Pediatric Neurologic Evaluation and Treatment

Content Neurological disorders can be difficult to diagnose in children because the signs can be hard to notice or distinguish from other conditions. At Henry Ford Health, our specialists have years of advanced training and experience in the field of pediatric neurology.

We work closely with you to identify the cause of your child’s symptoms. As your family’s trusted health partner, we provide personalized treatment based on your child’s individual needs that helps maximize your child’s quality of life.

Compassionate care for children with neurological disorders

Your care team provides education and counseling to help you, your child and your family understand how a condition and its treatment will affect you.

Our comprehensive care includes:

  • Thorough evaluation: We spend time with your family, listening closely to you to fully understand your concerns, needs and goals. We use the latest diagnostic tools to get a complete picture of what your child is experiencing. Our team has years of experience identifying neurological disorders in teens through babies — even before birth. Meet our team.
  • Accurate diagnosis: Your child receives care from highly trained specialists dedicated to caring for children with brain and nervous system disorders. We meet in weekly team conferences, bringing together our expertise from several fields of medicine to recommend treatment options for your child.
  • Newest treatments: From medications and therapies to minimally invasive and surgical procedures, we offer the latest treatments to help your child live a full life. Through research and clinical trials, your child may be eligible for promising new treatments that aren’t yet available to the public.

Evaluation and diagnosis for neurological disorders in children

We begin with a physical exam, ask you about your child’s symptoms and review their personal and family medical history. Based on our evaluation, we order tests to help rule out other conditions and confirm a diagnosis.

Diagnostic testing for neurological disorders in children

Minimally invasive tests that we frequently use include:

  • Blood tests to look for signs of infection, illnesses, genetic disorders or other problems
  • Neurologic exam and neuropsychological test to evaluate muscle movements, mental function, behavior and other factors
  • Visual field test to measure peripheral (sideways) vision, which can be affected by brain surgery

Specialized neurological testing

We evaluate the electrical activity and other functions in your child’s brain. Depending on your child’s symptoms, they may need:

  • Electroencephalography (EEG): During this painless test, we record electrical activity in the brain using electrodes (small metal discs) placed on your child’s head. We may recommend video EEG, which incorporates video and audio recording with EEG, during a stay in our epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU).
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap): We use a needle to take a small sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Learn more about lumbar puncture.
  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG) scan: This test measures the magnetic fields caused by brain activity to identify areas that may have damage. Henry Ford created the first MEG lab in Michigan. Read about magnetoencephalography (MEG) scans.
  • Wada test: This test helps us locate the areas of your child’s brain that control speech and memory. A Wada test helps us avoid healthy brain tissue during surgery.

Diagnostic imaging for neurological disorders in children

Brain imaging can show areas with possible damage, areas where seizures start or signs of other conditions that might be causing symptoms.

Treatment for neurological disorders in children

Together, experts from several fields of medicine review your child’s test results, confirm a diagnosis and recommend treatment options.

Medications to treat neurological disorders in children

For many neurological disorders, we begin your child’s treatment with medication. We monitor them closely for side effects and make adjustments as necessary. They might need to try different types and dosages before we find the right combination for their needs.

Some medications that we may use include:

  • Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen to treat pain, fever and inflammation
  • Pain medications for migraines and more severe pain
  • Other medications to treat neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Tourette syndrome

 Nonsurgical treatments for neurological disorders in children

Nonsurgical treatments for children who have neurological disorders include:

  • Neonatal therapeutic hypothermia: For babies who may have had oxygen deprivation just before or at birth, we use cooling blankets to lower their body temperature. This treatment helps protect babies’ brains from damage due to lack of oxygen.
  • Specialized neuropsychologists: We offer in-depth assessments to help guide treatment and remediation strategies in school. Learn more about neuropsychology for children and teens.
  • Physical rehabilitation: We offer specialized pediatric physical therapy to help children improve their strength, balance, coordination and other movement skills. Read about our pediatric rehabilitation services.
  • Speech-language pathology: Our experts help children improve swallowing function and communication skills. Find out more about our outpatient pediatric speech-language pathology services.
  • Integrative medicine therapies: For older children, we offer a variety of complementary and alternative medicine therapies for relaxation and stress management. At the Center for Integrative Medicine, we offer therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage, meditation and yoga.
  • Lifestyle changes: These healthy habits promote overall health for every child:
    • Getting plenty of sleep and exercise
    • Eating healthy foods regularly and drinking plenty of fluids, especially water

Take the Next Step
For information, call 1-800-Eye-Care: (800) 393-2273.
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