Special Needs

'Failure to Thrive' is a Child Developmental Problem for Kids

| by Rodger Bailey

Failure To Thrive is a interruption in physical growth and weight gain that can lead to interruptions in the developmental process and maturation.

Failure To Thrive is a description of a condition given to children who are consistently less than the normal weight for their age or who do not gain weight for unclear reasons. There may be many reasons for this. Many reasons for this involve social and environmental elements that work together to keep the baby from having the nutrition the baby needs. Sometimes, medical disorders prevent a baby from developing normally. Another major contributing factor is the child's own sensitivities.

If There Are Social And Environmental Based Problems
Many social and environmental elements can be responsible for Failure To Thrive. Parental neglect or abuse, parental mental health difficulties, and disordered family situations in which routine, nutritious meals are not provided, may all repress a child's appetite and food intake. The amount of money a family has to spend on food and the nutritional value of the food they buy also affects growth. Inadequate food intake may reflect poor parenting and environmental stimulation.

If The Problems Are Medical Problems
Sometimes Failure To Thrive Syndrome is brought on by a medical disorder in the baby. The disorder can be as simple as difficulty drinking, chewing, or swallowing (as a child might have with a cleft lip or cleft palate). Medical issues, such as acid reflux, esophagus narrowing, or poor intestinal absorption, may also affect a child's ability to obtain nutrition from food. And, other medical problems such as infections, tumors, hormonal or metabolic disorders (such as diabetes or cystic fibrosis), heart diseases, kidney diseases, genetic disorders, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are other physical reasons for Failure To Thrive.

If The Problems Are Based In Sensitivities
And, sometimes child and infant Failure To Thrive is brought on by the baby's body reacting to normal environmental factors as if those normal things were toxic. This is a intolerance of some environmental factors which the child's defenses thinks is toxic.

This response to this "toxic attack" could involve shutting down the baby's normal developmental process as a temporary protective tactic until the "attack" goes away. But, because these environmental factors are not toxic to others, the family and the medical professionals do not know to eliminate these "toxic" things from the baby's environment. In this case this temporary protective defensive response continues indefinitely. This means that the baby's own defenses blocks the baby's normal developmental process on an ongoing basis, because of the child's sensitivities.

Diagnosis For The Roots In Medical Problems And Social And Environmental Issues
Doctors diagnose Failure To Thrive when the baby's weight or physical development is much less than what it should be when compared with past measurements or standard height-weight charts. If the physical development is adequate, the baby may be small for his or her age but still developing normally.

To find out why a baby may be failing to grow , doctors ask the parents specific questions about feeding, bowel habits, social, emotional, and financial stability of the family, which might affect the baby's access to food, and illnesses that the baby has had or that run in the family. The medical practitioner examines the baby, looking for signals that may explain the baby's delay in development. The medical practitioner makes decisions about blood and urine tests and x-rays based on this evaluation. Additional examinations are performed only if the doctor thinks there is an underlying disease.

Finding The Child's Sensitivities
There are some published diets (GFCF Diet and Feingold Diet) which attempt to address these intolerance issues. These diets work well for those children who are intolerant of the things which are specifically restricted by these programs. But, for the majority of children whose sensitivities are affecting their growth and development, these diets are incomplete and not specifically tailored for them.

It is best to have a specialist, who knows how to perform this specific test for intolerance, work with your child to determine your child's precise list of sensitivities. Those who perform this testing can include chiropractors, nutritionists, and other wellness practitioners trained for this specific type of evaluation.

Treatment and Prognosis For The Roots In Medical Problems And Social And Environmental Issues
The medical difficulties and social and environmental roots approach assumes there is something wrong with the baby's body or the child's social environment. These interventions are focused on a fault in the baby's nutritional processing or access.

Treatment intervention depends on the root of the difficulty. If a medical problem is found, specific interventions are performed. Otherwise, treatment depends on how far below normal the baby's weight is. Mild to moderate Failure To Thrive is treated with high-calorie nutritious feedings provided on a regular schedule. Parents could be counseled about family interactions that are damaging to the child and about financial and social resources available for their family. More severe Failure To Thrive is treated in the hospital where social workers, nutritionists, psychiatrists, feeding specialists, and other specialists team together to determine the most likely causes of the child's Failure To Thrive and the best approach to recovery.

Treatment For The Roots In Sensitivities
The interventions for the sensitivities approach is to determine which environmental factors the baby is reacting to and eliminates those from the baby's environment. When the baby is no longer reacting to those, the normal process of development kicks in and growth and development can proceed normally. With this intervention, nourishment is absorbed and growth and development starts to catch up. There are specialists in Failure To Thrive Syndrome who can determine your child's sensitivities and coach you in getting your child back on track.

Summary
The social and environmental approach assumes that something is wrong in the baby's social environment in such a way that nourishment is not available or is not accepted by the baby.

The medical difficulties approach for Failure To Thrive infants and children assumes that nourishment is not being processed and absorbed by the baby because of some medical problem.

The sensitivities approach for Failure To Thrive children assumes that the baby is having reactions to environmental factors and these reactions are shutting down the normal growth and developmental process.

Come by our free social network focused on Failure To Thrive and join the conversation.

POST YOUR COMMENTS BELOW