A birth defect characterized by an abnormally small head, a receding forehead, and large ears and nose. The condition often signals an abnormally small brain and the presence of other disorders such ascerebral palsy.
Microcephaly is occasionally obvious at birth, particularly if the fontanelle, or soft spot, is closed. It is typically diagnosed by measuring the circumference of the baby's head. Sometimes this measurement can be taken in utero through ultrasound waves. The child's physical growth is usually retarded, and he or she suffers delays in speech and mental development. Some children have seizures, crossed eyes, and spastic paralysis.
The treatment for a microcephalic child is essentially therapeutic, depending on the attending disabilities. The parents may need to learn special feeding techniques if the child's swallowing techniques are underdeveloped. Physical therapy can improve the child's coordination and strengthen or relax the muscles. Seizures and involuntary movements can be prevented by drugs such as anticonvulsants and muscle relaxers. Wheelchairs and orthopedic devices can aid mobility. Speech therapy can help the child to overcome communication difficulties.
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation Address: 1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605 Telephone: (914) 428-7100
FAX: (914) 997-4763
Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability Address: Box 721 WMHC
420 Delaware SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455 Telephone: (612) 626-4032
FAX: (612) 626-2134
Association of Birth Defect Children Address: 827 Irma Avenue
Orlando, FL 32803 Telephone: (407) 245-7035; toll-free (800) 313-2232