At the age of 20 months, Kelley Dawson suffered from a seizure while on vacation with her family. The emergency room physicians believed it was caused by a high fever - but her family soon learned that wasn't the case. Kelley struggled with frequent seizures for the next five years. Kelley's parents felt their despair escalate as the seizures took a toll on their bubbly 7-year-old daughter.
Medication would help Kelley for a while, but then another devastating seizure would strike. Kelley's parents researched hospitals all over the country and turned to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock to get to the bottom of her seizures.
Neurological disorders in children occur when something is abnormal in the brain, the nervous system or the muscle cells. These disorders can vary from epilepsy to migraine headaches to tic or movement disorders and more.
Children are either born with the disorder, such as spina bifida or hydrocephalus (fluid in the brain), or they acquire the disorder later in life – the result of a traumatic injury or serious infection.
In Kelley's case, the pediatric neurologists at Arkansas Children's Hospital diagnosed her with a rare inherited condition. Once they determined the underlying cause for Kelley's seizures, her medical team performed surgery. They were able to remove the damaged part of the brain causing her seizures.
Today, Kelley is happy, healthy and seizure-free. Her parents are grateful the cause of Kelley's seizures was identified and treated - giving their daughter hope for a healthier tomorrow.
While it's hard to know when to seek specialized medical care for your child, our pediatric experts recommend a quick evaluation by your child's doctor if your child is showing a decline in developmental milestones. For example, it's a red flag if your child has lost a skill that they had previously mastered like walking, talking, or feeding themselves.
Early diagnosis and intervention is key. If your child's normal behavior has changed dramatically, call their pediatrician for an evaluation.
Warning signs of a neurological disorder include:
Once the underlying cause of a developmental delay is diagnosed, therapy can be helpful. Arkansas Children's offers speech, occupational and physical therapy to help the child maximize his or her capabilities. Early diagnosis is also greatly beneficial for conditions that urgently need surgery, such as brain tumors or hydrocephalus.
If a child has a seizure, it does not mean they have epilepsy. The number of seizures and the time frame when those seizures happen are important to diagnose epilepsy, a brain disease where normal nerve activity becomes abnormal.
Learn how the neurology team at Arkansas Children's Northwest diagnoses and treats both of these conditions.
Is looking at your child like looking in a mirror? Genetic traits passed along from parents to kids can create strong family resemblances. Genes can also pass along less obvious similarities, like being prone to headaches or migraines.
Learn the difference between a migraine and headache and how migraines can be prevented.