Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a language-based, learning disability that affects approximately 15% of the population living in the United States.  It is the most common learning disability in the country.

People who are dyslexic find it difficult to read because they are unable to properly identify speech sounds and learn how they relate to letters and words.  They often have difficulty with writing, math and comprehension as well.

Dyslexia is a lifelong disability that cannot be cured. However, an individual can overcome its many challenges when early intervention and specialized education approaches are applied.

The exact cause of dyslexia is unknown; however, the condition tends to run in families.  In addition to genetics, there are other factors attributed to dyslexia; they include:

  • Premature birth or a low birth weight
  • Exposure to substances such as nicotine, alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy

Symptoms and signs of dyslexia vary with each individual. They may experience the following:

  • Difficulty forming words correctly –they may reverse the sound in words or confuse words that sound alike
  • Late speech
  • Difficulty remembering or naming  colors , letters and numbers
  • Reading well below average
  • Difficulty playing rhyming games or learning rhyming songs
  • Problems with math or spelling
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Disinterest in books
  • Difficulty remembering details
  • Trouble understanding puns and idioms
  • Difficulty telling right from left
  • Difficulty understanding the concept of time

A significant number of children with dyslexia go undiagnosed because symptoms are not recognized. Many children who are undiagnosed, struggle in school and grow up to be adults who are unaware that they have dyslexia; therefore, it is very important for parents to note warning signs and seek assistance from a specialist.  In most cases, a diagnosis of dyslexia is determined by a licensed educational psychologist after completing a series of evaluations.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Do You Know if Your Child has a Growth Disorder?

When is a lack of growth a cause for concern? All children grow at different rates. The same boy that is the smallest in his class in elementary school might be the tallest at his high school graduation. In most cases lack of height can be attributed to genetic factors or in other instances it could just be that the child is a “late bloomer.”

After years of collecting statistics on childhood development experts have developed a standard growth chart. Pediatricians use this chart as a guideline to monitor the growth of their patients against other children of the same age during a child’s annual well visit.  Children are ranked by percentile (from 1 to 100). If a child is ranked either below the 3rd or above the 97th, a doctor will usually want to investigate potential reasons as to why.

While in most cases there is no need for concern, for some children, a lack of growth could be caused by a growth disorder. The most common reason for a growth disorder is related to the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. One of the main functions of this gland is to release growth hormones to your body. When the pituitary gland doesn’t make enough growth hormone,  it causes a condition known hypopituitarism, which can slow down a  child’s rate of growth. Special tests can determine if a child isn’t producing enough growth hormone. If not, daily injections of growth hormone can often help them grow at a more conventional rate.

Another gland that produces hormones important for growth is the thyroid. Your thyroid makes a hormone called thyroxine. If it makes too little, the condition is called hypothyroidism. Having too little thyroxine cause a child to grow more slowly. Doctors can do a simple blood test for hypothyroidism. If it’s needed, pills can be prescribed to compensate for the lack of this hormone.

Thankfully, many growth disorders can be successfully treated today. The best advice is to make sure your child sees their pediatrician for their annual visit so any issue can be immediately identified. If you do not have a pediatrician, you can make an appointment to see one in Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center.

For more information, or to make an appointment, please call 718-670-3007.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

National School Backpack Awareness Day

Backpacks are essential back-to- school items for kids.  They come in different colors, sizes and shapes and most importantly they help children to carry their belongings.  Backpacks are preferred by many in comparison to shoulder bags because when worn correctly, they evenly distribute weight across the body.  However, if worn incorrectly they can cause back pain or injuries and eventually lead to poor posture.

To prevent problems associated with improper backpack use, parents should first purchase a backpack that has the following features:

  • Lightweight
  • Wide and padded straps
  • Multiple compartments
  • Padded back
  • Waist belt
  • Correct size (A backpack should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso).

Practicing these safety tips will further reduce the chance of back pain or injuries caused by backpacks:

  • When packing, heavier items should be placed to the back and center of the backpack. Lighter items should be in front. Sharp objects such as scissors or pencils should be kept away from your child’s back.  Utilizing different compartments can help in distributing weight.
  • Do not over pack. Doctors recommend that children should not carry backpacks that weigh more than 10-15% of their body weight.
  • Ensure that children use both straps. Using a single strap can cause muscle strain.
  • Adjust the straps so that the backpack fits closely to your child’s back and sits two inches above the waist. This ensures comfort and proper weight distribution.
  • Encourage children to use their lockers or desks throughout the day to drop off heavy books.

The Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America recommends that parents should always look for warning signs that indicate backpacks may be too heavy. If your child struggles to put on and take off the backpack, they are complaining of numbness or tingling or if there are red strap marks on their shoulders -It may be time for you to lighten their load.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How to prevent head lice

It is back to school season for millions of children across the United States. Undoubtedly at this time of year, there will be several who come home with more than new books. They may also come home with symptoms of a head lice infestation.

Head lice are very tiny, wingless insects that live on the heads, eyelashes and eyebrows of people. They feed on their host’s blood.

The symptoms of a head lice infestation include itching of the scalp, sores that come from scratching the scalp, and sometimes difficulty sleeping caused by the irritation of the scalp.

Since lice do not have the ability to fly, they are transferred from person to person who is in close contact with someone who is already infected. Although uncommon, they can also be transferred by coming in contact with a comb or a brush, a hat, or a shared pillow.

Ways to prevent the transfer of head lice include avoiding:

  • Head-to-head contact with other children
  • Sharing personal items that people typically place on their heads
  • Sharing towels or pillows
  • Storing items that go on the head in close proximity to the items of a person with lice
  • Keeping long hair braided or in a ponytail

Anyone can get head lice. It is not a reflection of cleanliness or socio-economic status. If a school alerts parents that someone has been reported to have them, a good first step would be to check your child and everyone else in the home. Checking for head lice involves very careful inspection of the hair and the scalp. Usually this is done while the hair is wet and a very fine comb is used. Proper lighting is also important. If you are uncertain about how to check for head lice there are professionals in most towns who can provide this service. Some schools will also have staff members who will examine each student at the beginning of the school year as a precaution.

Once it has been confirmed that head lice are present, there are several medications that are available over-the-counter to treat it. Some of these products will contain natural products such as rosemary, lemongrass, tea tree, citronella, and eucalyptus. It is important to follow the directions carefully so that the treatment will be successful. It is important to be vigilant after being treated so as to avoid being infested again.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Mumps

Pediatrician examining lymph nodes

Are you concerned that your child may contract mumps?  First, we have to find out what mumps is!

Mumps is a viral infection that affects the parotid glands, which are located slightly below and in front of the ears.  If a child has contracted mumps, these glands can swell causing discomfort. Although rare, mumps can potentially cause hearing loss, meningitis, encephalitis and orchitis (in males).

Mumps was common in the United States until a mumps vaccination became available.  After the vaccination, health officials saw the number of cases drop significantly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of mumps usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus. Flu-like symptoms may be the first to appear, including:

  • fatigue
  • body aches
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • low-grade fever

A high fever (up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit) and swelling of the salivary glands follow over the next few days. The glands may not all swell initially. More commonly, they swell and become painful. The mumps virus is most contagious to another person from the time you come into contact with the virus to when your parotid glands swell.

There isn’t a course of treatment for mumps, so applying warm or cold packs to the swollen glands that are tender can be helpful.  Additionally, health professionals encourage children between the ages of 12 through 15 months of age to receive their first measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination and their second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.

Although mumps is no longer very common in the United States. From year to year, mumps cases can range from roughly a couple hundred to a couple thousand. For more information on how to track mumps outbreaks state, you can visit the CDC site –     https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks.html

If you are interested in making an appointment with a pediatrician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, you can schedule an appointment at our Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

BACKPACK = BACKPAIN

backpack-safety

With school in full swing, you may have noticed that your children are carrying, in some cases, more than their body weight in books and supplies affiliated with their school work.  Below is a link with some tips on how to save your childs back from their heavy backpack-

http://www.activebeat.com/your-health/children/back-to-school-backpack-safety-tips/

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What You Should Know About Your Premature Baby

rbma_0019Learning that your baby will be arriving early can be overwhelming.  You may grow anxious as you wonder; what happens next?  Having a premature baby does have its challenges; however you can better prepare yourself for what to expect through education.

