Medication Management for Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders
What is a neurodevelopmental disorder? Children’s brains are constantly developing. They are subject to continuous modifications and re-wiring of connections within the brain due to constant stimulation from the environment and the interplay of their genetic makeup. Many children develop in what is considered to be a neurotypical fashion. Developmental milestones are generally met on time, and the brain is able to connect and communicate in a way that leads to typical social, physical, and psychological development. However, some children develop in an atypical fashion and their development does not proceed in this manner. When the development of the brain (or central nervous system) does not proceed in a neurotypical manner (often due to genetic or biological factors), children may be diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder. The causes of these disorders can be attributable to multiple factors, and developmental can even proceed differently for children who have the same diagnosis.
For example, the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder can present differently given the severity of symptoms or specific constellation of symptoms that a child exhibits. One child may display more impairments in social communication, whereas another child may have fixated and restricted interests that impact their ability to engage in school and other important activities. In other words, the brain’s development is altered in an atypical fashion and subsequent behavioral symptoms may occur as a result.
It is common for children with neurodevelopmental disorders to experience the following symptoms: anxiety, depression, aggression, intense “meltdowns” or tantrums that last longer than a few minutes, oppositional behavior, defiance, inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Given the development of their brain, atypically developing children struggle to manage their emotions and behaviors. This is important to know so that our expectations of their behavior and ability to control their emotions can be adjusted accordingly.
If you have a child who has been diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder and experiences these associated symptoms, you may benefit from a consultation with a pediatric practitioner. Not every child that demonstrates these symptoms is appropriate for medication management. However, there are some cases that warrant medication management given the impact these symptoms have upon the child’s ability to function in different environments, engage in safe behaviors, refrain from engaging in aggressive behaviors that could harm themselves or others, or de-escalate highly distressing emotional states.
Please call us and schedule a consultation to help determine if medication management is right for your child (or if you would like to transfer your child’s medication-treatment of these symptoms to our provider). In the meantime, we would like to introduce you to our pediatric nurse practitioner: Melanie Sida, NP.
Melanie Sida, MSN, RN, CPNP
Melanie has a Masters of Science in Nursing and is a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She is Certified by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. She graduated from University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Nursing in 2002. She received her Bachelor’s of Nursing from The University of Utah School of Nursing in 1991. She has 26 years of experience as an RN and 16 years as a PNP, all of which are in Pediatrics. Melanie practiced in the Evergreen and Denver area as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in private practice before moving to Colorado Springs in 2015.
She has also worked as a clinical instructor for Pediatrics at UCCS, Metro State and Regis University and taught nursing school at Arapahoe Community College. She specializes in developmental and behavioral problems including ADHD, depression and mood disorders, and children with Autism and special needs. Her personal interests include outdoor activities such as hiking and camping and spending time with her daughter.
Melanie specializes in medication management of the following disorders:
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Genetic/Chromosomal Disorders with accompanying behavioral issues
Please call us at 719-373-9703 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation. We also ask that you complete the referral form (click the link below titled “Referral Form”). This form will help us screen your child’s symptoms in advance to determine if Melanie will be a good fit for your child.