As American’s continue to recognize the needs of children with disabilities, society and groups have been creating numerous mechanisms and programs that here have been numerous setbacks and challenges posing in the application of effective strategies aimed at guiding these children to live normal and healthy lives. Amidst these problems, numerous programs and services have been created to address these needs. In the end, given the complex diversification in today’s society, there must be a collaborative effort to create opportunities to enhance accountability and extend a helping arm to these individuals. Realizing the Need
In the late part of the 20th century, there has been a realization and focus on specifying the increasing needs of children with disabilities. This recognition was spurred by addressing the challenges of standardized educational ideals and the insight that it is conscious about the needs to reform. Given this scenario, “states began developing some guidelines for preschool-aged children or children from birth through age five” (Peterson and McKinley, 2008, p. 2), that have been instrumental in the clamor for changes. Similarly, the advancement in research and improvement has expanded the horizon towards early intervention mechanisms.
It has established the notion and evidence that consideration must be given to a child’s development because it is tantamount to their future capabilities to learn and acquire necessary information. Due to this, many states have started to determine what facets and factors do contribute towards involvement. The States Role The Government has been trying to address these inefficiencies by constructing set of guidelines and policies that are aimed to increase accountability and responsibility among communities and organizations that foster care to these children.
For example, “the presidential initiative for early childhood, Good Start, Grow Smart required each state to develop early learning guidelines for language, literacy, mathematics for federally funded child chare programs” (Peterson and McKinley, 2008, p. 2). This scheme enabled states to put its efforts on what really should be made in these individuals education. Another example of this is the legislative effort in creating and protecting mechanisms for infants and toddlers with disabilities.
The establishment of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is one important amendment that seeks to harmonize institutional objectives and back it up with legislative capabilities. It places emphasis of each agencies role and commitment towards attaining its desired goals and objectives. “Through evaluation and assessment, services are identified to address the physical, cognitive, communication, social-emotional, and adaptive developmental needs of infants and toddlers with disabilities” (U. S. Department of Education, 2008, p.
1). By dong this, there can be an active situation that encourages participation, effective allocation and increased efficiency of practice. Who is being addressed? Given the complexity and numerous approaches in early intervention, targeting individuals may require comprehensive study and analysis. These differences may range from demographics, functioning, and overall health status (Hebbeler, Spiker et. al, 2007). This poses a setback because it may occur that the program may not fully cater the holistic needs of an individual.
Moreover, “the diversity of the population in EI has implications for who is (and possibly not) being served in the program” (Hebbeler, Spiker et. al, 2007, p. 6). It is in this manner that careful planning and setup must be made so as to cater an agenda that is encompassing and relevant to the practice. Seeing this, “a variety of program options may be needed to adequately address the diversity of needs” (Hebbeler, Spiker et. al, 2007, p. 6). Uncovering Different Possibilities Available Seeing this, there are many possible alternatives that parents can choose in caring for their children and practicing early intervention.
In here, various concerns can be addressed accordingly by trained professionals who have enough experience in the field that they are in. Moreover, families can adequately receive support mechanisms that will enable the child to live a normal and healthy life. Given this setup, there are various institutions and organization, both private and public that caters to this specialization. Acting as support groups, each one encourages and performs methods that are in line with the current practice of involvement among infants and toddlers with disabilities.
“In a support group, you can share your concerns with and learn from the experiences of other kinship caregivers” (“Family Support and Counseling”, 2006 p. 20). Through this, each family can choose from a wide array of possibilities available to create an active environment of their child despite the challenge brought about by the disability. Encouraging Assistive Technology With the increasing improvements happening in society today, policy makers and various institutions are using assistive technology to effectively guide children in attaining their desired goals in life.
Despite their relative disability, this initiative seeks to enhance their capabilities by using instruments and apparatuses to guide and improve their functional capabilities as an individual (California Department of Education, 2008). Moreover, this system tries to redefine and prioritize on various objectives and needs by the child. This is realized by elaborating on appropriate functions that are necessary for its completion. There are many available apparatuses and devices that can cater to the needs of infants and toddlers with disabilities.
“There are two types of AT devices most commonly used by infants and toddlers – switches and augmentative communication devices” (FAPE, 2003, p. 1). Due to this, it does not only compensate for what these individuals do not have. At the same time, it encourages the communication process that is equally vital in the development of a child as it tries to interact with its surroundings and the people around (FAPE, 2003). Facilitating Early Intervention Early intervention is also another attempt that parents can do to help their children cope with the challenges and setbacks brought about by disabilities.
This encourages them to seek professional help to effectively guide them in the appropriate handling of such condition. This model enables the physician to carefully plan out necessary mechanisms that will increase awareness while at the same time encouraging and taking into consideration parental control over various decision making practices. “Further, it posits that families know their child best and should be an integral part of a multidisciplinary team treating the child.
