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October 10, 2007

Behavior, Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA:

When my son was two and a half years old, he was diagnosed with a blood sugar level of over 1400 mg/dl [77.8 mmol/L]. He was in the PICU for four days with severe ketoacidosis. He is now five years old and we are doing okay, but his teacher has expressed concerns about some developmental delays (poor fine motor skills, still a lot of parallel play, cannot make up his mind when asked a question, goes back and forth with his answer, etc.). Could the trauma he experienced at such a crucial brain developmental stage associated with the diabetes have contributed to some of these delays? Or, should I be checking into a more specific diagnosis?

Answer:

Your question has interesting merit, but I don’t think you’ll ever be able to pinpoint a “cause” to any perceived, subtle developmental issues. Better yet that you have the child evaluated by an experienced “developmental pediatrician” who will perform a number of skill set testing to tease out anything. Any weaknesses documented can then be approached with a plan with assistance, as warranted, from play specialists, occupational/physical/speech therapists, etc. A developmental pediatrician may only be available to you in a large metropolitan area with a Children’s Hospital or medical school.

DS