Pediatric Neurological Examination

"Our researchers are evolving increasingly sophisticated MRI technology that's helping us gain a better understanding of cognitive disorders in children." ---- David K. Urion, MD, Director, Learning Disabilities/Behavioral Neurology Program

The central nervous system (CNS) – brain and spinal cord – is a workhorse. It allows you to stay balanced in your chair, move your eyes across this sentence and understand the words you’re reading. It can also tell you that you’re chilly and need a sweater, alert you to the smell of something burning or help you catch a glass before it falls to the floor.

That’s why your child’s doctor is careful to see if the CNS may be involved if your child is having symptoms like headaches or changes in her behavior, cognition or motor skills, or if she’s having changes in how she sees, hears, tastes, smells or responds to tactile sensations.In any of these cases—or any time her doctor thinks the brain, spinal cord, nerves or muscles may be affected—we may recommend a neurological exam.

During a neurological exam, your child’s doctor observes her central nervous system in action. It’s a quick and most often painless series of “tests,” but it can provide us with a lot of information. We may test your child’s:

  • mental status
  • motor skills
  • sensory skills
  • balance and coordination
  • reflexes
  • functioning of the nerves

These exams are most often painlessand are usually performed right in the doctor’s office.

How Boston Children's Hospital approaches neurological exams

The Department of Neurology at Boston Children's is the oldest, largest and best-known program in pediatric neurology in the world.

Our department includes child neurologists with special expertise in such areas as epilepsy, learning disabilities and other developmental disabilities, attention deficit disorders, sleep disorders, neuromuscular disorders, brain tumors, neurogenetic disorders, neonatal neurology, intellectual disability and cerebral palsy, pediatric neuro-immunology, and pediatric multiple sclerosis and related disorders, among other neurological disorders in children. You and your child are in good hands with us.

Top ranking
Boston Children's Hospital has been ranked #1 in Neurology and Neurosurgery by
U.S. News & World Report.