabolic disease. Neuropsychological treatment and support may be able to prevent complications and promote development.

What is neuropsychological treatment?

Neuropsychological treatment involves patients working with a neuropsychologist to diagnose and treat a number of psychological disorders caused by issues with the nervous system. These psychological disorders may lead to cognitive, behavioral, or emotional symptoms.

Why your child may need neuropsychological treatment

AADC deficiency can lead to a number of neuropsychological problems. Many patients have speech delays, are non-verbal, or experience other developmental delays.

Emotional and behavioral disorders also have been described in some children with AADC deficiency. These may include general uneasiness (dysphoria), rapid mood changes, irritability, and excessive crying.

What happens during an assessment?

A neuropsychologist will meet first with the child and one or more family members to review their medical history and symptoms. He or she then will conduct one or more tests depending on symptoms, to aid in making a diagnosis. After the tests, the neuropsychologist will go over the results with the child’s family and recommend possible treatments.

How neuropsychological treatment may help

Depending on the results of neurological assessments, your doctor may recommend specific medications and therapies. For speech delays, he or she likely will consult with a speech therapist to assign exercises and tasks for your child. These can improve the development of the muscles and skills they need for speech.

Neuropsychologists may recommend strategies to help your child deal with cognitive developmental delays that hinder their ability to think. They also may prescribe cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Some medications may help with behavioral or mood problems.  Antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

The neuropsychologist also may recommend support groups and counseling services for your family to ensure you are receiving the psychological support you need.


Last updated: Jan. 20, 2021


AADC News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.