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Is My School-Aged Child Wired For Struggle?

Signs and Symptoms of Central Nervous System Immaturity


What is the Central Nervous System?

The central nervous system (CNS) is the neurological system in our bodies that is responsible for basic life functions of motor control, thoughts, emotions, hormone release, breathing, heart rate, body temperature etc. It is the foundation for all learning / development. Its maturity is the single most important factor in the ability for us as humans to learn. If there is any hiccup in the wiring of the nervous system; motor delays, behavior difficulties, and cognitive delays are common.

What Causes CNS Immaturity?

• Traumatic / Prolonged Birthing Process

• Premature Birth

• C-Sections

• Illnesses (RSV, Croup, Frequent Ear infections, Severe Constipation)

• Surgeries

• Skipped Motor Milestones

• Containment at inappropriate times and for inappropriate durations (Car seats, Jumpers, Exersaucers, Bumbo Seats, Infant Walkers/Activity Centers)

• In utero exposure to drugs / alcohol

• Maternal illness / stress during pregnancy

What are the signs and symptoms of CNS Immaturity?

  • Difficulty with transitions (Requires excessive warnings, tantrums, refusals)
  • Difficulty sitting still in class
  • Poor handwriting and scissor skills
  • W sitting OR wrapping legs around chair
  • Poor pencil grip / complaining of hand fatigue
  • Unable to gallop, skip, ride a two wheeled bike or jump rope by 6-7 years
  • Difficulty following verbal/written directions 
  • Difficulty initiating tasks 
  • Difficulty learning to read
  • Speech delays / articulation deficits 
  • Poor sleep routine
  • Difficulty with washing hair, trimming nails, brushing teeth
  • Difficulty remaining focused
  • Excessive emotional outbursts 
  • Difficulty to manage behaviors (Very defiant, aggressive, or excessively shy)
  • Picky eating 
  • Difficulty making friends (Isolates self / difficulty initiating play / overly bossy in play)
  • Sensitivity to noise, touch, visual input
  • Low self esteem / anxiety
  • Oral Overflow during fine motor tasks: Excessive lip licking that creates red ring around mouth

My child is demonstrating some of these symptoms, what can I do?

If your child is demonstrating any of the signs / symptoms above OR if you feel your child’s development may be off track, please contact Whitney Tostenson, MOT, OTR/L to discuss a FREE consult for neurodevelopmental services.