Learning, Behavior, and Mental Health

Many people don’t know that dystrophin has an effect in the brain. It is important that healthcare providers talk with families about the learning and behavioral issues that can sometimes, but not always, be a part of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Learning and behavior issues are extremely variable; they may be a serious concern in some children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and no concern at all in other children. Healthcare providers should help families get an evaluation of learning abilities and help them access needed mental health support, speech and occupational therapies, and specific help in school.

Mental health

Healthcare providers should discuss mental health and quality of life with families and people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Healthcare providers also can provide referrals to psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers who can help caregivers and people with muscular dystrophy deal with their feelings and gain better coping skills.

To learn more:

  • Read PPMD's Fact Sheet on psychosocial health.
  • “Psychosocial” section of the TREAT-NMD recommendations
  • Poysky, J. Behavior patterns in Duchenne muscular dystrophy: Report on the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy behavior workshop 8–9 of December 2006, Philadelphia, USA Neuromuscul Disord. 2007 17: 986-94.