Need to Protect Children with Disabilities to Fulfill and Realise Their Aspirations
Many children and young people with disabilities in India and around the world face barriers that prevent them from living full lives. Every child in this world has something to offer. His or her energies, talents and ideas can make a positive difference to families, communities and to our world and it is up to us to enable them to share their gifts.
Parents of children with a disability often find that general knowledge is not sufficient to help them out with very specific questions that come up in their situation. If specific disability support is available, all too often the support is not offered in the homes of parents but only in segregated special facilities.
The effect that exposure to neglect has on children varies and some children are more resilient than others. In general, more severe and prolonged neglect results in more severe effects. Neglected children suffer serious negative outcomes and that neglect appears to have serious negative effects on the cognitive, emotional and social development of children.
Emotional and Behavioral Disorder
Many parents lack knowledge about child development. They may assume social, emotional and behavioral in the early years are transient, hence do not express concern or seek help about the problems.
The early childhood years from birth to age 3 or the first 1000 days, are a time of rapid physical, emotional and cognitive development. Many children experience developmentally normal and temporary social, emotional and behavioral problems during this time. However, for some children, these problems may also be the start of a pattern of more severe and persistent social, emotional and behavioral difficulties.
These disorders are responses that are very different from generally accepted age-proportionate norms of children with the same ethnic or cultural background which significantly impair the child’s and/or family’s functioning.
The most common causes are believed to include the following:
• Attachment History: Lack of acceptance/needs being met/emotional warmth/positive feedback/managing emotional response by caregiver.
• Trauma History: Domestic violence/abuse/neglect/bullying/violent crime/social exclusion/hate.
Most young children with social, emotional and behavioral difficulties do not receive professional help. Thus, the early childhood years represent a key period for identifying children at risk of ongoing difficulties, who are likely to benefit from early, appropriate and timely support.
Hearing loss affects 1 in 6 of us, from birth or acquired during the course of our lives and has a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. It is largely preventable or treatable with cost effective interventions and the costs of unaddressed hearing loss to individuals, their families and wider society are immense.
Hearing loss can impact on children’s communication and literacy development and affect education and future work prospects. Newborn babies who show signs of hearing loss are referred to specialist services for assessment, diagnosis, treatment and management, including fitting of hearing aids where appropriate.
Deafness, hearing impairment or hearing loss happens when one or more parts of the ear are not working effectively. Possible causes include:
• A genetic (inherited) reason: Around half the deaf children born in India are deaf because of genetics.
• Complications during pregnancy
• Being born prematurely: This can increase the risk of a child being deaf or becoming deaf.
• A head injury or exposure to loud noise:This can damage the hearing system.
To develop spoken language, children must be able to hear speech clearly and also to hear themselves. If your child suffers from hearing loss, their basic language development will often be delayed. As your child grows, they face a range of challenges during different stages of their lives and hearing loss will impact their life differently in the transition from being in the security of your home to being on their own in challenging environments.
Articulation disorders are characterized by difficulty in learning to produce sounds physically. It is also used interchangeably with functional speech disorder or articulation delay where the child has difficulty making specific speech sounds.
An articulation disorder can make a child’s speech difficult to understand. The level of unintelligibility depends on the level and types of difficulties the child is experiencing. Few examples of this disorder are:
• Increased chance of miscommunication
• Difficulties with reading and literacy skills
• Increase levels of frustration
• Long term social, vocational and academic implications.
Assessing your child’s speech skills to establish your child’s ability to produce individual speech sounds early is very crucial. Speech and language therapy can help children develop the sounds they are struggling to produce through different strategies and exercises.
Children with disabilities need more specialized support to develop better. For children to reach their full potential it would be good to support parents and their children with early an intervention.
Chetna Foundation supports children with disabilities who have experienced trauma in their life. We are a strong community with a shared vision of equality. We provide practical advice and emotional support whenever people need them most.