Admission cycle of the year is the time when we meet lot of new parents and their child. Like the previous few years, it gives me a heavy heart to see few children coming in with delayed milestones or differently abled skills.
Recently, I attended a workshop conducted by a renowned child psychiatrist, on the importance of early screening of such deviations or delays in children. Certain special needs are set in by nature, while some are nurtured by the environment. We have been having lot of charts to mark the different development milestones of the child and also to get them into therapy if there are deviations. As a person who strongly believe not tagging the child, it left me dwell with many thoughts on the reason behind the increase in such children being tagged with various needs.
1. Shouldn’t there be a screening for the couple getting into family way? (which is more important to fix the cause of the problem) To say a few,
a. Non-Consanguineous marriage.
b. Both the parents less than 30 years (for the fertilized egg to be really healthy).
c. One of the parents be ready to spend the first 1000 days of the child in helping him meet all his physical and psychical needs. (this is really very important)
2. Anything the nature had been taking care in the earlier days, are fought against now with all our developed neonatal care(artificially nurtured environment). Undeniably this advancement in neonatal is helping the humanity by increasing the mortal rates. And at the same time, that also leaves us with a different challenge of helping these differently skilled children.
3. Advancement in social media has become a big distraction not only to the adults but also the children who are completely left at the mercy of tabs/mobiles/ televisions. While the touch screens help the little finger comfortably navigate, the google suggestions makes them completely hooked to their screen time independently for long hours. This ultimately becomes their passive companion and prune their psychical growth.
While early screening of child’s developmental delays is a challenging task, what do they do post screening? Children are recommended for various therapies.
Sensory Integration Play: Though all these terms may be new, these are nothing but giving lot of experiences through their senses, like playing in water, sand, grains etc. The way we all were allowed in our childhood to freely play in the courtyard, crawling behind the ants, doodling our hands in the rice sack etc is what the child needs now.
Speech/ Language Therapy: Help the child by talking at close quarters in the way/ topic the child may like. All this looks so much like how the normal lifestyle of our childhood in a joint family where one of the adults would be always conversing with the child. Isn’t it?
This is really a challenging situation in front of us.
Some of the natural cause can be avoided by proper planning of the couple getting into family way. Nurtured cause of this situation can also be contained to an extent by the healthy family values. But inspite of parents being so sensible enough, if they get into such situation, they have to loudly pat themselves saying that “God has sent this special child to me just because he trust me that I’ll take good care of this God’s special child”