• Medical conditions associated with autism

    Autism is a developmental disorder that can cause physical, emotional and behavioral differences. It’s challenging to raise a child with autism , and these challenges can be accompanied by medical conditions. Pediatric specialists have identified several medical conditions that occur at higher rates in children with autism, including gastrointestinal problems and sleep disorders. If you have any concerns about your child’s health or development, consider talking to a pediatric specialist at Sunrise Children’s Hospital.

    Gastrointestinal problems

    The medical conditions that are most strongly associated with autism are gastrointestinal disorders. A child with autism is more likely to experience the following:

    • Chronic constipation
    • Chronic diarrhea
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
    • Abdominal pain

    A child’s stomach problems may be further compounded by food selectivity. Many children with autism are picky eaters who may not get enough important nutrients in their diets, such as fiber. It takes patience and persistence—and perhaps professional help—to encourage a picky eater to try new foods.

    Sleep disturbances

    Problems falling asleep and staying asleep are common for children with autism. Pediatric specialists note that sleep is essential for a child’s physical and emotional health, behavioral stability and academic progress. Here are a few tips to help children with autism sleep better :

    • Maintain a predictable sleep/wake schedule.
    • Do a predictable, relaxing bedtime routine.
    • Maintain a cool, dark sleep environment.
    • Avoid giving the child caffeine.
    • Encourage daytime exercise.

    Anxiety disorders

    Dedicated pediatric specialists firmly believe that every child deserves good quality of life. Unfortunately, children with autism often suffer from anxiety disorders that can limit their enjoyment of life. Since children can be particularly sensitive to medications, a pediatric specialist may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy as a first course of action. If therapy alone cannot adequately manage the child’s anxiety, parents might consider weighing the pros and cons of medications with the help of a pediatric specialist.

    Raising a child with autism certainly has its challenges, but if you live in the greater Las Vegas area, your family can count on support from the pediatrics team at Sunrise Children’s Hospital . We are a specialized children’s hospital that provides compassionate care to young patients and their families. Call our nurse referral line at (702) 233-5437.

  • Can children become organ donors?

    Just like adults, children can be diagnosed with diseases and medical conditions that cause organ failure. Unfortunately, it’s often more challenging to match a child in need of an organ to a suitable donor organ. Not all children are large enough to receive adult-size or even teenager-size organs. Here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our pediatric specialists keenly feel parents’ pain when they are told that their children could die without an organ transplant. During National Donate Life Month this April, take a few minutes to become better informed about the critical need for organ donors in Las Vegas and around the country.

    Understanding the need for organ donors

    Children’s hospital staff members do everything possible to save the lives of children, but sometimes even superior pediatric care fails. The loss of an infant or an older child is unspeakably devastating. It can be difficult to make major decisions in the immediate aftermath of a child’s death, but taking a few minutes to consider organ donation is an act of love. In the U.S., there are nearly 2,000 young patients waiting for a life-saving organ , according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2015, 939 families made the decision to give the gift of life to other families by donating their children’s organs.

    Deciding to donate a child’s organs

    The decision to donate is a personal one. Many parents decide to donate their child’s organs because, in the midst of their own heartbreak, they wish to help save the lives of other children. Some parents are comforted by the thought that, although they’ve lost their own precious child, a part of their child will live on in someone else.

    Authorizing organ donation

    If an organ donor is under 18 years of age, the donation must be authorized by a parent or legal guardian. If you’re considering pediatric organ donation, a doctor or nurse can guide you through it and answer your questions.

    At Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, parents will find high-quality, compassionate care delivered by dedicated pediatric specialists. It’s our mission to give your child and your whole family the care and support you deserve. You can call a nurse at our children’s hospital at (702) 233-5437.

  • Should you be worried about stress in your child?

