Its is important to understand these disorders, how they can be diagnosed and managed and spread awareness about these amongst parents, children and community at large. The basic problem is that the Indian Population is significantly unaware of the developmental disorders and many families suffer because they are not able to understand what specific problem their children are suffering from and address it. This causes frustration and unease in adults and children alike.
If diagnosed at an early stage, the suffering children can be given professional medical help and assistance so that they can grow up in a conducive environment and live respected lives. This is where the Caregivers like Nurses and Trained Attendants come into play, who can help these specially abled children lead normal lives.
About Developmental Disorders
The developmental disorders can be broadly classified into Learning Disorders, Language Disorders and Neurological Disorders.Neurological disorders that affect children during pregnancy, infancy or early childhood and intensify as the child grows up, and hamper with child’s overall development are called Neurodevelopmental Disorders. They affect the central nervous system, emotional stability and learning ability of the child. Their origin can be genetic, immune dysfunction or trauma caused during pregnancy.
Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting children in their early childhood. Parents generally notice the autistic behaviors in the children in the first two to three years. This condition leaves the child’s motor ability restricted and repetitive. The children are awkward in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and have impaired growth. Autism affects the information processing mechanism of the brain, the neuron arrangement and exchange of signals at the synapses is abnormal within the patient. As the child grows, the severity of Autism increases and autistic children are always dependant on their parents for their daily activities for life long.
Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of the extra 21st chromosome (full or part) , while the foetus of the child develops during pregnancy. Normally during the inception of pregnancy, cell division results in the formation of 23 pairs of chromosomes (i.e.46 chromosomes in total), 23 each coming from both parents. But in case of affected children, an extra 21st chromosome (part or full) is present. Such children have an IQ of 8-9 yr old when they become adults and can not lead normal life. They are characterised by flat face, short neck and restricted activity at birth.
Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, behaves and goes about his day to day activity. Patients lose touch with aspects of reality, suffer from hallucinations, delusions and thought disorders. They have very restricted memory, speak less, have trouble paying attention, increased reaction time, poor decision making ability and generally lose emotional interest in people and daily activities. They need constant attention and care from their immediate family members. Their state of mental and emotional well being is affected.
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Children suffering from ADHD suffer from very limited attention span, abnormal body movements due to imbalance in nervous system and anomalous social behavior disappropriate of their age. This also causes lack of ability to learn and social awkwardness among them. They need constant adult care and can not lead 100% independent lives. The condition can be noticed in preschool or early years of school.
Dyslexia is a language based learning disability. Kids suffering from dyslexia can not read and comprehend written text, cannot spell, recall and write long words, confuse similarly spelt words and face difficulty in differentiating between sensible and non-sensible words. In short, they suffer from the disability of comprehension, reading and writing of language. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday, Agatha Christie, Richard Branson all suffered from dyslexia.
Other such disorders include HIV, Cerebral Palsy, Type 1 Diabetes, Nutrition deficiency disorders, Metabolic disorders.
How professional medical help can improve the health of children suffering from Developmental Disorders
Professional medical aid by trained CareGivers is necessary in all the disorders mentioned above because the affected patients are children who grow up to be completely dependable adults. Early Diagnosis, Informed treatment, Effective Psychiatric consultation and strong communication between children and parents are some of the major steps that can lead to a better management of suffering children and their families.
Prompt Detection during pregnancy, infancy and early childhood
Many of the above mentioned disorders, like autism, Dyslexia, ADHD and type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in early childhood. Some like Down Syndrome can even be detected during pregnancy. Parents, especially couples who are having their first child are unaware of any such disorders or methods to detect them. So trained Caregivers during Pre and Post Natal pregnancy care prove effective.
Regular Monitoring and Care of the Affected Child
Children suffering from autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome and Schizophrenia need constant Adult vigilance. They can not function normally otherwise. They need help in bathing, dressing, communication to people and eating. Since family can not be present all the time, Caregivers are a need to help take care of the affected children and teach them how to handle themselves with patience. They also need to be monitored for their progress and emotional behavior.
Physical and emotional support
Children suffering from neurodevelopmental disorders are in constant need of emotional support to help them feel secure and need daily physical assistance to help them bathe, get dressed and eat. Many time the family can not be around, so a professional attendant can help facilitate them.
Effective channel between the suffering child and parents
The trained Caregivers can prove to be highly effective in establishing a strong bond and understanding between the child and the parents. Parents being unaware of the intricacies involved with the disorder are often in a state of shock and disbelief and behave unexpectedly with the child. They are unable to understand his behaviour and mood swings. While the child needs parents support at the initial stage, he becomes the prey their anger. Here is where trained CareGivers can form a bridge between the suffering child and the parents, helping them understand and communicate with each other better.
Nurturing the creative abilities of the Children suffering from Developmental disorders
The suffering children especially Autistic and Dyslexic children posses incredible creative abilities, imagination power and artistic side. They can excel in painting, story telling, Origami and other fields. If their energies are diverted in positive direction, they can become excellent artists, writers or even scientists. People like Albert Einstein – A renowned scientist, Agatha Christie – famous author and Richard Branson – veteran Industrialist have all suffered from one of these conditions. But have overcome them and reached heights in their fields.
All the affected children need is attention, time, emotional support and correct guidance to lead happy, peaceful and successful lives.
Along with this spreading awareness in the society about these disorders, creating conducive environment for these kids to grow up, opening special schools for them, encouraging their talents and supporting the affected families can help cope with these developmental disorders.