How Is Shaken Baby Syndrome Diagnosed
Diagnosing shaken baby syndrome may be difficult for several reasons:
- Healthcare providers dont always get the truth about whether or not shaking was involved in an infants injury.
- Babies and very small children cant tell healthcare providers what happened or what hurts.
- Many symptoms of shaken baby syndrome are also common in other conditions, such as viral infections.
Therefore, a healthcare provider will use visual clues and tests to diagnose the condition and determine how severe it is. Theyll check your babys eyes for bleeding, look for marks on their skull, arms or legs, and check for bruises around their neck and chest.
What Are The Symptoms Of Infantile Spasms
Infantile spasms often look like a sudden, brief stiffening of a babys muscles. Symptoms may include:
- a cluster of spasms that may be associated with waking from sleep
- jackknife seizures, where the body bends forward, the knees are pulled up, and the arms are thrown out to the side
- a stiffening of the body and legs, with the head thrown back
In some cases, the symptoms are subtle, such as a mild head nod or quick eye movements.
Babies Shake When They Are Excited Is That Normal
Certainly! It happens pretty often. The reason is that babies nervous systems are still developing.
During this development stage of their nervous system, their muscles receive too many electrical impulses, resulting in twitching.
When they see someone they know or a toy they love, babies usually shake with excitement.
There are many ways that a baby might show this for example, by shaking his whole body or clenching his fists.
Sometimes a baby will also tremble or shake at seemingly random times when they have no apparent reason to be excited, and sometimes it lasts for a few seconds.
The cause of this infant shuddering is not entirely understood, but its not harmful, and it usually disappears by the time they reach the age of four.
A shuddering attack, infant shudder syndrome, or shuddering spell is sometimes called this.
You May Like: Is Autism An Autoimmune Disorder
How Are Infantile Spasms Treated
Early diagnosis and treatment of infantile spasms may help to lessen developmental issues. Treatments may include:
- adrenocorticotropic hormone or high dose prednisolone
- anti-seizure medications
If your child has difficult-to-control spasms, treatment with epilepsy surgery may be an option. When evaluating for epilepsy surgery your doctor may want to get a PET scan in addition to an MRI and EEG. Depending upon the findings from these tests, your childs doctor may recommend epilepsy surgery, such as lobar resection or hemispherectomy, or a palliative procedure such as corpus callosotomy. Your childs doctor will review the treatment options that may work best for your child.
Autism And Other Developmental Issues
Some people with autism move their body to self-soothe or stimulate themselves. They may nod or shake their head, usually in rhythmic motions.
It is possible that an infant may be autistic
- do not meet developmental milestones
- gain and then lose skills
- do not make eye contact with or respond to parents or caregivers
Don’t Miss: How Common Are Autism Spectrum Disorders
Talk To Our Philadelphia Birth Injury Attorneys
If you learn that your baby has been experiencing seizures caused by a birth injury that resulted from the negligence of your obstetrician or the labor and delivery staff, you might be entitled to pursue compensation through a birth injury lawsuit. You should speak with the Philadelphia birth injury attorneys at Raynes & Lawn to learn about your rights and the viability of your claim. We have more than five decades of experience helping medical malpractice victims recover the compensation they deserve for their injuries and losses. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 1-800-535-1797.
For the general public: This Blog/Website is made available by the law firm publisher, Raynes & Lawn, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.
Other Causes Of Shuddering Or Shaking In Babies
There are other reasons that babies may display shaking or shuddering movements, beyond excitement, infant shudder syndrome, or epilepsy. Babies and toddlers often shake their heads from side to side when falling asleep it can actually be a motion they use to help themselves fall asleep , or a sign of teething or even an ear infection. My own Little Man is very much in the habit of shaking his head from side to side when hes teething, especially after meals its a sure sign for us that his teeth are playing up.
Theres also some suggestion that infant shudder syndrome could be an early sign of vitamin d deficiency in very young babies, so if youre exclusively breastfeeding make sure that baby is getting their vitamin D drops in line with NHS guidance .
Also Check: How Bad Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
What Are Infantile Spasms
Infantile spasms, sometimes called West syndrome, are a type of seizure that occurs in babies. The spasms look like a sudden stiffening of muscles, and the babys arms, legs, or head may bend forward. The seizures occur in a series of short spasms, about one to two seconds in length. Babies may have as many as 100 spasms a day. The seizures may be more likely to happen just as the baby is waking up.
Infantile spasms most often begin between 4 and 7 months, but can start any time in the first few years of life. Later onset spasms may also occur but are rare. Infantile spasms require specific medication to stop the spasms. Children with Infantile spasms are at risk for development of difficult-to-control epilepsy, intellectual disability, and autism. Early and effective treatment is important in improving the prognosis for these infants, as early responders have better long-term epilepsy and developmental outcomes.
