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Are learning disabilities related to differences in the brain?
In comparing people with and without learning disabilities, scientists have observed certain differences in the structure and functioning of the brain. In people with dyslexia, the two structures were found to be equal in size. In people who are not dyslexic, however, the left planum temporale was noticeably larger. Some scientists believe reading problems may be related to such differences.
What is autism?
Autism is a type of developmental disability characterized by impairments in communication, social interaction and behavior. Some doctors speculate that autism may be the result of a specific brain injury or brain abnormality that occurred during brain development (before birth) or early in infancy. Others have found evidence that the disorder is a result of abnormal levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit messages between cells in the brain and nerves).
How do I recognize autism in my child?
The first signs of autism may appear in infants who display abnormal responses to being touched. Instead of cuddling when they are picked up, they may stiffen or go limp. It is usually not until the child is 2 or 3 years old that the parents realize something is wrong. By that age, the toddler shows little interest in others. Some behavioral clues to the presence of autism include: disordered play, disordered speech and repetitive behaviors.
What exactly is ‘Spina bifida’?
An incomplete closure of the spinal column that occurs before your baby is born, spina bifida leaves a baby’s legs weak or paralyzed. In the most severe form, other possible problems include excessive fluid around the brain, difficulty with bowel and bladder control, deformities of the hips, knees, and feet, and learning disabilities. While children with spina bifida can live a normal lifespan, they need care by a team of specialists. In addition to a pediatrician, a neurosurgeon, urologist, physical therapist and orthopedic surgeon are some of the members of their health care team.