SELECTED ARTICLE
Author
Gerald Fitzgerald 
Article Title
Understanding Non Organic Failure To Thrive Syndrome For A Baby 
Posted Date
3/22/2009 
 

Failure To Thrive is a restriction in normal physical development which might lead to slow-downs in the normal development and normal maturation. Failure To Thrive is a diagnosis given to infants who are consistently underweight or who do not show weight gain. Many causes involve environmental and social elements which work together to keep the baby from having access to the nutrition the baby needs. Occasionally, medical issues prevent a baby from growing normally. Another major contributing factor is the infant's own intolerances.

Environmental And Social Based Problems For The Condition
Many environmental and social elements can be responsible for Failure To Thrive. Parental abuse or neglect, parental mental health issues, and disordered family situations in which regular, nutritious meals are not provided, may all blunt a child's appetite and intake of food. The amount of money a family makes available for food and the nutritional value of the food they have also affects normal development. Inadequate intake of food may be a symptom of inadequate parenting and not enough environmental stimulation.

When the problems are not based in medical issues, this is called Non Organic Failure To Thrive Syndrome. Long ago, Non Organic Failure To Thrive Syndrome was thought to be caused by inadiquate parenting. But there are many recent articles which have shown a growing understanding that poor parenting may be an infrequent cause of the condition.

Medical Disorders as The Causes Of The Failure To Thrive
Sometimes Failure To Thrive Syndrome is caused by a medical disorder in the baby. This is often called Organic Failure to Thrive. The disorder can be as simple as difficulty drinking, chewing, or swallowing (as with a cleft lip or cleft palate). Medical difficulties, such as acid reflux, narrowing of the esophagus, or poor intestinal absorption, may also affect a child's ability to obtain nutrition from food. And, other medical problems such as infections, tumors, hormonal or metabolic disorders (such as diabetes or cystic fibrosis), heart diseases, kidney diseases, genetic disorders, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are other medical reasons for Failure To Thrive.

Reactions To Sensitivities and Intolerances
Sometimes an infant's or a baby's Non Organic Failure To Thrive is caused by the infant's defenses responding to normal environmental factors as if those normal things were toxic. This is a sensitivity to some environmental factors which the child's body thinks are toxic. This reaction to this "toxic attack" could include shutting down the baby's normal developmental process as a temporary conservation tactic until the "toxic attack" goes away. And, because these environmental factors are not toxic to others, the family and the medical professionals do not know to eliminate these "toxic" factors from the baby's environment. In this case this temporary conservation defensive reaction continues indefinitely. This means that the baby's own defenses interferes with the baby's normal developmental process on an ongoing basis, because of the child's intolerances.

Doctors indicate that a child has Failure To Thrive when the baby's weight or rate of growth is well below what it should be when compared with former measurements or standard height-weight charts. If the rate of growth is adequate, the baby may be small but still growing appropriately. To find out why a baby may be failing to grow normally, doctors ask parents specific questions about feeding, bowel habits, social, emotional, and financial stability of the family, which might affect the baby's access to food, and illnesses that the baby has had or that run in the family. The medical practitioner examines the baby, looking for signals which might explain the baby's growth delay. The medical practitioner makes decisions about blood and urine tests and x-rays based on this initial evaluation. More testing is performed only if the doctor believes there is an underlying disease.

Determining The Child's Sensitivities and Intolerances
There are some published diets ( for instance: Gluten Free, Casein Free, and Feingold diets) which attempt to deal with these intolerance issues. These diets function well for those children who are sensitive to the things which are specifically restricted by these programs. But, for the majority of Non Orhanic Failure To Thrive children whose intolerances are affecting their development and growth, these diets are not quite right and not specifically designed for them. It is best to have a specialist, who knows how to perform this specific test for intolerance, work with your Non Organic Failure To Thrive child to determine your child's precise list of intolerances. Those who perform this testing can include chiropractors, nutritionists, and other wellness practitioners trained for this specific type of evaluation.

Treatment and Prognosis For The Issues In Medical Disorders And Environmental And Social Causes
The medical difficulties and environmental and social roots approach assumes there is something wrong with the baby's body or the child's social environment. These interventions are focused on a fault in the baby's nutritional processing or nutritional access. Treatment depends on the cause of the difficulty. If a medical difficulty is found, specific interventions are performed. Otherwise, treatment depends on how far below normal the baby's weight is.

Mild to moderate Failure To Thrive is treated with high-calorie nutritious feedings given on a regular schedule. Parents might be counseled about family interactions that are damaging to the child and about social and financial resources available to them. More severe Failure To Thrive Syndrome is treated in the hospital where social workers, nutritionists, feeding specialists, psychiatrists, and other specialists work together to determine the most likely causes of the child's Failure To Thrive and the best program to recovery.

Treatment For When The Issues Of The Failure To Thrive Syndrome Are In Sensitivities and Intolerances
The interventions for the intolerances approach is to determine which environmental factors the baby is responding to and eliminates those things from the baby's environment. When the baby is no longer reacting to those, the normal developmental process re-engages and growth and development can proceed normally. With this intervention, food is absorbed and development gets back on track. There are specialists in Non Organic Failure To Thrive syndrome who can determine your child's intolerances and coach you in getting your child back on track.

Summary
The environmental and social approach for Non Organic Failure To Thrive children assumes that something is wrong in the baby's social environment in such a way that nourishment is not available or is not accepted by the baby. The medical difficulties approach for Organic Failure To Thrive infants and children assumes that nourishment is not being processed and absorbed by the baby because of some medical difficulty. The intolerances approach for Non Organic Failure To Thrive Syndrome assumes that the baby is having responses to environmental factors and these responses are shutting down the normal development and growth process.

 
References

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