Neurological Disorders in Children

Neurological Disorders in Children

Recently the discussion about neurological disorders in children came up and I said I would write an article. This is an area that tugs at my heart-strings as I have lived with it all of my life. It is hard for me however, to cover all areas in one article being that there is so much to know about neurological disorders. I am not going to research for this article I am going to write from what I have seen and lived through. This is strictly observed information and anyone with questions can ask and if you need further direction I will find information for you.

Now a days there’s a pill for everything, a diagnoses for misbehavior, and counseling for families. However, there is not preventative medicine.

If there is no way of identifying a problem it usually falls into the categories of the following these days.

  1. ADHD/ ADD
  2. Bi-Polar
  3. OCDC
  4. PST
  5. Neurological/TBI
  6. Birth Defects

However, no one is addressing some of the preventative factors that need to be addressed.

Did these problems just start creeping into our society or where are they coming from. Let’s break them done.

  1. ADHD is your Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, and ADD is your Attention Deficit Disorder. Now years ago they were over looked because our society was a different society with different activities and different rules. The hyper active child played outside usually was in sports, and was just considered an active child. The ADD child was considered shy withdrawn, and the child who in the classroom was ignored because they did ask questions, or bother anyone. Now society has changed along with rules. There is less out-door activity, longer periods of requiring children to sit still and school starts at a younger age. This is making it very difficult for the hyper active child. The quiet child now is becoming target as non-responsive, insubordinate and being bullied by fellow classmates. Not to mention that no where is anyone talking about the diets and the factors of artificial preservatives, pollutants, changes in food processing etc.
  2. Bi-Polar was unheard of before and is now being over diagnosed when people can’t find any other excuse. However, the bottom line is it falls into mental health and genetics.
  3. OCDC – Now why would a young child have an over active compulsive disorder of course it has to be neurological or genetic. But what do we do with it? That is a complex question that baffles the best of them.
  4. PST – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder use to be more related to sever catastrophes in one’s life such as being trapped in a burning building, an earthquake, a serious car accident, etc. Now it is associated with divorce, child abuse, domestic violence, etc.
  5. Neurological disorders or Traumatic Brain Injury can occur at birth as a birth defect, an injury during pregnancy or and injury after birth. The one thing that is common in all with TBI is their difficulty with copying with stress. That leads to anger outbursts and poor choices. However, some have found they can lead a fairly normal life on medication especially in the areas of seizure disorders, which is its own area of problems, and causes and can be either TBI,  genetics, or birth defects, etc.
  6. Birth Defects have been an anomaly for years. That is why it is hard to deal with because there are so many different ones from MS to Cerebral Palsy to many different types of Palsy, blindness, hearing loss, deformities etc. Many affected during the term of the pregnancy or related to the actual birth of the child.

However, in this day and age we are now being faced with the new factors of fetal alcohol syndrome and drug abuse. No one wants to talk about these or accept responsibilities for these problems however, society is responsible. We legalize alcohol and we ignore the youth pregnancies where many of these occur.

The bottom line is the body has its limitations. It doesn’t like synthetic elements and it rejects them. So you know that alcohol and drugs are going to impact any pregnancy.

I myself having had a seizure disorder from the age of seven fear anything that could affect my body or brain. There is nothing worse than experiencing the torture that the body goes through during a seizure.  Taking medications all your life isn’t an option anyone wants but it’s the least of the evils. However, then you have to worry about your kidney’s and your liver.  Why would anyone want to deliberately affect their body in such a negative way?

Children with a neurological disorder no matter what it is are going to go through the following phases in their lives:

1 I am different why?

2. I am stupid why?

3. No one likes me why?

4. I hate my life why?

5. I don’t fit in anywhere why?

6. What did I do to deserve this why?

7. I don’t want to live this way anymore what can I do to escape it?

8. How will I ever be successful at anything especially relationships?

Neurological disorders have the highest suicide rate of any other cause. The

reason is socially they don’t fit the norm of society.  They can’t always follow their dreams that everyone tells them everyone can have. They are frequently persecuted because they are misunderstood. The brain works differently. Most neurologically impaired children do not follow a series of three or four directions. However, parents spout of directions, pick up your clothes, clean your room take out the trash, do your homework. They are still back on pick up your clothes and when they don’t do anything but that they get scorned for not listening. It wasn’t that they weren’t listening they never got past processing in their memory bank more than the first direction. They same thing happens to them on a job and the boss or co-workers get furious with them and consider them lazy. They are not lazy they learn differently. They have to have steps broken down for them. Then when no one understands them they get frustrated and act out.

The doctors think they have all the answers when in reality they are setting many of these children up for failure. Instead of just saying try a pill and we will see if it works they need to be preparing parents, educators and community for social interaction but they don’t. They don’t understand how the child feels and the psychological damage that is occurring on a day-to-day basis.

