Early Identification and Intervention: Children with Disabilities

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  • Every child is unique. Children progress rapidly in their early years. Individual children have their own strengths and weaknesses. Their developmental progress occurs in certain sequences, but the pace of development may vary.

  • The early identification of children’s developmental delays or learning difficulties helps us understand and take the required steps to support the children and ensure their optimum development and learning. This early identification facilitates the use of intervention strategies to provide the required positive early experiences for children at risk of academic difficulties.

Children with Disabilities

Children With Disabilities

Children with Disabilities

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Disability can be defined as any limitation or restriction to perform developmentally appropriate activities which are desired by society. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: Children and Youth Version (ICF-CY) defined disability as, “neither purely biological nor social but instead the interaction between health conditions, environmental and personal factors.”

It described disability at three levels:

  • an impairment in body function or structure, such as a cataract which prevents the passage of light and sensing of form, shape, and size of visual stimuli

  • a limitation in activity, such as the inability to read or move around

  • a restriction in participation, such as exclusion from school. The term, children with disabilities, is used to refer to the children with disabling health conditions or impairment or as a result of illness, poor nutrition or injury.

The Major Disabilities

In our community we see people around who cannot walk or have some body part deformed; have difficulty in seeing or hearing; have difficulty in understanding or learning. These people are suffering from some impairment and are having disability. The major range of disabilities is listed below.

  • Sensory impairment: Any condition which implies a loss or impairment of the sensory organs such as hearing, vision, speech and olfactory senses. While a majority of such conditions can be treated and rehabilitated, some conditions persist lifelong and might require therapy and constant support.

  • Developmental disabilities: These are diverse group of chronic conditions which are due to mental or physical impairment. This may include delayed or abnormal development.

  • Learning disability: This refers to an impairment of cognitive abilities that manifests as a certain type of learning-related disability.

These differ from child to child, based on the particular cognitive function that is affected like:

  • input (difficulty processing visual information)

  • difficulty in processing audio or lingual information

  • integration (putting together the information and making sense of it)

  • storage (memory-related)

  • output (having trouble expressing the information)

The biggest challenge with learning disability is that they are harder to identify and diagnose.

  • Behavioral issues: Children with behavioral issues may experience difficulty in responding to the regular forms of care and discipline that works with other children.

  • Mental and psychological conditions: Delayed mental development and mental retardation can be listed as intellectual disorders in children while conditions such as anxiety, chronic depression and mood swings can be classified as psychological disorders.

  • Medical conditions: This bracket includes children suffering from weakening chronic conditions such as heart disease, muscular dystrophy, cancer, cerebral palsy, etc. These children may suffer from long periods of extremely poor health, interspersed with numerous tests, hospital stays and prolonged medication. This negatively impacts a normal childhood.