10 Oct Understanding special needs
Let’s start the conversation …
No one knows worry more than a mother who is concerned about her child’s development. It’s even worse if you don’t know where to turn for guidance. When it comes to concerns regarding our children’s development, all too often we’re placated with answers such as “all kids develop differently” or “it’s fine, just wait and see”. Moreover, well-intentioned advice from family members and friends, who tip-toe around the issue, can compound the worry or add to the feeling of being judged as a parent.Research indicates, however, that when moms are really concerned that their children are not meeting their developmental milestones, most of the time they’re right to be worried.
But here’s the good news: if it turns out that there is something that’s not typical with your child’s development, there’s a lot that can be done to help! The early identification of developmental issues is key: the “wait and see” approach is not suggested. It’s important to be proactive and to act early.
The purpose of this blog is to share what professionals understand about early childhood development, to enable moms to make informed and educated decisions about their children. In this section of the blog, I’ll be focusing on providing information on special needs, so that our community of women can be equipped to recognise early developmental signs and share their knowledge with those they love and care for.
Special needs? We have professional jargon for that too. When we refer to special needs, we are often talking about what are known as neurodevelopmental disorders. Neurodevelopmental disorders are conditions with onset in childhood and adolescence that are thought to be due to abnormal neuronal development of the brain, causing various difficulties in cognition, learning, communication, and behavior. These include autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities, communication disorders, motor disorders, specific learning disorders as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In upcoming blog entries, we’ll introduce you to each of these, and give you practical advice on where to turn. But I said “don’t wait and see”, right? If you’ve read this post, talk to your pediatrician or family doctor about your worries, and insist on getting a referral to a developmental specialist: take the first step.
With estimated prevalence rates of neurodevelopmental disorders being about 12% of all children, chances are that our readers will have the opportunity to meet children who are “neurologically diverse”. So, let’s start the conversation, let’s demystify the professional jargon, and let’s share good information so that we can give these children the head start that they deserve.
Dr. Nathalie Garcin is a licensed psychologist and Executive director of the Gold Centre www.goldlearningcentre.com