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Neuro disorders in children need early detection:experts

Written by: Staff

Chandigarh, Apr 2 (UNI) If your three-month-old baby does not look at bright objects or gives you a 'social smile', does not turn towards sound, is very stiff, has jerky movements or feeding difficulties, then the infant needs the care of a neuro expert.

Neuro-development disorders are conditions that adversely affect the neurological development of the child but these should not be confused with mental disorders, said Dr Pratibha Singhi, Department of Paediatrics, Postgraduate Institute of Medical and Research (PGIMER) here today.

Dr Singhi, while speaking at the workshop organised here on child neuro-development disorders, said that disorders have a wide spectrum from subtle problems to severe that affect the quality of life and may even be disabling for many children.

She said an understanding of these disorders is essential for diagnosing these in time. They should not be confused with mental disorders and early diagnosis is of utmost importance because ''plasticity'' of the brain is maximum in early childhood so that if one area of brain is damaged, the other area picks up the function of the damaged area, if properly stimulated.

She said children with such problems require a complete neuro-developmental assessment, psychological testing and use of some standardized tests. A multi-disciplinary approach is required including from paediatrician, psychologist, school teachers, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist and audiologists and most important is the involvement of parents and family, she added.

She informed, ''Some of these disorders may not have curative therapies but most of them have supportive and symptomatic therapies.'' She said parent counselling and behaviour counselling of the child are important. Sometimes, medications may also be useful like in control of seizure management of disruptive behaviours. She informed that the disorders also have wide variations like global developmental delay, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), learning disabilities (LD), autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), cerebral palsy (CP) and mental retardation.

Dr Singhi said early recognition of these disorders is must for early intervention. The warning signs in some disorders can be picked up very early in life, while in others they may be evident at somewhat later stages. She said children with ADHD are very fidgety, cannot concentrate and therefore, have problem in learning. They are otherwise normal children, often considered ''naughty'' become victims of anger by parents and school teachers and as a result, they develop secondary behaviour problems.

Dr Singhi said children with learning disabilities are diagnosed when they start going to school. They may have Dyslexia, if they have difficulty in writing spellings, speaking and listening. They may also have Dysgraphia, if they have severe difficulty with writing and may have reversal of letters like b and d, p and q.

She said children with Dyscalulia have difficulty with mathematics. Learning disablities tend to run in families and minor problems may be found in relatives, she added.

On children with autism, Dr Bhavneet Bharti, Department of Paediatrics, PGI said they are lost in their own world and have difficulty in communication and social interaction, have repetitive movements and are more interested in themselves than kids of their own age.

She said autistic children also have speech delay and cannot make appropriate friends and do not like to share their things and prefer to play alone. They may keep spinning objects like wheels or plates or lining cars, toys, glasses and may also keep collecting objects for no particular reasons and may have excessive arm flapping, hand clapping, rocking and odd body postures and very poor eye contact, she added.

Dr Bharti said children with carebral palsy are generally stiff and have difficulty in moving and controlling their body parts. They may also have associated epilepsy and other problems in hearing, vision and speech.


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