As a result of early identification initiatives, growth in this region and a lack of funding, we have a wait list of more than 1,100 children, some of whom must wait up to 18 months to access services that are critical to their development.
The benefits for these children of early intervention are clear, and a delay in receiving treatment can have significant long-term consequences for them and their families.
It is inconsistent to provide an early diagnosis of a disability, or any health issue for that matter, and not to provide treatment on a timely basis. For young children, delays in receiving treatment do have long-term consequences, both for them, their families and for society.
Children with ADHD (MTA) indicate that when detailed and ongoing monitoring of a child's functioning across multiple settings occurs, the treatment results in more positive outcomes (MTA Cooperative Group, 1999). Because children vary in their responses to medication treatments overtime, continued treatment monitoring is important for making ongoing decisions regarding care for children (Volpe, Heick, & Gureasko-Moore, 2005).
According to the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the term "children and youth with special needs refers to those children and youth up to 19 years of age who require significant additional educational, medical/health and social/environmental support -- beyond that required by children in general -- to enhance or improve their health, development, learning, quality of life, participation and community inclusion." Another way to look at it is to think of 'special needs' as an umbrella underneath which a staggering array of diagnoses and conditions can fall. These can be further divided into one of the following categories: medical, behavioural, developmental, learning, and mental health.
The development of special education and rehabilitation provided significant corrections in the methodological approach of the work with disabled children and adolescents. This brought changes in the classical and the traditional point of view of their education and rehabilitation. The traditional approach classifies disabled children in specific categories. Basically, children belonging to the same category are very similar, e.g. they have more similarities than differences.
Normalcy includes efficient perception of reality, self-awareness, ability to voluntarily control one's behavior, self-esteem and self-acceptance, ability to form affectionate relations and productive participation in everyday life. As far as conformity is concerned, it is common knowledge that what is considered as normal in one society may be accounted for abnormal or deviant in another.
Deviant conduct is a label given to nonconforming and maladaptive behaviors. Nonconforming is equivalent to not abiding by social norms.
Young people with special healthcare needs experience fewer opportunities for employment and independent living because of difficulty with mobility, transportation, finances, maintaining health and functional abilities, and low expectations from people around them. Youth with disabilities have fewer opportunities to make decisions and may experience more social isolation. Because of fewer peer interactions, age-appropriate development of identity and sexuality may be delayed and social skills may not develop.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a common psychiatric condition, may impair a child's ability to learn and to form social relationships, tasks critical to healthy development. This study describes the prevalence of the disorder among children in special education programs and identifies the extent and predictors of unmet service needs.
Perhaps the biggest challenge in working with children who already have the label of mental retardation is to avoid assuming that their potential is limited. Unfortunately, the label often conveys to teachers and parents the mistaken idea that this child can't learn certain things. The fact is, the only way to know what a child can and can't learn is to involve that child in an active, exciting learning process. A dynamic approach often enables a child to move much further up the developmental ladder than was expected.
The mission of schools should comprise not only a focus on academics and confronting obstacles to academic learning, but also a major role in promoting development related to social and emotional functioning. Outcomes should logically include safe, healthy, and resilient behavior. Strengthening firsthand mental health resources and services for school-age children and youth may provide preventive activities designed to reduce prevalence, as well as early intervention for problems (Cowen, Hightower, Pedro-Carroll, Work, Wyman, & Haffey, 1996; Reynolds & Gutkin, 1998; The Maternal and ChildHealth Bureau, 1998).
Pediatrician and author Dr. T. Berry Brazelton received the SAMHSA Special Recognition Award at the Awareness Day Early Childhood Forum for his pioneering work in pediatric and early childhood development over the past six decades. A leading force behind the pediatric health care revolution, his ground-breaking Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) is now used worldwide to recognize the physical and neurological responses of newborns, as well as emotional well-being and individual differences. His legacy continues to transform our understanding of child development.