TODAY -

Understand your kids with developmental delays to boost them succeed

Dr Shekhar Biswas *



All children need love, encouragement, and support, and for kids with developmental delay, such positive reinforcement can help ensure that they emerge with a strong sense of self-worth, confidence, and the determination to keep going even when things are tough.

Early in childhood, a parent might notice that a child has a global developmental delay including delays in all areas of development like language, walking, self-care skills, and/or imitative play.

Cognitive deficits, also called intellectual disability, is a condition beginning in childhood in which people show significant limitations in their ability to learn and function. Children with more severe impairments or those with obvious dysmorphic features are often identified in the first year of life.

With less significant impairments, the first sign of a cognitive deficit might be difficulties in school. For example, the child might have trouble learning to read and do math. Some parents may only notice a delay in their child after a younger sibling catches up developmentally to the child with the developmental delay.

In other instances, the child might first demonstrate behavioral issues (such as difficulty toilet training), that may ultimately come to the attention of a medical professional and be found to be related to delays in development.

As a parent what you have to do is to identify how your child learns the best – is he/she a
1. Visual learner - Learns best by seeing, reading or picturizing through diagrams, maps, may love to draw read and write. Does well when material is presented and tested visually, not verbally,
2. Auditory learner - Learns best by listening, does well in lecture-based learning environments and on oral reports and tests, Benefits from classroom discussions, spoken directions, study groups
3. Kinesthetic learner - Learns best by doing and moving, benefits from hands-on activities, lab classes, props, skits, and field trips.

A multidisciplinary approach is recommended to identify and manage any concurrent conditions, academic performance, social/behavioral functioning, and independent living skills. Early intervention and appropriate school placement are essential to meet the child at his or her intellectual level and proceed at his or her pace towards specific objectives and goals.

In searching for ways to help children with learning disabilities, look for ways to help them to grow stronger and become more resilient. A good attitude won’t solve the problems associated with a learning disability, but it can give your child hope and confidence that things can improve and that he or she will eventually succeed.

The causes of cognitive disabilities are generally divided into prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal factors. Prenatal causes may include genetic abnormalities, infections, exposures to substances that cause birth defects, and central nervous system malformations Down syndrome are among the most common genetic causes of intellectual disability.

Fetal malnutrition, prematurity and decreased oxygen supply to the fetal brain is among perinatal causes. Infections, suffocation, accidental and non accidental traumas, brain damage, CNS tumors are a few acquired causes.

A variety of therapists and services, including nursing services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, the use of adaptive equipment, speech-language therapy, nutritional counseling, audiology services, psychological intervention, recreation therapy, and social work services, can be used to treat the associated impairments sometimes seen with cognitive disabilities. Regular and special education teachers provide educational services.

Sometimes, children with attention deficits, learning disabilities, communication disorders, or pervasive developmental disorders may be thought to have intellectual disability. About 5% of the population has cognitive deficits, and most of these individuals fall into the mild range deficit category.


* Dr Shekhar Biswas wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer is a Consultant pediatrician and New Born specialist at Jaipur Golden hospital & Director, Kindergarten clinics, Rohini, New Delhi
This article was webcasted on May 07, 2019.



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