Children with a dysfunction in any part of the brain suffer from a neurological disorder. Such dysfunctions lead to developmental problems. The symptoms may be physical as well as psychological. The following discussion explains various disorders and the effects of neurological disorders in children.
Neurological Disorders Causes
Neurological disorders in children can be caused due to any of the following reasons.
In many cases, parents pass down such disorders to their children through their genes. On the other hand, gene mutations during fetal development can also affect the development of the brain and the nervous system.
Neurotoxins are harmful substances which affect fetal brain development during pregnancy. These toxins include alcohol, lead, mercury and certain food additives. They are passed down to the fetus through the placenta. As a result, children may be born with intellectual or behavioral issues.
This is a condition which causes damage to the brain due to low oxygen supply. It may occur during fetal development in pregnancy or due to complications at delivery. As a result, the affected child may show intellectual problems or suffer from other common neurological disorders like epilepsy.
Some neurological disorders in children develop due to postnatal infections. The most common of these infections are encephalitis – brain inflammation – and meningitis – pathogenic infection. As a result, the affected children suffer from memory issues, speech impairments, behavioral problems and other associated issues.
Any traumatic injury caused to the brain or spinal cord can also be responsible for neurological disorders in children. The severity of the disorders depends on the injury and the affected part of the brain.
Most Common Neurological Disorders in Children
Listed below are some of the most commonly occurring neurological disorders in children. The discussion also provides brief information about the causes, effects and neurological disorders symptoms.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
This disorder is caused when a woman consumes alcohol during pregnancy. The alcohol passes to the fetus and deprives it of nutrients and oxygen. As a result, the alcohol damages several organs. In this case of damage to the brain, the following symptoms occur.
- Difficulty maintaining focus
- Poor judgment
- Intellectual impairment
- Delayed development related to speech, movement and social skills
- Learning disability
Attention deficient disorder is a very common behavioral disorder which begins in childhood and may be carried on to one’s adulthood. Doctors also call it hyperactivity disorder. This is because the affected children display a restless or hyperactive behavior. The common cause of this condition is hereditary. It may also be caused by other factors which damage brain development. These include neurotoxins, exposure to pesticides, exposure to tobacco smoke and brain injury. Listed below are the most common symptoms exhibited by children suffering from ADHD.
- Restless behavior or fidgeting
- Being overly talkative
- Inability to focus for long on one task
- Being generally inattentive
This condition is marked by seizures. It affects different aspects of a child’s life including social behavior and learning capabilities. However, it has been observed that in 70 percent of the cases of childhood epilepsy, the condition is alleviated as a child grows older. Other than seizures, the most common symptoms of the condition are described below.
- Showing sudden unresponsiveness for a few seconds
- Being alert immediately after a seizure
- Not remembering a seizure episode
- Having one to several seizures in a single day
The most common indication of cerebral palsy is a delayed development. This is when infants are unable to sit, crawl, walk or cross other developmental milestones at the right age. Other symptoms of the condition are listed below.
- Floppy muscle tone
- Muscle spasms
- Poor reflexes
- Difficulty swallowing
- Not walking by the age of one year to eighteen months
- Unable to form sentences by the age of two years
Rare Neurological Disorders in Children
Here are some rarely occurring neurological conditions which affect children.
It is a genetically inherited disease. When it occurs in infancy, it is referred to as Type II Schindler disease. Affected children fail to survive beyond the age of three to four years. The common symptoms include mental retardation, seizures as well as blindness in severe cases.
This condition occurs due to the formation of a cyst in the spinal cord. It can be due to a birth defect, trauma or poor brain development. The common symptoms include weakness, pain, frequent headaches and poor bladder control.
This is a metabolic disorder which leads to developmental delays. It is marked by symptoms including seizures, involuntary movements of the limbs and general mental retardation.
This neurological condition is associated with the muscles. The common symptoms include muscle contractions, repetitive blinking and tongue protrusion.
This syndrome occurs due to damage to the human brain. It is marked by memory loss and dementia. Other common symptoms include recognition inability, not experiences feelings of fear and anger and losing attention and focus easily.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about neurological disorders in children.
What is a developmental disorder?
It is a set of psychiatric conditions which occur due to brain impairments or damage. It may lead to various effects of neurological disorders in children. These include disorders related to learning, language and muscle movement.
What is the most common developmental disability?
Mental retardation has been observed to be the most commonly occurring developmental disorder. It affects the intellectual abilities and everyday skills of children.
What are some of the symptoms of developmental delay?
You can identify developmental delay by the following symptoms.
- Not responding to sounds
- Being unable to support head by the age of three months
- General muscle stiffness
- Difficulty bringing objects to mouth
- No rolling over by the age of four to seven months
- No crawling by the age of eight to twelve months
Is autism considered a neurological disorder?
Yes, autism – referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder – is a neurological disorder which affects the behavior and social skills of children. It is caused by brain damage which may occur due to various reasons, such as brain inflammation.