Developmental disorders and learning difficultiesKeywords:
At the HUS Pediatric Neurology clinics, we evaluate, examine, and treat children and adolescents with severe dysphasia (impeded speech and language development), severe multi-symptom speech and language disorders, or suspected developmental disorders.
If necessary, we evaluate and examine children at Day Center Vuori at the New Children’s Hospital, where children and their parents come in for appointments for a specified period. The basic information is collected in basic health care, which is where early support is also provided.
By ‘neurological special difficulties’, we mean developmental problems in one or more specific areas when the child’s development otherwise is normal. The most common special difficulties are learning difficulties: reading and writing problems (dyslexia) and learning difficulties in mathematics (dyscalculia).
The incidence of language-related special difficulties is estimated to be as high as 7%, if we take the mildest cases into account. If a child is 3 years old and cannot yet express himself/herself verbally, or if he/she has considerable difficulty understanding language, or if communications problems impede the child from participating in everyday interaction situations and from learning new things, or if the child requires means of communication support or alternative communication methods in almost all situations, then the child has a severe language-related disorder.
If a child has difficulties in several areas of development such that they cannot be separated from one another, the child has a multiform developmental disorder. The child may have impeded functional capacity and performance clearly below the age-appropriate level. If a child has great difficulty in understanding and learning new things, and if the child’s cognitive skills are extremely weak over a wide range of applications, and this condition is not estimated to be temporary (e.g. due to a lack of stimuli or mental illbeing), then the child is described as developmentally disabled. An extensive developmental disorder manifests itself in difficulties in managing everyday functions, in learning difficulties, and also in social skills.
The most important rehabilitation for multiform developmental disorders involves stimuli appropriate for the child’s developmental level and sufficient support in everyday contexts, rehabilitative daycare, and a suitable form of school. We plan individual rehabilitation regimes when a child has a particular developmental disability that prevents him/her from participating in everyday activities appropriate for his/her developmental level (such as communication skills, independent function, playing or learning).
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