Developmental Disorders

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July 2, 2013

What are developmental disorders?

Developmental disorders are disorders which occur during normal developmental growth which can occur from the time a fetus is in utero through childhood.  These disorders can be due to a number of factors, but in all cases there is either complete lack of, or, a delay in maturation of certain areas of the central nervous system from the brainstem, up to the higher brain centers.   Developmental disorders can present in a variety of ways, from delays in normal milestones as an infant, to difficulty with early learning tasks (such as words, colors, letters, numbers), as these children get older you may see signs of learning disabilities beginning to emerge such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, reading comprehension problems, reading rate problems, attentional issues, behavioral issues (such as aggression or rage). 

What are early warning signs of a developmental disorder?

  • Trauma during mother’s pregnancy
  • Trauma during birth (cesarean section, use of forceps or suction, difficulty with natural birth, cord wrapped around neck, etc.)
  • Poor APGAR test at birth
  • Infancy illness (born with a condition, child is always sick, or had a virus very early in life)
  • Delay in attaining infantile milestones
  • Never reaching some infantile milestones (i.e. never crawled, skipped right to walking)
  • Poor eye contact
  • Poor eating habits
  • Gastrointestinal dysfunction
  • Immune dysregulation
  • Delayed, or lack of, vocabulary
  • Progressing through milestones at a more rapid rate than typical (walked earlier than usual, spoke earlier than usual)

How do we treat them?

After a thorough history and examination by Maine’s only Chiropractic Neurology team, during which it will be determined which areas of the brain and musculoskeletal system are involved in the condition.   Once the diagnosis has been made, a treatment plan will be formed based on the findings in the examination, which will be focused on increasing activation to the brainstem, cerebellar and cortical regions which need attention.  This will be achieved via various functional neurological rehabilitation exercises both in the office and others that will prescribed for the patient to perform at home.  Some examples include optokinetic/eye movement exercises, balance and coordination therapy, music and light therapy, physical motion exercises specific for targeting the affected regions, among various other forms of rehabilitation therapies.