Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Causes of poor working memory and processing speed?
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Causes of poor working memory and processing speed?

My son who is 10 years old has had many health issues since birth. Frequent breathing difficulties since the day he was born which Doctor always said was just asthma. At 3 months he was diagnosed with failure to thrive turned out to be a severe zinc deficiency. Breathing problems continued and at one point were very persistent. At 5 months a chest xray showed a shifted mediastinum, which radiologist said was probably there since birth....Throughout the years as my son has gotten older he has dealt with learning disabilities. Socially he seems normal. He struggles in school....Our Pediatrican had him evaluated and he was just diagnosed as "learning disabled." His IQ is 62, however adaptive skills are great. Evaluation showed poor short term memory and processing speed. Just wondering what could cause it? Could breathing problems as a child cause this? I need more answers and don't know where to go next. My doctor said he doesn't need to see a Neurologist, but I feel that he should. I would appreciate any advice. thank you.
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I am sorry to learn of your son’s problems, but find it encouraging that he has great “adaptive skills.”  You and he should continue to work on these, unceasingly.  Your description suggests that his learning disabilities were present at birth and thus congenital.  Respiratory problems, beginning at birth, might have resulted in low oxygen levels that, in turn, might have contributed to his current learning problems but there is no way to prove that and, for me, that possibility must remain speculative.  

I tend to agree with his Pediatrician that your son’s being seen by a neurologist might not be fruitful, or at least not change his prognosis.  On the other hand, consultation with specialists in “learning disabilities” could potentially be very helpful.  Also, given your continuing concerns, it would not be unreasonable to seek a second opinion from a pediatric physician and his cohorts in a department specializing in learning disabilities at the nearest University Medical Center.  Such a consultation would be the most likely way for you to get “more answers.”

Good luck
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