Children, Teens and Adolescent Development

Children, Teens and Adolescent Development

The Psychology Behind Healthy Children

Children who exhibit an above or below average in the rate of weight gain and is usually significantly less than other children of the same sex and age group are usually described as having a failure to thrive. The term may also be used in describing adolescents and teenagers who are shorter than their peers or do not develop the normal changes associated with puberty. Because normal growth and development can vary greatly among individuals, doctors are typically most concerned with the rate of change in height and weight than the specific measurements and even how that effects the child's psychology .

Medical Conditions Might be the Cause

Numerous factors can cause failure to thrive. It may occur as the result of medical problems or environmental factors like neglect or abuse. The medical conditions that may cause failure to thrive include defects in the major organ systems, problems related to the endocrine system such as hormone deficiencies, abnormalities in the chromosomes such as Turner syndrome Down syndrome, brain damage, blood disorders, or gastrointestinal problems. Chronic infections, metabolic disorders, cerebral palsy, and complications during pregnancy can also lead to failure to thrive.

Environmental Factors Resulting in Failure to Thrive

Numerous other factors may fail to thrive. These factors include economic problems that result in poor living conditions, nutrition, and parental attitudes, emotional deprivation or abuse caused by rejection or parental withdrawal, poor eating habits, and exposure to toxins, infections, parasites. In many cases, the exact cause of failure to thrive cannot be determined.

Diagnosing and Medical Testing

Doctors diagnose failure to thrive based on numerous factors. Generally, the patient has a head circumference, weight, and height that does not fall within standard growth charts. They also typically exhibit mental, social, or physical skills and secondary sexual characteristics that are slow to develop. In addition to a complete physical examination, doctors are also likely to perform numerous tests including a complete blood count, hormone study, electrolyte balance, and urinalysis. X-rays are also commonly used to determine bone age. Other tests may be performed to detect or rule out other conditions.

Child Development Treatment Options

The treatment for failure to thrive varies greatly depending upon the cause. When environmental factors are a problem, family dynamics and living conditions may need to be improved. Underlying medical conditions need to be treated through medications or surgical procedures. When a period of failure to thrive is relatively short, and the underlying cause can be treated, children typically resume normal rates of growth and development. When it is prolonged, it may result in permanent effects, and physical, emotional, and mental delays may be present.

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