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Behaviour Disorders
There are many behaviour disorders that can be seen in childhood. Some of them can be transient or a reaction to an illness or social situation.

The two most common disorders that require a neurologist’s attention and seen by me commonly, are:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism

The key components to this disorder are- inattention (attention deficit), hyperactivity or mixed with both components.

The presence of this disorder will lead to problems at school or in social gatherings as the child can have problems paying attention or in carrying out instructions, remaining seated in a seat/place or waiting for his turn in a queue. As a result the child may be seen as disruptive or problematic. The result may be poor academic performance and difficulties in building friendships.

The treatment can be pharmacological, nutritional supplements and behaviour therapy.


Autism can also be seen as a social, communication disorder with repetitive behaviours.

The communication aspect leads to a delay in expressive or verbal speech development. The social aspect of this disorder means children are described as being in a ‘world of their own’. There is a problem in children making eye contact, mixing with other children and emotions. Repetitive behaviours and stereotypies such as hand flapping, spinning etc are part of this disorder.

There are various subtypes of autism. Asperger’s syndrome is a recognised subtype.

The diagnosis can be made by using one of the validated tools which include making observations and scoring or using a series of questions.
There is no blood test to make a diagnosis. MRI brain will also be normal in most cases.

The cause of primary autism is not known. It can be part of various neurocutaneous, chromosomal and other genetic disorders.

Treatment includes behavioural therapy. Supplements containing omega 3 and 6 may have an effect. A Gluten free Casein free diet has been described though the effect has been unproven. Hyperbaric oxygen has been described. Swimming therapy has been in the news for a possible effect. So far a treatment with a major benefit alone has not been found.

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