Services should be provided by professionals of varying disciplines who collaborate to provide comprehensive delivery of services” (California Pacific Medical Center, 2006, p. 1). Likewise, research has shown that early intervention is an important process in making children adaptive to their current condition. It posits that involvement at an early stage can help parents understand the situation and adequately apply it to their children’s needs (California Pacific Medical Center, 2006). It seeks to tackle the numerous challenges that may take place if this issue is not addressed accordingly.
Due to this, emphasis must be given on the role and responsibility of a physician in handling this delicate issue. “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asserts that the pediatrician, as a central individual in providing medical care for children, has a unique and vital role in acting as the “case coordinator” for children with disabilities and their families” (California Pacific Medical Center, 2006, p. 1). Nutritional Services Nourishing and maintaining a sustainable growth for infants and toddlers with disabilities are also a primary concern among policy makers.
Many studies have shown a link in the importance of nutrition in the early stages of development. Since many children are prone to this problem, it is vital to create a framework that is designed to alleviate and prevent the occurrence of this so as to explore the horizons of growth and development (Wisconsin DHS, 2003). Due to this, careful considerations must also be established under these parameters. This type of service must cater to the following tenets: (1) pointing out nutritional needs, (2) effective monitoring, (3) constant assessment, (4) encouraging treatment and intervention, and (5) referrals (Wisconsin DHS, 2003).
Seeing this, it is the responsibility of every parent to see to it that their child is healthy in these aspects so as not to hamper growth and development. With this, “nutrition services are early intervention services that are provided to eligible children based upon their identified needs” (Wisconsin DHS, 2003, p. 1). Occupational Therapy Therapy and play is also another way to direct infants and toddlers with disabilities. As a child becomes aware of its environment, there needs to be a supplementary tool that will make him/her realize that there are possibilities out there despite their relative disabilities.
“Occupational therapy intervention for infants and toddlers promotes their participation in their natural environments, such as home, child care, or playground” (Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities, 2008, p. 1). With these, it is the role of ever therapist to cater the child’s performance as he/she tries to engage in various routines of everyday. That is why the vital part in this process involves the equal collaboration among parents, who together, shall try to improve the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial dimensions of an infant or toddler (Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities, 2008).
In addition, there are numerous alternatives and ways that parents can choose when it comes to occupational therapy. “These methods include working with children and families and caregivers during individual sessions in homes, co-leading small groups in child care centers, consulting with early intervention teams, and providing in-services for child care providers” (Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities, 2008, p. 1). Applying for Early Intervention Programs Admittance for parents that their children need help is a tough decision to make.
However, if they perceive that they do need assistance, there are a wide range of options available for them to choose from. It is every right of every parent to be aware of their children’s condition and seek professional and medical help. With these, they can avail or sign up in various services available today. “These services include evaluation services (including hearing and vision screening); home visits; speech, physical and other therapies; child development groups; family counseling; and, sometimes, even help with transportation” (New York State Department of Health, 2007, p.
1). Conclusion To conclude, there are indeed various support services that can cater to the needs of infants and toddlers. With these, it gives parents more opportunities and accesses that will enable them to use appropriate instruments that are comfortable and preferable on their part. As society continuously faces diversification and complexity, there is a renewed commitment in creating programs that are more susceptible and adaptive to these changes. It is a process that can be done by effectively collaborating and synchronizing societal and state goals.
References California Department of Education (2008) Assistive Technology. Retrieved November 14, 2008 from, http://www. cde. ca. gov/sp/se/sr/astvtech. asp California Pacific Medical Center (2006) The Pediatric Page. Retrieved November 16, 2008 from, http://www. cpmc. org/advanced/pediatrics/physicians/pedpage-606cdc. html FAPE (2003) Assistive Technology for Infants and Toddlers. Retrieved November 16, 2008 from, http://www. fape. org/pubs/FAPE-12. pdf 1-4. Hebbeler, K, Spiker, D. et. al. (January 2007) Early Intervention for Infants and Toddlers
with Disabilities and Their Families: Participants, Services, and Outcomes in Final Report of the National Early Intervention Longitudinal study (NEILS). Retrieved November 14, 2008. 1-116. n. a. (2006) Family Support and Counseling. Retrieved November 14, 2008. 1-9. New York State Department of Health. (2008) The Early Intervention Program: A Parent’s Guide for Children with Special Needs – Birth to Age Three. Retrieved November 14, 2008 from, http://www. health. state. ny. us/community/infants_children/early_intervention/parents_guide/index. htm
Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (2008) Infants, Toddlers Benefit from Early Occupational Therapy. Retrieved November 16, 2008 from, http://www. ocecd. org/ocecd/h_docs/FORUM/08_0102_occupationalTherapy. cfm U. S. Department of Education. (2008) Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities. Retrieved November 16, 2008 from, http://www. ed. gov/programs/osepeip/index. html Wisconsin DHS. (2003) Principles for Best Practices in Serving Infants and Toddlers who are at Nutritional Risk. Retrieved November 16, 2008 from, http://dhs. wisconsin. gov/bdds/B3ETN/2003/200312/bestprac. pdf