Our program for infants, children, and adults strives to ensure the healthy development of, not just individuals, but entire families.
From screening, diagnosis and treatment, we provide services that regard all peoplewith dignity and respect, while helping them manage their illness in a way that interrupts their lives as little as possible. We give them hope through the knowledge that illnesses are treatable conditions and we are here to help.
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
Autism spectrum disorder is a highly variable neurodevelopmental disorder that first appears during infancy or childhood, and generally follows a steady course without remission. People with autism may be severely impaired in some respects but normal, or even superior, in others. Overt symptoms gradually begin after the age of six months, become established by age two or three years, and tend to continue through adulthood, although often in more muted form. It is distinguished not by a single symptom, but by a characteristic triad of symptoms: impairments in social interaction; impairments in communication; and restricted interests and repetitive behavior. Other aspects, such as atypical eating, are also common but are not essential for diagnosis. Autism’s individual symptoms occur in the general population and appear not to associate highly, without a sharp line separating pathologically severe from common traits.
Emotional symptoms of mood disorders are not the same for all people. Emotional symptoms of depression include:
- Thoughts of and attempts at suicide
- Loss of interest in activities that were pleasurable in the past
- Unyielding anxiety, sadness or feelings of emptiness
- Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness or guilt
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Emotional symptoms of mania include:
- Prolonged periods of elation
- Irritability, agitation or excessive energy
- Feelings of grandiosity
- Impulsive, risky or hedonistic behavior
An individual with inattention may have some following symptoms:
- Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
- Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task
- Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable
- Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
- Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
- Not seem to listen when spoken to
- Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
- Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
- Struggle to follow instructions
An individual with hyperactivity may have some or all of the following symptoms:
- Fidget and squirm in their seats
- Talk nonstop
- Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
- Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, doing homework, and story time
- Be constantly in motion
- Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities
Preschool signs and symptoms of learning disabilities:
- Problems pronouncing words
- Difficulty rhyming
- Trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, days of the week
- Difficulty following directions or learning routines
- Difficulty controlling crayons, pencils, and scissors, or coloring within the lines
- Trouble with buttons, zippers, snaps, learning to tie shoes
Ages 5-9 signs and symptoms of learning disabilities:
- Trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds
- Unable to blend sounds to make words
- Confuses basic words when reading
- Consistently misspells words and makes frequent reading errors
- Trouble learning basic math concepts
- Difficulty telling time and remembering sequences
- Slow to learn new skills
Ages 10-13 signs and symptoms of learning disabilities:
- Difficulty with reading comprehension or math skills
- Trouble with open-ended test questions and word problems
- Dislikes reading and writing; avoids reading aloud
- Spells the same word differently in a single document
- Poor organizational skills (bedroom, homework, desk is messy and disorganized)
- Trouble following classroom discussions and expressing thoughts aloud
- Poor handwriting
Cerebral palsy is characterised by abnormal muscle tone, reflexes, or motor development and coordination. There can be joint and bone deformities and contractures (permanently fixed, tight muscles and joints). The classical symptoms are spasticity, spasms, other involuntary movements (e.g., facial gestures), unsteady gait, problems with balance, and/or soft tissue findings consisting largely of decreased muscle mass. Scissor walking (where the knees come in and cross) and toe walking (which can contribute to a gait reminiscent of a marionette) are common among people with CP who are able to walk, but taken on the whole, CP symptomatology is very diverse. The effects of cerebral palsy fall on a continuum of motor dysfunction, which may range from slight clumsiness at the mild end of the spectrum to impairments so severe that they render coordinated movement virtually impossible at the other end of the spectrum.
Babies born with severe CP often have an irregular posture; their bodies may be either very floppy or very stiff. Birth defects, such as spinal curvature, a small jawbone, or a small head sometimes occur along with CP.
Symptoms may appear or change as a child gets older. Some babies born with CP do not show obvious signs right away. Classically, CP becomes evident when the baby reaches the developmental stage at 61⁄2 to 9 months and is starting to mobilise, where preferential use of limbs, asymmetry, or gross motor developmental delay is seen.
