The invisible nature of neurodevelopmental issues aggravates the problem: Dr. Rahul Thakur
Neurodevelopmental pediatrics is an emerging branch having problems in social communication skills or attention deficit disorders along with associated neurological problems. Such situations can be present alone or in combination as a part of syndrome or with associated seizures:
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Dr. Rahul Thakur, Child Specialist, Dr. Thakur’s Pediatrics Care Centre, Patna, talks to ETHealthworld about the importance of awareness in neurodevelopmental paediatrics.
1. What does neurodevelopmental paediatrics deal with?
Neurodevelopmental pediatrics is an emerging branch of pediatrics which deals with children having problems in social communication skills or attention deficit disorders along with associated neurological problems. Such situations can be present alone or in combination as a part of syndrome or with associated seizures.
2. What are the red flags seen in a child having neurodevelopmental conditions?
Children usually have delayed or impaired speech, hyperactivity, reduced attention span, immature play or behaviour, certain children can have problems with the certain communication areas meaning the child could be extremely poor or shy. These children need to be looked into and assessed as they might be having attention deficit disorders, social communication problems, dyslexia etc.
3. What are the probable reasons for such conditions?
The exact reason has not yet been quantified but the causes are deemed to be multifactorial. Lot of factors combine to affect the developing brain to give rise to such chaotic neurodevelopment concerns.
4. What are the main areas of concern in such conditions?
The main areas of difficulty in the situation are social communication area where the child would be having impaired or delayed speech, immature or impaired understanding of common facial expressions and body gestures, etc. The next one would be in the area of social communication where the child would be having negligible or nil eye contact, doesn’t seem interested in having a reciprocal interaction, the child would appear to be very shy and there are some other areas like behavioural issues as well, where there is increased sensitivity to sound or smell and aggressive outbursts along with defined attitudes. These are the areas that are usually encountered.
5. What should be the approach or method in dealing with such conditions?
Dealing with such conditions really requires team work. So initially the child suspected to be having a probable underlined condition should have an expert neurodevelopmental assessment to formulate a proper diagnosis, following which there are relevant medications to be used in addition to structured support plan which is individual based depending on the problems along with the requisite behavioural therapies.
Here I would like to stress that early intervention and dealing with the problem is important because once it gets beyond a level then it is really very difficult to reverse the problems.
6. What message would you like to give to the parents or community at large?
The children with neurodevelopmental problems are not physically challenged and they look normal. It is this invisible nature of the problem which aggravates or increases the problem of awareness. The parents are not able to make out why this weird behaviour in the child. I would just like to lay stress on the fact that if the parents, doctor , community or the school if they feel that the child is having certain issues which are pointing out towards a probable neurodevelopmental problem. They should seek a neurodevelopment assessment and if there is one then they formulate a plan to get a relief.
7. After training in UK, how do you see Bihar placed in neurodevelopmental concerns?
Awareness is an overall problem because after my training in UK, I came to know this area of neurodevelopment and how to tackle it. Here the children are not physically disabled so there is invisible nature of the problem. Lack of education or poor socio economic status of the state adds on to the problem of creating awareness.
I have seen a number of patients who come in my clinic but the parents are not aware that their child is having neurodevelopmental concerns. They come there for some other problems which are taken care of and then they have to be explained and shown that these are the problems.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network.