More than one in seven children suffer from developmental disorders today. But this doesn’t mean change isn’t possible. The brain is enormously malleable, or plastic, and with the right input on a consistent basis using functional neurology, we often can improve brain function.
Common childhood brain development disorders today include:
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Asperger’s syndrome
- Developmental coordination disorder (DCD)
- Nonverbal learning disability (NLD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
- Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Chronic allergies, asthma, eczema, digestive disorders
How brain development disorders arise
These disorders can arise for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Environmental toxins interfere with normal brain development.
- A viral or bacterial infection interferes with brain development.
- The child has an autoimmune reaction against neurological tissue that prevents normal brain development and function. This can be passed on in utero from the mother or develop in early life due to an environmental, viral, bacterial, or dietary trigger.
Poor brain development unfolds in a variety of ways. For instance, important milestones in brain development, such as crawling, may be skipped. The brain is a highly complex network of multiple pathways. Proper formation of this network of pathways depends in part on the child going through each milestone of development.
When the brain fails to develop correctly, one hemisphere grows more slowly than the other, giving rise to various disorders that are either left-brain dominant or right-brain dominant. This is why we see kids who are intellectually advanced (left brain) yet socially and emotionally delayed (right brain). As this imbalance progresses, the brain finds it increasingly difficult to network between the hemispheres, causing poor function.
Also, infections and autoimmune attacks against areas of the brain sabotage proper development and hinder function in those pathways. For instance, the basal ganglia, which helps regulate involuntary motor movements, is a common site of viral and autoimmune attack. This can cause disorders such as PANDAS, OCD, Tourette syndrome, and tics.
Start with metabolic health of the brain
Functional neurology also includes addressing the metabolic health of the brain. If the brain is struggling with inflammation, iron deficiency, blood sugar imbalances, or chronic poor health from a bad diet, it will not respond as well to rehabilitation. Additionally, children’s brains require ample healthy fatty acids — EPA and DHA.
Metabolic issues to look out for with brain development disorders include:
- Inflammatory foods (sugars and junk foods) and food intolerances
- Chemical sensitivities
- Chronic infections — bacterial, fungal, or viral
- Digestive issues and leaky gut
- Autoimmune disease (when the immune system attacks and destroys tissue in the body, which can include the brain)
Functional neurology brain exercises for brain development disorders
Fortunately, functional neurology can address brain development disorders.
The types of brain rehabilitation a child needs depends on patient history and a functional neurology examination, which assesses brain function, areas of under and over development, and areas that are over stimulated or under stimulated. The functional neurologist can then tailor exercises to the brain environment and adjust them over time as function improves.
Many families report swift and significant shifts in behavior, mood, sociability, learning, and other brain-based signs.
Ask my office how functional neurology can help if your child has a brain based developmental disorder.