    Just like adults, children experience stress and its unhealthy consequences. However, they might not always recognize that stress is the reason they aren’t feeling well. Furthermore, children often lack the coping skills necessary to deal with stress in a positive way. Sunrise Children’s Hospital places a high priority on the emotional health of our young patients and their families. Our children’s hospital in Las Vegas offers extensive patient support services, including guidance on coping skills.

    Understanding the sources of childhood stress

    Children can experience stress from all sorts of sources. Overscheduled kids can easily become overwhelmed by their time commitments. Kids feel stress from peer pressure, sibling relationships, academic expectations and distressing world news. They pick up on the stress of their parents, which affects them just as much as their own stress. Children also experience severe stress from divorce, death, domestic violence and severe illnesses. If your child is hospitalized, he or she will have sensitive emotional needs. A pediatric specialist can help your child and his or her siblings cope with the challenges of hospitalization.

    Identifying the signs of childhood stress

    Stress can look different in children than adults. Since your child might not be able to clearly articulate his or her worries, it’s necessary to assess the external signs of stress. Some physical changes that stress can cause include the following:

    • Headaches
    • Changes in eating habits
    • Changes in sleeping patterns
    • Upset stomach
    • Nightmares
    • New or recurrent bedwetting
    • Vague physical complaints with no known cause

    You might also notice behavioral or emotional changes in your child, such as the following:

    • Inability to relax
    • Excessive worrying
    • Clinginess
    • New or recurrent fears
    • Inability to control emotions
    • Unusual aggressiveness or stubbornness
    • Withdrawal from usual activities

    It’s distressing to witness a child experience these problems, but a pediatric specialist can help your whole family cope with adverse situations.

    At Sunrise Children’s Hospital , our dedication to superior care is reflected in all that we do. We understand that a visit to our children’s hospital can be stressful, which is why we invite families to work with a Child Life specialist, who offers emotional support and coping education. For the answers to your questions about our children’s hospital services in Las Vegas, you can connect with a nurse at (702) 233-5437.

  • Seeking care for pediatric tumors

    There are significant differences between pediatric cancer and cancer in adults. Childhood cancers aren’t significantly influenced by lifestyle choices and environmental factors, for instance. Children’s bodies can also respond differently to cancer treatments. If your child has been diagnosed with cancer, it’s crucial to turn to childhood cancer specialists, such as Pediatric Oncology and Special Services at Sunrise Children’s Hospital .

    Surgery to remove tumors in children

    When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a pediatric surgeon at Sunrise Children’s Hospital discuss the surgical removal of tumors in children. He explains that when the cancer does involve a solid mass tumor, surgery is often the primary treatment. The goal of the pediatric surgeon is to remove the entire tumor while leaving as much of the healthy tissue as possible. Some children have cancer that does not form a solid tumor, such as leukemia and lymphoma. These children might still be referred to a pediatric surgeon, who can place a port to be used for chemotherapy.

    Chemotherapy for pediatric cancer

    Most pediatric cancers respond better to chemotherapy drugs compared to adult tumors. The average child can also tolerate chemo better than the body of the average adult. However, chemo can still cause serious short-term and long-term side effects, which means the patient will need follow-up evaluations periodically for his or her lifetime. During chemotherapy, a child’s immune system won’t be as effective at fighting off infections. To reduce the child’s exposure to germs, it may be necessary to keep him or her out of school for a while. Alternative education options are available, which parents can explore with the help of a social worker.

    Radiation therapy for pediatric cancer

    Radiation therapy is painless, but it can cause short-term and long-term side effects. It might also be frightening for young children. If your child’s oncologist recommends radiation therapy, ask if you and your child can tour the facility before the treatment. Seeing the treatment area in advance may help calm your child’s nerves.

    Sunrise Children’s Hospital offers more than just sophisticated, specialized cancer treatments for young patients. At our children’s hospital in Las Vegas, it’s our mission to give children and families extensive emotional support and coping education. Call a nurse at (702) 233-5437 to discuss our pediatric cancer care or Child Life services.