I was fortunate because I had very loving parents, but they listened to the doctors who were better than than they are now. The one thing that I want to stress is that you don’t know with a neurological impaired child when learning is or is not taking place. You do not know when they are hearing you or not hearing you especially in the situation of a seizure. You cannot assume anything nor can you compare apples to oranges. Every neurological impaired child is different.

The most important thing to remember is that we don’t know everything that we need to know about the brain. It is a muscle that sustains our life and it works in miraculous ways. We cannot under or over-estimate it. It is for that reason we need to learn to teach children how to socialize correctly and be accepted into today’s society. We need to be cautious of medications that interfere with not only the ability to socialize but that will effect adult emotions and social interactions. We need to have not a partial understanding of the situation or just label a child to make them fit into a square peg. We need answers and they had better be correct as they will have a life long affect.

I am not a neurologist nor am I am medical doctor however; I have been a special education teacher for forty years and am now retired. I can give you examples of case studies I was involved with.

Case History 1: We will call her Sally. By the time she entered seventh grade she had already tried to commit suicide in sixth grade. She couldn’t read, she felt stupid; learning was difficult but not impossible. I watched her very closely every day and I believed she was having seizures. I called her mother to school and told her my feelings. She said no they’ve never found it. I told her to go back to the doctor that I was sure of it as I would catch her staring off into space. They had to hospitalize her for several days to do her EGG as they needed a longer period of time to see what was happening. Her parents were worried about her missing school. I said she’s not missing anything because she’s not learning get the medical taken care of. The results showed that she was averaging over one hundred seizures per minute. She was put on medication and the parents were grateful however, we still had to address her inability to read. We were able to contact the State School for the blind and get her on audio books for all of her texts as a severe learning disability. Now we watched a happy child start to blossom as she could have the texts listen and follow along. The medications controlled her seizures and she went on to complete high school.

Case History 2: We will call him Wally. Wally was a nice polite student and came to class and never changed his expression. It didn’t matter if it was a good day or a bad day he always had the same smile on his face. I could scold the class for not doing their homework and he wouldn’t change expressions. I called the parents to come in for a conference. Dad said there’s no problem he’s been like that since a small child. They lived on a farm and even as a baby when hurt he never cried. I told the father there was something wrong that I couldn’t put my finger on and I felt he needed a doctor. Dad said no and left. Within a couple of months Wally had gone into a coma. He was declared brain-dead. He had been going out to the garage and sniffing gas. Since a small child he had been around his fathers tractors and gas cans and liked the smell of gas. They didn’t expect him to come out of the coma. However, his parents weren’t ready to take him off of life support. Six months later he woke up. Wally proved the power of the brain he eventually regained most of his ability back and was able to lead a somewhat normal life.

Case History 3: We will refer to as Larry. Larry was definitely as ADHD as they came however, the medications weren’t working and the doctors were frequently changing them. Mom and dad were divorced. Larry spent the week with mom and the weekend with dad. Rules were different. No rules on the weekend and dad was an alcoholic. Mom was over concerned and over protective with strict guidelines. Mom contacted me at least three times a week at school so I was always watching Larry. I always knew when medications had been changed. Larry was a happy child just over active however, one Monday morning he came to school angry and depressed. I called his mother immediately and told her to get him to the doctor. She came got him from school and to him to see the doctor. His doctor told mom that had he gone another twenty-four hours he would have most likely been dead. His depression was at a critical level and they had to take him off the medication. It was a battle but the doctor said he couldn’t go to his father’s house until they got the medications under control. After that he got on the right medication and did well. However, had he not had a teacher familiar with medical problems it wouldn’t have been caught.

I could go on forever sighting case Histories but that is a book in itself. The problem that our society is facing right now is we are expecting parents, educators, and employers to be medically trained in areas they are not trained in. The average parent has no idea what to look for or what to do when there is a problem. If you life in a rural area it’s even worse because unless you have a rural doctor well versed who do you turn to. The average teacher has never been exposed to what they need to be monitoring plus with class sizes increase and fewer materials to use they don’t have the time or ability to follow through on these special needs. Employers worry about good workers, productivity, and liability. Anyone with severe health issues is a treat. There fore we don’t hire them even though they need to feel successful, they need to be productive, and they need acceptance in society.

Neurological problems can also be stemmed from one of our biggest fears and that is cancer. However, that one seems to bring more attention and empathy than any of the other neurological disorders.

We need as a society to accept all people regardless of abilities, disabilities, races, religions, sex, etc and find a way for all citizens to be productive so that we as a society do not take away their dignity and they can be productive within the restrains of the society in which they life. It starts at home with love and understanding; it goes to educating those who aren’t trained, and providing special programs and jobs for them. It is an area that our society has moved away from instead of moving towards.  There will always be people with disabilities. However, we need to do what we can to avoid the waste of a human life such as with fetal alcohol syndrome and drug abuse. Tougher monitoring of teen pregnancies needs to be enforced.


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