15 October 2010

Don't wait to treat your child

Elaine, the grandmother of 3-month-old Debbie, called me regarding her granddaughter’s condition. Concerned, she described to me that Debbie was not turning her head to the right side. She did not grab things with her right hand, and did not move her right leg. In addition, when picked up by her hands, she was pulling herself back, and did not try to hold her head in an upright position.
Her daughter-in-law consulted a paediatrician, and was promptly told, “There is nothing to worry about.” But Elaine, who grew up raising four children, knew that there was something wrong.
When the child was brought to me, I saw what Elaine had been talking about: Debbie had a “clenched fist” on her right side. She disregarded her right side as a whole: she did not want to turn her head, or move her right leg or arm. When she was pulled upwards from a lying down position, she did not tip her head forward.
All these are the first signs of cerebral palsy. Unfortunately not every paediatrician or physician is able to recognize them in their early stages. Thankfully for Elaine, she discovered it in time and we were able to reverse the effects of her granddaughter’s condition.
Development isn’t something that starts after a certain age. A child develops physically and mentally starting from pregnancy. This is why it is really important to talk to your child, and make him feel that he is a part of your life even before birth. Fresh foods (preferable organic fruits and vegetables) and fresh air are the best friends of your child. Remember that he deserves the best of what you can give him.
Once the child is born he begins to discover the world. His mental development is inseparable from his physical exploration. If a child moves—he learns. His discovery comes through touch (sensory development), speech and communication, and his daily function.
But if a child does not move, or is having difficulty reaching for an object, usually his parents are the first ones to do it for him. As a result of our “help,” he does not learn to do new things. In a way, we are discovering the world in his place, when it has to be opposite: he has to discover the world for himself, and by himself. We are here just to guide and assist his learning. This way we can teach a child to make his own decisions, and to discover the world on his own.
Life takes your child through the stages of development in a certain order with one goal in mind: to prepare him for the steps ahead. If you can see that your child is having difficulties achieving these milestones, this should ring an alarm for you.
Do not rely on the opinion of others. You are the ONLY person who really knows your child. Consult multiple child experts, and conduct as much research as possible. Look for a second or even third opinion. In some cases, look into therapies and additional services that may help your child.
The earlier you start up treatment, the easier it is to deal with the difficulties your child is facing. Stay positive. As a parent, you make all the difference in his development.

For more articles like this, visit www.enabledkids.ca.

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