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Soft Neurological Signs in Young Children- My Experiment

Posted Nov 18 2008 3:44am

Finger to Nose

Yesterday for Medicine Mondays on MommyMD.org, I discussed soft neurological signs in young children. As you may remember I couldn’t find specific recommendations about when these signs should go away. In general most reports I read stated that if by school age they are present then there may be some other issues present such as learning disabilities or ADHD. Here’s a snippet

Soft neurological signs are often used to describe signs that are either difficult to obtain or interpret. It is commonly seen in immature nervous systems of very young children. Persistence of these signs beyond a certain age though may indicate a future problem with attention and/or learning disorders or other cerebral dysfunctions.

You can test your child for soft neurological signs a couple of different ways.

1. Ask your child to walk across a room on their tip toes. As they perform this look for tremors and “overflow” involuntary movements that occur with his hands and his face.

2. Ask your child to touch the tip of their finger to the tip of your index finger and then touch the tip of their nose three times. As they perform this look for tremors and “overflow” involuntary movements that occur with their other hand and their face.

At the bus stop today, I decided to test my own children to see if I could see any of these so-called signs.Miss Blue Eyes- Six had no problems with the task. But it was clearly understood that she wanted to go play with her friends. I succumbed and let her go on her way.

So I, of course, moved on to my four year old.

“Stand still sweetie. No right here.  Great! Put your finger on your nose.”

“No I don’t want to.” She retorts. (Actually this is surprising as she is usually pretty compliant. I persisted.)

“Please. Just touch your nose.”

She touches the side.

“The tip please.”

She touches the tip.

“Great! Now touch my finger.”

She reaches out with her other hand and touches my finger.

“No, with the same hand.”

She leans her head forward to touch my finger with her finger but all the while it’s still touching her nose.

“No honey, let go of your finger.”

She releases it.

“Now touch my finger.”

She leans in to touch her nose to my finger.

“No…. Touch your nose with your finger, then let go of your nose and now with the same finger reach out and touch my finger and then release your finger and come back and touch your nose.”

She executes it perfectly and I breathe a sigh of relief. Mission accomplished and I forget why we’re doing all of this in the first place.

Lesson learned- Demonstrate first and then examine.

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