Symptoms of Pediatric Neurological Disorders

Pediatric neurological disorders span a broad spectrum, according to Continuum Health Partners. Disorders can include epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, autism, ADD, movement disorders and cerebrovascular stroke. Each of these disorders can have a major impact on a child's life, making it important to be able to identify major symptoms in order to more readily seek out a treatment path.

Pediatrician examining a boy (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Poor Muscle Coordination

Poor muscle coordination and control is linked to a number of pediatric neurological disorders. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, it is one of the first presenting symptoms of cerebral palsy. The signs generally manifest themselves in the form of a dragging walk, a walking style which appears to still be a crouch, or walking on the toes, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Loyola University Chicago notes that muscle coordination and jerking in infant limbs may be a sign of epileptic activity.


Muscle spasms and seizures are signs of neurological disorders. Cerebral palsy is indicated by spasticity in muscle reflexes, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The Loyola University Chicago notes that both small muscle spasms and full body seizures in children are symptoms of epilepsy.

Muscle Tone Issues

Children without the proper muscle tone for their age and stage of development may be showing signs of a pediatric neurological disorder. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke identifies both overly stiff and overly floppy muscle tone as a sign of potential cerebral palsy.

Concentration Issues

Concentration issues are linked to multiple neurological disorders, with autism and ADD/ADHD leading the list. A case study from the University of Washington website Neuroscience for Kids highlights the selective focus of affected children, who may fixate on a single activity. Staring is also a sign of absence associated with epilepsy, according to Loyola University Chicago.

For children with ADD or ADHD, on the other hand, points to inattentiveness and an inability to stay focused as a symptom of potential neurological problems.

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