Repetitive Movements And Behaviors
Repeating certain movements and behaviors, such as purposely shaking the head, a leg or arm, making intentional facial expressions, or pulling hair may be signs of autism. Autism head shaking is usually accompanied by head banging or other repetitive behavior. Parents might ask, Is hair pulling a sign of autism? While hair pulling can be sign of autism, hair pulling by itself would not be indicative of ASD.
Scientists categorize repetitive behaviors into two groups. So-called lower-order repetitive behaviors are movements such as hand-flapping, fidgeting with objects or body rocking, and vocalizations such as grunting or repeating certain phrases. Higher-order repetitive behaviors include autism traits such as routines and rituals, insistence on sameness and intense interests, .
If you notice that your child often exhibits certain repetitive behaviors that are not appropriately connected to the task they are performing or the environment they are in, you may want to mention the behavior patterns to their physician.
Don’t Miss: Dx Code For Adhd
Can Bouncing A Baby Cause Shaken Baby Syndrome
Shaken baby syndrome is a type of child abuse. It happens when someone violently shakes a baby or small child. Its not caused by:
- Bouncing your baby on your knee.
- Tossing your baby in the air.
- Bicycling with your baby.
- Accidental falls off furniture.
- Sudden stops or going over bumps while driving.
These activities can be dangerous and therefore arent recommended, but they wont cause the kinds of injuries seen in shaken baby syndrome.
Limited Or No Response To Their Name
At 6 months , most infants show an awareness of their own names, especially when its spoken by their mother.
Autistic infants show a developmental difference: By 9 months, many babies who later develop ASD dont orient to their own names. say this usually appears as a pattern of nonresponse, rather than a single instance.
Don’t Miss: Can Autism Be Diagnosed In Adulthood
Understanding Infant Shudder Syndrome
Its difficult for most doctors to determine the etiology of infant shudder syndrome. Some doctors believe that shivering isnt a sign of a serious condition and instead think that it is a normal thing that some babies do. However, if an infant has other conditions, shivering can be a sign of an illness or brain disorder. Parents who witness their infants shuddering should videotape the incidents to show their doctors. One reason why an infant might appear to shiver or shudder could be cerebral palsy caused by a birth injury. When a child is injured during or shortly after birth, they might suffer oxygen deprivation.
You should have a doctor evaluate your baby to identify whether they might have cerebral palsy and contact a birth injury attorney at Raynes & Lawn if cerebral palsy is diagnosed and is believed to be caused by a birth injury. A pediatrician might refer your baby to a neurologist after observing a shuddering spell. A neurological exam might determine that your baby does not have any significant health concerns that require treatment. In many of these types of cases, babies will stop having symptoms of infant shudder syndrome after a few months or years without further problems.
How Are Infantile Spasms Diagnosed
To diagnose infantile spasms, your childs doctor will complete a physical and neurologic exam. Your baby will also need a test called an electroencephalogram , which looks at electrical activity in the brain.
Babies who have infantile spasms often have a unique EEG pattern called hypsarrhythmia. This is a pattern of disorganized background activity and high-voltage spikes and slow waves. Other EEG patterns are also associated with infantile spasms. Your baby’s doctor may want to look at EEG patterns when your child is awake, asleep, as well as capturing spams.
Recommended Reading: How To Tell The Difference Between Social Anxiety And Autism
What Are The Signs Of Asd In Babies
Diagnosing ASD is challenging. One reason for this is that the condition presents differently in all individuals.
Babies can reach developmental milestones at slightly different ages, even when they do not have any health conditions. However, some developmental differences indicate that a baby may be autistic. These include:
Delayed Language Or Speech
Research shows that young autistic children often say and understand fewer words than children with nonautistic development at 12 months. If a child isnt saying single words by 16 months or isnt using two-word phrases by age 2, its a good idea to talk with a pediatrician.
The says language development could be uneven, with exceptional language development in some areas and impairment in other areas.
Don’t Miss: Best Adhd Medication Adults
Attachment To Unusual Interests
One of the easiest child and adult autism symptoms to detect is an intense interest in unusual objects or topics, almost to the point of obsession. For instance, an autistic individual might love items like:
People with autism spectrum disorders know what they like and dont care if it seems uncool. They can also be so passionate that theyll devote vast amounts of time to their interests. Frequently, they become subject matter experts on topics they enjoy. This is one of the primary symptoms of autism in adults. Whether drawing or playing video games, individuals with autism spectrum disorder spend endless amounts of energy practicing their hobby. Most children and adults with autism prefer doing these interests on their own, and there is nothing wrong with that!
When Should I Be Worried About My Baby Shaking
It is rarely a causes for concern if you notice your baby shaking. However, shaking is not always a behavior brought on by an immature nervous system, it can be the result of an illness or injury that needs medical attention.
Here is a list of causes of shaking in babies that are not part of normal infant development:
You May Like: When Is National Autism Day
How We Care For Infantile Spasms
The Infantile Spasms Program is dedicated to providing timely evaluation, testing, treatment, and follow-up for infants with new onset infantile spasms, refractory infantile spasms, and later-onset epileptic spasms. We offer a full range of epilepsy care, including medication-based and dietary treatment for spasms, as well as timely evaluation for epilepsy surgery in infants who have difficult-to-control spasms.
