At 20 months old, Kelley Dawson suffered from a seizure while on vacation with her family. Though a high fever was assumed to be the initial cause, her family soon learned that wasn’t the case. Kelley struggled with frequent seizures over the next five years. Kelley’s parents said they struggled with despair as the seizures took a toll on their bubbly 7-year-old daughter. 

Medication helped Kelley for a while, but then another devastating seizure would strike. Kelley’s parents researched hospitals all over the country and turned to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock (ACH) for her care. 

What is a neurological disorder?

Neurological disorders in children occur when something is abnormal in the brain, the nervous system or the muscle cells. These disorders can vary including epilepsy, migraine headaches, tic disorders, movement disorders, etc.

Children are either born with the disorder, such as spina bifida or hydrocephalus (fluid in the brain), or they acquire the disorder later in life, from traumatic injury or serious infection.

In Kelley’s case, the pediatric neurologists at ACH diagnosed her with a rare inherited condition. Once they determined the underlying cause for Kelley’s seizures, her medical team performed surgery. They were able to remove the damaged part of the brain causing her seizures.

Today, Kelley is happy, healthy and seizure-free. Her parents are grateful the cause of Kelley’s seizures was identified and treated, giving their daughter hope for a healthier tomorrow.

Warning signs of neurological disorders

While it's hard to know when to seek specialized medical care for your child, our pediatric experts recommend a quick evaluation by your child's doctor if your child is showing a decline in developmental milestones. For example, it's a red flag if your child has lost a skill they previously mastered like walking, talking, or feeding themselves.

Early diagnosis and intervention is key. If your child's normal behavior has changed dramatically, call their pediatrician for an evaluation.

Warning signs of a neurological disorder include:

  • Abnormal muscle tone at birth
  • Seizures
  • Floppy infant syndrome (FIS), where a baby's muscles are limp
  • Subtle staring/unresponsive episodes
  • Slow language and/or motor skills
  • Decrease in developmental milestones

Once the underlying cause of a developmental delay is diagnosed, therapy can be helpful. Arkansas Children’s offers speech, occupational and physical therapy to help the child maximize his or her capabilities. Early diagnosis is also beneficial for conditions that urgently need surgery, such as brain tumors or hydrocephalus.

Schedule an Appointment

Our pediatric neurologists can see your child in one of three locations:

Little Rock or Jonesboro: 501-364-4000

Springdale: Call 479-725-6995

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