Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry Special Interest Group

Aims and objectives

In response to the growing recognition of the clinical importance of neurodevelopmental factors (such as autism and ADHD) in all age groups and at all ability levels as well as in many of the psychiatric syndromes, the Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry Special Interest Group (NDPSIG) will:

  1. Promote a wider discussion and understanding of neurodevelopmental disorder across the whole field of psychiatry
  2. Support clinical and academic development
  3. Enable a coordinated approach to policy issues
  4. Facilitate better links with other organisations in this field.

NDPSIG is open to all members of The Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Members and Associates may join here.

Anyone wishing to be enrolled in the Freedcamp discussion forum, should send a separate email to tpberney@gmail.com and put 'FREEDCAMP' in the subject line.

Others may be invited to join at the discretion of the chair.


Although neurodevelopmental disorder forms a significant component of the work of all psychiatrists, it is only lately that this is being recognised. The concept started with specific disorders (such as Autism, ADHD and Tics) and disabilities (such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Sensory sensitivities). It is now part of the public psyche with the concept of neurodiversity, the presence of symptoms and subclinical disorder in the general population.

Historically, psychiatry considered conditions such as autism and ADHD to be the remit of child and ID psychiatry. The realisation that neurodevelopmental conditions persist into adulthood, occur in the general population and go with a proneness to a variety of psychiatric disorders, has made them the business of the whole of psychiatry.

While neurodevelopmental conditions must be identified and managed in their own right, they have a wider relevance in that their presence colours both the presentation and the management of psychiatric disorders. Not only can they be mistaken for other disorders (e.g. autism being taken for schizophrenia or emotionally unstable personality disorder) but their association with an increased prevalence of other problems (e.g. depression co-occurs with autism, offenders have ADHD) means that they will be encountered by all psychiatrists, whatever their speciality.


The SIG in Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry was established to:

  • Provide a forum for psychiatrists interested in neurodevelopmental disorder.
  • Encourage a neurodevelopmental approach to psychiatry. Thus, the routine of an assessment should include not just the premorbid personality, but also an appreciation of the individual’s development. Psychiatrists should recognise the significance of neurodevelopmental symptoms and take account of them in their research and clinical management.
  • Facilitate an informed and coordinated approach by the College in its policies and responses to governmental and other initiatives.
  • Encourage the development of links with other groups outside the College concerned with research and practice in this field.


  • The SIG holds academic meetings twice a year that aim to address broader neurodevelopmental issues of interest to all psychiatrists. This programme builds on the variety of available meetings dedicated to specific disorders that are provided by other agencies.
  • It hosts two Community of Practice Groups, each of which meets quarterly, to focus on academic and clinical practice with:
    • autistic adults who do not have a substantial Intellectual Disability
    • ADHD in people with Intellectual Disability.
  • It maintains pages on the College’s website and an internet discussion forum (which uses Freedcamp).
  • The College’s Autism Champion leads the Autism Programme with representation across the College and the UK.
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