A baby’s birth is considered premature when they are born before the 37th week of pregnancy. There are different levels of prematurity, each of which is influenced by how early your baby was born.  The levels of prematurity are:

  • Late preterm– Babies born between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy
  • Moderately preterm– Babies born between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy
  • Very preterm- Babies born at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy
  • Extremely preterm– Babies born at or before 25 weeks of pregnancy

The earlier the birth is the higher the risk of health complications that may affect your baby:  Some of the health complications you could encounter are:

  • Heart problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Eye disease
  • Intestinal problems

To ensure that your baby receives optimal medical attention after delivery, your team of doctors and nurses will take measures needed to stabilize him or her, which means they may need to:

  • Clear the airways and assist the baby in breathing
  • Regulate and monitor the heart rate. If the baby’s heart rate is exceedingly low, CPR may be performed
  • Transfer the baby to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) if he or she is critically ill

If transferred to the NICU, your baby will receive round-the-clock care. NICU’s are well equipped with the technologies needed to monitor and regulate babies’ health. While in the NICU, be sure to:

  • Form a relationship with caregivers
  • Consult with a lactation consultant to ensure your baby is receiving a fresh supply of milk. Breast milk is best. If you are unable to produce milk, speak with your consultant about receiving donor milk.
  • Become your baby’s health advocate. If you have a concern or have noticed something unusual do not be afraid to speak up
  • Touch your baby as much as allowed
  • Talk to your baby as much as possible; your voice will become familiar and offer comfort

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Flushing Hospital Medical Center is equipped with the latest technology to care for infants born prematurely or with complications. Even the tiniest babies can be cared for in this unit, which provides specialized testing and the use of modern equipment to manage medical and surgical illnesses. The unit is staffed by highly specialized, Board Certified physicians, certified neonatal nurses, nurse practitioners and social workers. NICU babies continue to receive specialized care after discharge. To learn more about the NICU or Obstetrical Unit at Flushing Hospital, please call the Department of Pediatrics at 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Common Core of Common Chores for your Children

Chores

Many parents wrestle with the question of whether or not their children should be required to do chores around the house, and if so, should they be paid for it? There’s really no simple answer.

There are pros and cons to every method of administering an allowance to children. Some think kids should earn money in exchange for doing chores, others believe kids should not be paid for regular contributions that are expected of every family member.  No matter which side you agree with, the point of an allowance is to teach your kids money management skills.

Age appropriate, weekly chores, whether it’s taking out the garbage, emptying the dishwasher, folding clean laundry, walking the dog or light yard work like raking leaves, can help a child develop character. Paying them for their contributions also helps them to develop a respect for earning money.

You might decide on a definite set of weekly chores that your child must complete before being paid, or choose to make a list with a set price per chore and leave it up to them. Bigger tasks like shoveling snow, earn more money, and things like making their bed, earn less.

The method you end up using may not be what you started with, every child is different and the family dynamic and responsibility varies. However you structure it, be flexible. Even if you offer your child an allowance with no strings attached, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask them to do something periodically.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Important is Eating Breakfast?

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How important is eating a healthy breakfast to you? Please share your daily morning routine with us. Do you make the time for a healthy breakfast every morning?

Here’s what we know, breakfast is STILL the most important meal of the day.  It provides you with the energy and nutrients that lead to increased concentration whether in the classroom or at work.

Some benefits of eating a healthy breakfast are:

  • Reduces the chance of developing diabetes
  • Reduces the incidence of heart disease
  • Improves cognitive functions related to memory

Additionally, studies have shown that breakfast can be important in maintaining a healthy body weight.

Translation – Eating breakfast is a smart move!

 

 

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Does Your Child Have a Vision Problem?

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When a child can’t see well, you might expect them to verbalize their inability to see clearly or complain of headaches, but a child may not say that they are having trouble with their vision because they don’t realize that the world isn’t supposed to be blurry.

Surprisingly, as many as one out of four children in school have vision problems and a large number of children with vision problems go undetected.  When vision impairment goes undiagnosed, their behavior can be misdiagnosed as a learning disability.

Some common signs of vision problems are:

  • Omitting letters, words or phrases
  • Writing that is difficult to read, crowded or inconsistent in size
  • Mistaking words with similar beginnings
  • Miscalling or omitting “small” words
  • Losing place while reading
  • Misaligning digits in columns of numbers
  • Writing uphill or downhill
  • Reversing letters (d for b) or words (saw for was)
  • Rereads or skips words while reading
  • Lip reading or whisper reading to reinforce comprehension

Parents and educators may assume that when a child passes a school vision screening, there is no vision problem.  However, school vision screenings often only test for visual sharpness.  A child who can see 20/20 can still have a vision problem.

If your child exhibits any of the signs and symptoms listed above, you may want to make an appointment for an eye exam with an Ophthalmologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ophthalmology Center.  For an appointment, call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.