We are a Level 4 Epilepsy Center, recognized by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, and one of the few Level 4 Epilepsy Centers in the country dedicated to caring for children. Our center performs epilepsy surgery in eligible children, including infants.
If Your Baby Shakes A Lot You Should Be Concerned
Life is incomplete without being a parent. There are several specific seizure warning signs to look out for, including shaking:
- Over 20 seconds, shaking is likely to occur
- You are vomiting, moving your eyes strangely, or losing consciousness if you experience shaking
- Afterward, if the baby sleeps for a long time, it may be caused by illness or injury
- In case of any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
The best person to assess your babys health is you, so even if you dont see any of the warning signs, call your doctor or NHS 111.
You might consider showing your health care provider a video of the shaking behavior you are concerned about.
Recommended Reading: What Are The Types Of Autism
Theres A Wide Variety Of Symptoms And Signs Of Autism
Symptoms of autism are varied among individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder . While autism affects both children and adults, the symptoms are usually noticeable by the time a child is between 18 to 24 months of age. Autism is considered a developmental disorder since it most often appears during the first two years of life.. Although, this is not to say that it cannot be diagnosed any other time such as in the teenage years or even adulthood. Autism spectrum disorder begins when children are young. There is such a wide variety of autism symptoms and each can range from mild to severe, which is why each person with autism is unique and can benefit from an individualized intervention plan for their health, behavior, and mental health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , extensive research has shown that the brains of individuals with autism appear to develop differently than their peers without ASD. This difference in brain development is responsible for the challenges those with autism face.
The 10 most common symptoms of autism are:
Its important to note that there are differences in the autism symptoms adults and children display. Symptoms and signs of autism can also change as children transition to adolescence and then to adulthood.
How We Care For Movement Disorders
At Boston Childrens Hospital, we have a team of specialists who specialize in diagnosing and treating movement disorders in children. We evaluate and care for children with dystonia, ataxia, chorea, myoclonus, parkinsonism, tremor, spasticity, tic disorders, Tourette syndrome, and other movement disorders.
Don’t Miss: Can Autistic Kids Live A Normal Life
How Can Shaken Baby Syndrome Be Prevented
Parents or caregivers who shake babies usually say that the shaking occurred when their baby was crying inconsolably. Its normal for babies to cry, and it can get stressful. Understanding the dangers of shaking your baby and finding support can help prevent shaken baby syndrome. Some things you can do to avoid shaken baby syndrome include:
- First, make sure that nothing obvious is wrong with your baby. You should check to see that their diaper is clean and ensure your baby isnt hungry or cold. Make sure theres no sign of illness, such as fever or swelling, and that nothing is causing pain.
- If your baby’s needs are met, try using noise. You can put on a radio, or sing and talk to your baby. Sometimes, babies like noises like vacuum cleaners, clothes dryers, hair dryers or fans.
- Offer your baby a toy or pacifier.
- Try breastfeeding, or offer a bottle to your baby.
- Swaddle your baby, or try rocking them.
- Take your baby for a ride in the car .
- Place your baby in a stroller, and go for a walk.
- Take your baby for a ride on an outdoor swing.
- Ask someone else to take over for you for a period of time so you can have a break. Its very reasonable to ask for help.
- If no one else is available to take over for you, put your baby safely in their crib and leave the room for a few minutes while you calm down. Remember, crying wont hurt babies, but shaking will.
Symptoms Of Infant Shudder Syndrome
Infant shudder syndrome is characterized by shivering in the head and chest area. The shudder happens several times in the cause of the day and even in the infants sleep. The tremors that occur in the sleep result from Benign neonatal sleep.
When the infant is experiencing Benign neonatal sleep, it usually experiences involuntary and quick muscular spasms. The muscle spasms last for seconds at a time before abating.
How does the condition differ from epileptic attacks? Unlike epileptic attacks, infant shudder syndrome lacks a specified trigger, for example, exposure to flashing lights. The condition also stops when the child is gently awoken or aroused.
Parents should seek a proper diagnosis, as infant shudder syndrome is commonly thought to be a seizure.
Seizures are, by far, a more serious condition when compared to infant shudder syndrome. Infant shudder syndrome is a temporary condition that, in most cases, stops when the child turns three.
Don’t Miss: What Color Is The Autism Ribbon
Who Does Shaken Baby Syndrome Affect
Shaken baby syndrome can affect anyone. People who are most likely to shake a baby have a direct connection to the baby or an indirect connection . Shaken baby syndrome can happen among families of any ethnicity, any income range and with any type of family composition.
Shaken baby syndrome most often affects babies younger than 1 year old. Infants between the ages of 2 and 8 months are most at risk. The condition doesnt typically occur in children over the age of 2, but children as old as 6 have been victims of this kind of abuse.