Parents are generally mindful about the needs of their children and they want their kids to remain safe from all types of dangers. When your kids fall sick, you can seek medical intervention and do everything that is required. However, there are some physical conditions, ailments and syndromes that may affect kids and you are left with little to do. One such example is Dwarfism. Dwarfism is not a disease in the proper sense of the word and those affected by it have much shorter height compared to others.
Nuances of Dwarfism
Dwarfism does not affect mental abilities of a child as kids afflicted with this condition perform on par with others without hiccups. Dwarfism is caused mostly by genetic defects. The exact reason of genetic mutation is unknown. Other causes include hormonal disorders in childhood, Chromosomal defects etc.
A condition termed achondroplasia is what causes dwarfism in children in several instances. People with average and regular height can give birth to dwarf kids, contrary to general perception. As it is, a majority of kids with dwarfism have parents with regular height.
Types of Dwarfism in Children
A majority of kids afflicted by dwarfism have a condition called skeletal dysplasia -a type of abnormal bone growth. This has 2 sub types- short-limb and short-trunk dwarfism. Kids with short-trunk dwarfism tend to have shortened trunks and average-sized limbs. Kids with short-limb dwarfism get shortened arms and legs. Some dwarf kids are afflicted with Diastrophic dysplasia and Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasias-both are rare forms of dwarfisms.
Diagnosis of Dwarfism in Kids
Some variants of dwarfism can be detected by prenatal testing. However, a majority of cases are diagnosed after a baby is born. The doctors use x-ray and examine the appearance of the baby.
Treatment Options For kids with Dwarfism
As a matter of fact, once a kid is diagnosed with dwarfism- there is not much treatment options for him or her. While metabolic and hormonal issues can be treated to an extent, nothing can cure skeletal dysplasia.
Dwarf kids with skeletal dysplasia may need medical care for their health complications, if any. If dwarfism has affected functioning of hearing, vision or such abilities, aids may be provided. Some kids afflicted with dwarfism develop apnea-where breathing pattern in sleep is affected. Such physical problems can be corrected through surgical intervention. Early detection and proper medical intervention may help resolve the issue to an extent. Below listed are some prominent treatment options for child dwarfism:
- In some cases of dwarfism, surgical procedures can help. Specialized surgeries can help rectify spine curvature or defects in bone development.
- Hormonal secretion related dwarfism is often treated with hormone injection therapy.
- Even after the application of surgery and medication, the affected kids need the support of family and care to develop self esteem. Some of them may need special education and life skill training.
- Parents should treat dwarf kids as per their age and not by their physical stature. Even if the kid is undersized, do not give him or her feeding bottle when others at his or her age do not use it. Such small steps help dwarf kids cope with life better and learn to do things normally.
Complications in Kids with Dwarfism and Options
As kids afflicted with dwarfism grow up, more physical problems manifest. These are:
- Slower motor skill development
- Vulnerability to ear infections, leading to loss of hearing
- weight problems
- breathing problems
- spine curvature related issues
- lower back pain
Not all dwarf kids have all of these problems and severity of the issues can vary greatly too. Surgery is used sometimes to rectify spine, bone related deformations. Deploying non surgical methods can also help dwarf kids deal with complications at times. Those suffering from weight gain can benefit from special diet regime, for example. Doctors and fitness experts can help those kids to resort to exercises that do not strain their body.
Parental support goes a long way in helping dwarf kids live life freely. Parents of such kids should ensure their kids do not feel inferior to others. Giving them accessories to overcome their physical limitations can be helpful. Mental support, encouragement and a positive attitude in parents help dwarf kids to get on with life better and deal with limitations. Additionally, parents of dwarf kids can get in touch with associations and groups that offer multi level support for these children. It will ensure your kid will find similar peers and get support to cope with growing up years.