Archive for the ‘babies with pre-NLD signs’ Category

University of Michigan’s NLD article

June 8, 2009

For anyone reading this who may not know what NLD is, I found a website (updated in 2008) that provides a quick outline:

Just wanted to make sure this blog has a link to a medical description.

Eighteen Months

May 17, 2009

Hold child’s hand as he/she refines walking skills. Be patient about teaching directions, and use combination of showing and telling. Consider using child-size plastic silverware, and make sure it’s easy to hold.

Fifteen Months

May 17, 2009

Make vocabulary development fun, and don’t stop at literal interpretations; use words for just about everything. Don’t expect pre-NLD child to understand messages that only use gestures. Help child with feeding, and encourage them. Be available to help if they get anxious about feeding issues. Talk through safety issues.

Twelve Months

May 17, 2009

Babies with pre-NLD will likely respond quite well to positive reinforcement, provided that cause-effect relationships are verbally understood. Reward child for good eye contact and any other sign of appropriate social discourse. Consult a child psychologist or other specialist if child shows difficulty with social issues. Gently help child learn not to do socially inappropriate things using verbal talk-throughs. Parents will be amazed by how much an NLD child’s responses improve when they go through issues verbally. Encourage child to learn about environment by asking and answering questions. Realize talkative behavior is how the child makes sense of information. Balance talking with reading and interaction with other young children. Help child brush teeth by talking through it.

Nine Months

May 17, 2009

Very important to work on speech development, and see about working with a speech pathologist if infant is having trouble. Pre-NLD infants may find solace in play techniques that foster fine motor skill development, which causes less anxiety than the whole-body movements of gross motor tasks. It’s probably a good idea to use consistent discipline and explain cause-effect issues. Realize pre-NLD child will take much of what he/she hears literally, so find ways to explain that match words with the concepts you want the child to learn. Pre-NLD kid may have trouble with hand games. Know that cold/flu illnesses will be very disorienting, and explain through these things verbally. Convey a strong sense of stability and acceptance for your child as he/she is.

Six Months

May 17, 2009

Pre-NLD infant may have trouble sitting unsupported. He/she will likely still learn, but it will probably be harder. Will also likely struggle with hand-eye tasks, such as feeding self, and find dropped objects to be very disorienting. These infants may have an incredible degree of stranger anxiety. They will probably also have trouble standing and need an adult to support their arms, back, and/or legs as they learn this skill. Parents may want to keep lots of pillows and other soft objects in play area, and teach visual-spatial-shy infants that falling happens, but they can still learn to move around in their own way. Well-behaved dogs can be a great help modeling and helping with gross motor skills.

Teething will probably be a tough adjustment. It’s probably a good idea to provide teething products that aren’t really cold, as child will likely be very sensitive to big temperature differences.

If child is very picky, use hidden/pureed recipes and child vitamins to help him/her get nutrition, while very slowly introducing new foods. Pre-NLD infant will likely benefit from as-regular-as-possible feeding and sleeping routines. Use soothing physical contact to promote bonding, and also respect that pre-NLD infant may be “slow to warm up” because his/her environment is stressful even at its most secure.

Four Months

May 17, 2009

Pre-NLD infants will likely enjoy being read to and listening to music, again low-volume. It’s very important to arrange for play dates and other social settings that keep the infant in regular contact with similar-aged babies. The pre-NLD infant will enjoy his/her routine as much, and probably more, than babies without visual-spatial learning issues. It’s likely a good idea to do activities that promote manual dexterity, such as playing with clay. Fine motor skills can be a life-saver for people with NLD. Infants may enjoy pets, such as dogs or cats, and should be introduced to animals as much as possible. If they have allergies, they can still enjoy non-furry creatures.

Pre-NLD infants and children may have an affinity for rice and (for reasons still being studied) white foods. It’s very possible that a pre-NLD infant will have more difficulty learning to swallow. It’s a good idea for parents and caregivers to be vigilant, perhaps beyond the risk ages, about preventing choking. Verbally teach pre-NLD infant “self-soothing” techniques. Talk through new situations before and during, but not an an insulting way.

Two Months

May 17, 2009

Infant responds to social cues. Pre-NLD infant likely responds to talking but has trouble interpreting facial expressions. Infant with NLD symptoms will probably still learn to smile, but in the context of being overwhelmed. Pre-NLD infant may have more difficulty adjusting to babysitters and may find it challenging when new people hold it.

May also experience trouble with transitions, such as staying with relatives, evenings up late, and traveling. These scheduling issues are tough—on varied levels—for any baby, but present extra challenges for babies with pre-NLD signs. Pre-NLD infant will likely love learning to talk, having recognized that language is a survival tool. Around this stage, infant’s neck muscles begin to develop. This phase might be a bit more complicated by emerging NLD, as holding up one’s head and flexing the neck cause new range-of-motion issues that may be happy events for babies without visual-spatial issues but anxiety-causing ones for babies with possible pre-NLD. Similarly, leg flexes will likely be a new thing that takes time to adjust to. Same for solid foods—more time will be needed before a baby with pre-NLD feels OK about them. Pre-NLD infants might benefit from desensitization and talking-throughs before doctor’s appointments, and also rehearsals before they receive inoculations.

Two Weeks

May 17, 2009

Obviously a big time for attachment and physical bonding. Child learns what makes him/her feel secure. At this point, most NLD babies will not be identified. That won’t happen until at least preschool, so much of the early stages are retrospective. The pre-NLD infant will be very sensitive to auditory stimuli and may enjoy low-volume music. This infant may be very still and hesitate to use basic reflexes, such as lifting his/her head.

I’d be interested to know if babies who turn out to have NLD had trouble feeding, and whether there are differences in how long babies with nonverbal issues breastfeed.

It’s possible that the pre-NLD infant will be a big sleeper, having found the outside world so overwhelming. But it’s also possible that the baby could be hyperactively trying to deal with this overwhelm, too, and use distractibility to compensate for visual-spatial confusion. In either case, inoculations will be scary, but perhaps less so when the infant is this young and doesn’t know shots hurt yet.