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Boys tend to have developmental disorders 2 times more often than girls. The risk factors for these often differ, but can include: prematurity, complications during childbirth, sickness during pregnancy, low birth weight, and many others. Any disorder has the ability to make the future life of a child much harder and should be diagnosed during early childhood. It’s important to diagnose it as soon as possible in order to treat it and get rid of it.
We at Bright Side researched and found out about the signs of the most widespread developmental disorders: autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and hyperactivity.
Symptoms of autism can be observed as early as the age of 2, and by the age of 5 the symptoms usually become even more noticeable. This is when it is usually diagnosed. Interestingly, according to statistics, girls have autism 4 times less often than boys. Despite the popular stereotype, autism doesn’t mean that people can’t develop and do what they love. The main problem they have to deal with is difficulty communicating, especially with people they don’t know. It is important to understand that the symptoms of autism can be decreased if treated properly. You can recognize this disorder if you notice that a child is behaving strangely, for example:
They are scared of communicating with people they don’t know and during a conversation, they can’t maintain the eye contact. They are unable to feel empathy and can laugh when someone is crying or vice versa. They do automatic things like tapping on a surface for as long as possible, swinging like a pendulum, or placing toys in rows based on a principle they’ve made up themselves. They do not get bored and can keep doing these things for hours. Their eyes usually look empty when they are busy with something like this.
They don’t understand social context: they behave the same at home, at school, while grocery shopping, or anywhere else. They communicate with everyone in the same way and can be impolite with older people.
They can’t learn to use non-verbal language. They don’t understand the body language of other people and they mostly don’t use any gestures. In the most severe cases, they don’t use any facial expressions. They are scared of any change. If you move furniture, this can lead to a panic attack. The same goes for food, the way you take to school, and other things the child is accustomed to.
They have well-developed receptors: they love touching things and they can sense the slightest smells. They often stare at wood textures, rocks, and other materials. They have a very high pain threshold and might pinch their own skin just to see what happens.
The acronym for this one is ADHD. Despite the popular stereotype, this disorder can only be found in children who are over 4 years old, and only if the signs are observed from day to day. If you think you see symptoms, but only rarely, it means that your child is absolutely normal. This disorder can be successfully treated, often using medical methods. According to statistics, ADHD is often diagnosed in twins and premature children. Also, boys are at risk: they have this disorder 3 times more often than girls. The influence on the life of an adult person with ADHD is not huge: these people usually make quick decisions, they are anxious, and they can be annoying to other people. It is also hard for them to do boring work. It’s easy to diagnose ADHD. Just pay attention to these indicators in a child’s behavior:
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
They can’t sit still, they don’t stop moving, they look around everywhere, and act like they have an engine inside them. And their actions don’t really have a purpose: they just grab whatever they can get their hands on, throw it away in the next moment, and take something else.
They can’t concentrate on something boring for a long time like cleaning or doing homework. But they can play computer games and do other things for hours. They are often distracted by things outside. For example, they might be busy doing something and then just freeze if they see something really bright through the window.
They can’t control their own emotions. They might get hysterical just because they don’t want to stay in a line or they might have arguments with relatives over nothing. They sometimes say really bad words and several minutes later come back to apologize. In school and kindergarten, they interrupt other students and even teachers. If they are taking a test, they usually don’t finish reading the questions (they don’t have enough patience for that) and just give random answers.
This disorder prevents children from learning to write correctly. It is seen pretty often and doesn’t really impact people’s adult lives. It is mostly found in children who already have eye or ear problems or who have ADHD. It’s possible to get rid of this disorder by having the child do exercises to develop their fine motor skills, and make the muscles in their hands stronger. You can diagnose dysgraphia by observing the following signs:
When writing, children always confuse similar sounds. They might add letters to words that, in fact, should not be there, they might change the position of syllables, or even skip them completely. When they write their words blend together (especially the prepositions).
It’s really hard to read what they write. Even if they try hard and write slowly, the letters are still illegible. In the most severe cases, children speak incorrectly too.
According to statistics, 70-80% of people who have trouble reading actually have dyslexia. The disorder is usually innate and can be treated if a child sees a specialist in time. Dyslexia can’t be diagnosed any earlier than the age of 10-11. Dyslexia doesn’t cause much trouble in adult life, aside from having difficulty reading fast. Sometimes, the idea of being dyslexic is scary for other people, so people might try to hide their disorder and be a little shy. This behavior is considered to be normal. You can diagnose dyslexia if a child has these symptoms:
They read really poorly, even though their other skills (in math, art, and even writing) are okay. Their IQ is usually normal or even high, so intelligence and dyslexia are not connected. They refuse to practice reading and just say that they don’t want to do it. They might get really dramatic if parents push them too hard. They can read, and maybe even do it fast, but they can’t tell you what they just read because they don’t understand the meaning of the text.
They can be daydreamers, so you may have to ask them something twice. They sometimes don’t notice the things around them. As a result, they can be insecure and they try to find themselves in some kind of art (like music, acting, and so on). They often hold pencils or pens the wrong way. For example, they hold a pen between the ring and the middle finger and attempts to teach them the right way are useless.
Maybe you know or have seen people who have children with these disorders? Tell us about the difficulties they have to face in the comment section below.
Illustrated by Leisan Gabidullina for BrightSide.me