Neurological disorders affect the way the brain or nervous system functions with symptoms that vary depending on where the dysfunction occurs. The sooner a neurological disorder is identified, the better it is for your child. Undiagnosed disorders can cause a great deal of difficulty that will seriously lower the quality of life for your child. A correct diagnosis and treatment can give your child the childhood they deserve.
Causes of Neurological Disorders in Children
Neurological disorders can occur for a number of different reasons. They can also result at any time from before a child is born to later in life. In very few circumstances, there is no obvious cause of the disorder, which are considered idiopathic. Most disorders, however, fall into one of the following categories:
Congenital (or present at birth) – These involve gene or chromosome abnormalities, metabolic disorders, or congenital malformation.
Pre/Perinatal – Factors that fall into this category include such things as difficult delivery, low birth weight, lack of oxygen, infections, or environmental toxins.
Acquired – These occur some time after birth and can include traumatic brain injury, immune disorders, infections, spinal cord injuries, tumors, or environmental toxins.
Symptoms of Neurological Disorders in Children
Symptoms of a neurological disorder will depend on where the abnormality or injury occurs. The symptoms can be either physical, psychological, or a combination of both. The major early signs for a neurological disorder include:
Poor muscle coordination – This can be seen at about the time a child starts to crawl or walk. The symptom shows in a dragging walk, crouching rather than standing straight and walking on toes.
Spasms/Seizures – These are uncontrollable jerking motions and can appear as a problem in one limb or the entire body. Wherever these occur, it is a strong sign of some type of epileptic disorder.
Muscle tone issues – If your child seems to walk or move in a particularly stiff manner or doesn’t seem to be able to control their arms and legs, making them appear floppy like that of a doll, this is an indication that evaluation is necessary.
Concentration issues – Attention issues can manifest themselves in two extremes. On one hand, your child may not be able to focus on anything for very long. While the ability to pay attention increases as a child ages, those with neurological disorders don’t show progression. On the opposite extreme is the child that focuses so hard on one thing that the rest of the environment goes unnoticed.
Finding a neurological disorder early gives your child the best chance of living a close to normal life. Many neurological disorders in children will require some form of treatment throughout life, but early intervention makes it possible to minimize the problems associated with a disorder of this type. If you notice any delays in development in your child, have them evaluated by our pediatric neurologist at Complete Neurological Care as soon as possible.