Blog | Supporting Children With Disabilities to Thrive

Supporting Children With Disabilities to Thrive

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Some children have extremely difficult and challenging disabilities that are outside the norm for their age. These problems can result from temporary stressors in the child’s life or they might represent more enduring disorders.

Some of the common disruptive disorders include Global Developmental Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder and Speech Language Disorder. The type and frequency of health disorders is different across ages and genders.

Boys were more likely to have a disorder among younger age groups and girls were more likely to have a disorder among older age groups. For the 17-19 age group, nearly 1 in 4 young women had a disorder, with emotional disorders (particularly anxiety) the most commonly reported.

Global Development Disorder

When young children are slower to develop physical, emotional, social and communication skills than expected, it is called developmental delay. Developmental delay can show up in the way children move, communicate, think & learn, or behave with others. When more than one of these areas is affected, it might be called Global Developmental Delay.

A child may be described as having Global Developmental Delay if they have not reached two or more milestones in all areas of development, called developmental domains. These include:

• Social and Emotional Skills: Interacting with others and development of personal traits and feelings, as well as starting to understand and respond to the needs and feelings of others.

• Motor Skills: Either gross motor skills like sitting up or rolling over and fine motor skills, like picking up small objects.

• Cognitive Skills: The ability to learn new things, process information, organize their thoughts and remember things.

• Speech and Language: This includes babbling, imitating speech & indentifying sounds, and understanding what other people are trying to communicate to them.

Developmental Delay might be short-term, or it might be the first sign of a long-term problem, and long-term Developmental Delays are also called Developmental Disabilities.

Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder is the difficulty in managing, understanding and regulating sensory information. It can cause physical pain and emotional distress. It is important to remember that there is HYPER sensitivity (over) and HYPO sensitivity (under) and both extremes are often present with Sensory Processing Disorder.

Most children have trouble with Sensory information sometimes. But when these reactions happen frequently, or for long periods of time, they can interfere with social interaction, learning, behavior or development.

Children with sensory processing difficulties might be:

Oversensitive (hypersensitive) – That is, they take in too much sensory information.

Undersensitive (hyposensitive) – That is, they take in too little sensory information.

If a child has Sensory Processing Disorder, you might notice that the child:

• Gets anxious and worried in busy or unpredictable environments like parties or on public transport

• Finds it hard to focus

• Gets tired, particularly in busy environments like playgrounds and shopping centers

• Has trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep

• Avoids tasks that involve lots of sensory experiences, like dressing on their own

The sensory systems are vital for knowing what’s happening in our bodies and interacting with each other and our environment. Many people take their senses for granted. But some children and adults have a disorder affecting the nervous system that impacts the normal processing of sensory information.

Speech Language Disorder

Using a language is a skill that allows us to share our ideas and feelings, to learn in school, and to understand the whole world around us.

A language delay occurs when a child’s language is developing slower than other children of the same age, but it is following the typical pattern of development. This disorder is secondary if the child has another difficulty, which has impacted on their language skills, such as Autism or Global Developmental Disorder. When a language delay is primary there will be no other difficulty identified.

Few common features of Speech Language Disorder include:

• Late to talk and first words do not appear by the age of 15-18 months

• The child has difficulty understanding what is being said to them and has difficulties following instructions

• The child’s language sounds immature for their age

• May have difficulties with eye contact, attending to activities and to speech and using sounds and gestures

Diagnosis alone is not the solution, it is vital to identify what medical intervention is needed. Diagnosing Speech Language Disorder in a child simply opens the door to getting the help that is needed by arming all involved with the relevant information.

At Chetna Foundation, we provide a range of services to help and support families across India, working with organizations and professionals so that children get the best start in life.

Growing up is a challenge for everyone, but for some it’s more difficult than others. We offer practical and emotional support so that young people can enter adulthood with the confidence they need to achieve their full potential.