SENSORY INTEGRATION DYSFUNCTION
Sensory Processing Disorder can affect people in only one sense–for example, just touch or just sight or just movement–or in multiple senses. One person with SPD may over-respond to sensation and find clothing, physical contact, light, sound, food, or other sensory input to be unbearable. Another might under-respond and show little or no reaction to stimulation, even pain or extreme hot and cold.
In children whose sensory processing of messages from the muscles and joints is impaired, posture and motor skills can be affected. These are the “floppy babies” who worry new parents and the kids who get called “klutz” and “spaz” on the playground. Still other children exhibit an appetite for sensation that is in perpetual overdrive.
Children with Sensory Processing Disorder often have problems with motor skills and other abilities needed for school success and childhood accomplishments. As a result, they often become socially isolated and suffer from low self-esteem and other social/emotional issues.
These difficulties put children with SPD at high risk for many emotional, social, and educational problems, including the inability to make friends or be a part of a group, poor self-concept, academic failure, and being labeled clumsy, uncooperative, belligerent, disruptive, or “out of control.” Anxiety, depression, aggression, or other behavior problems can follow.
SPINAL AND CEREBRAL DAMAGE
- Brain Injury
The brain is the control center for all of the body’s functions, including conscious activities (walking, talking) and unconscious ones (breathing, digestion). The brain also controls thought, comprehension, speech, and emotion. Injury to the brain, whether the result of severe trauma to the skull or a closed injury in which there is no fracture or penetration, can disrupt some or all of these functions.
- Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injury involves damage to the nerves within the spinal canal; most SCIs are caused by trauma to the vertebral column, thereby affecting the spinal cord’s ability to send and receive messages from the brain to the body’s systems that control sensory, motor and autonomic function below the level of injury.
In every cell in the human body there is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes. Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.
This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm – although each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.
O-TYPE LEGS / X-TYPE LEGS / FLAT FOOT
Scoliosis is a lateral (toward the side) curvature in the normally straight vertical line of the spine. When viewed from the side, the spine should show a mild roundness in the upper back and shows a degree of swayback (inward curvature) in the lower back. When a person with a normal spine is viewed from the front or back, the spine appears to be straight. When a person with scoliosis is viewed from the front or back, the spine appears to be curved.
- Strain – trauma to a muscle due to overstretching and tearing of muscle fibers
- Sprain – an injury in a joint, caused by the ligament being stretched beyond its own capacity
- Bone fracture – break in the bone
- Torticollis is a fixed or dynamic tilt, rotation, or flexion of the head and/or neck. The type of torticollis can be described depending on the positions of head and neck.
- Aterocollis : the head is tipped toward the shoulder
- Rotational Torticollis : the head rotates along the longitudal axis
- Anterocollis : forward flexion of the head and neck
- Retrocollis : hyperextension of head and neck backward
(GROSS MOTOR/FINE MOTOR/COGNITION/LANGUAGE/SOCIAL RETARDATION)
Child development refers to the process in which children go through changes in skill development during predictable time periods, called developmental milestones. Developmental delay occurs when children have not reached these milestones by the expected time period. For example, if the normal range for learning to walk is between 9 and 15 months, and a 20-month-old child has still not begun walking, this would be considered a developmental delay.
Developmental delays can occur in all five areas of development or may just happen in one or more of those areas. Additionally, growth in each area of development is related to growth in the other areas. So if there is a difficulty in one area, it is likely to influence development in other areas (e.g., social and emotional).
Risk factors for developmental problems fall into two categories:
Children are placed at genetic risk by being born with a genetic or chromosomal abnormality. A good example of a genetic risk is Down syndrome, a disorder that causes developmental delay because of an abnormal chromosome. Environmental risk results from exposure to harmful agents either before or after birth, and can include things like poor maternal nutrition or exposure to toxins or infections that are passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy. Environmental risk also includes a child’s life experiences. For example, children who are born prematurely, face severe poverty, mother’s depression, poor nutrition, or lack of care are at increased risk for developmental delays.