Child Psychologist and
How soon can one detect a disability in a child? What are the signs
to watch out for?
A Children who are premature, and have not cried immediately
after birth, have low birth weight, poor apgar score, have suffered
fetal distress come under the high risk children category. They
are vulnerable and their development needs to be watched. As they
are growing their milestone achievement has to be reviewed. When
did the child start head control, crawling, walking, speaking single
words, making 2-3 word sentences etc. Any deviation of more then
two months from the normal expected time of each milestone should
alert the mother.
Can some disabilities be prevented by extra care during pregnancy?
What are the elements of care and the tests to be taken during pregnancy?
A Certain viral infections are passed by the expecting mother
to the growing fetus in-utero, such as HIV, Rubella, Herpes, Toxoplasma
etc. In addition alcohol intake, smoking or drug dependence in the
mother can lead to low birth weight, poor physical and mental development
subsequently leading to academic failures. Some of these problems
can be prevented by pre-pregnancy screening tests such as ultrasounds,
aminocytesis etc, which help monitor the fetal abnormalities. To
take care of these problems obstetricians also suggest precautions
during the pregnancy.
What is autism? How is it different from cerebral palsy? What are
the different treatments?
A Autism is a disorder which manifests during 1 ½-2
years of child's life. From birth till about 1 ½ years the
child may have proceeded normally and may have developed some speech.
Subsequently from 18 months of age speech doesn't develop further.
. Speech is minimal and child uses gestures to communicate only
his basic needs. The child seems to be totally in his own world.
He doesn't play with other children, doesn't miss or show special
attachment with parents, often doesn't make eye contact or respond
to his name. In addition he may show some repetitive behaviour such
as spinning, rocking, going in circles. He may also show self-injurious
behaviour such as head- banging, biting etc
Treatment - Often it is a long term process of training the child
in various activities of daily living with the special educator
and psychologist. Sensory Integration theory is also used by occupational
therapists. No medicines per se are available but some medicines
may be given to improve hyperactivity, aggressiveness etc.
What are the main concerns facing the parents of special needs children
apart from the main medical issues.? Are there any support groups
or therapy centers for the families?
A Most parents are worried about:-
much would training help their children.
there any quicker/ surer medical cure.
about long-term settlement issues in terms of life partner, financial,
would happen to our children after us?
there an institution where I can put my child.
formal support groups for various conditions are known but parent
associations for mentally retarded (MR) children exist. Non-residential
schools, both govt. & private, are available for MR children.
Child development centers, which deal with these problems, are available
in metropolitan cities.
How do you discipline a special needs child or teach values or interaction
A Disciplining of special children should more often be direct,
immediately after the undesirable act rather than postponing for
a later time and with simple explanation of logic. It should be
consistent, focusing on a few undesirable instances at a time.
Training of each child varies according to his/her disability, intelligence
level, capabilities and interest. Commonly the emphasis is on activities
of daily living, minimum and useful academics, and social skills.
How does one help to increase independence of a special needs child?
A The special child's deficits have to be analyzed. Once
these have been identified, the task to be taught is broken into
series of small steps and child is trained in each one individually.
He is subsequently taught to perform them in a series. The whole
procedure has to be repeated till the child is able to master it
. Small rewards are given to encourage the child along.
Are some types of special needs children violent? How does one manage
the interaction between such children and siblings /friends/neighbourhood
A Some children may show aggression and hostility. This may
be due to inability to temper their reactions and express it in
more socially appropriate manner. Supervised play, role-play, imitation
and modeling can be some ways in which these children may be trained
in interactive play skills.
What is the difference between normal hyperactivity & Attention
Deficit Hyperactive Disorder? How can a mother determine whether
her child's hyperactiveness is normal or not?
A All children are naughty, curious, restless and easily
bored . This could simply be channelized by the mother into constructive
activities. However children who have attention deficit hyperactive
disorder have 3 main characteristics :
Inattention (unable to finish a task, unable to concentrate)
Hyperactivity (unable to sit still, climbing, jumping, fidgeting
so much that mother has to keep a watch constantly)
Impulsivity (does things without thinking, not scared or cautious)
An Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder child is like this in
almost all situations including games, TV watching as well as academics.
It is not that he is not interested, it is that he just cannot wait
or be attentive for anything.
How does one deal with physical congenital disorders?
A Children with congenital disorders such as cleft lip, cleft
palate, club foot, extra digit in hands or toes etc. may or may
not have other deficits. Corrective surgeries are available for
many of these problems. A comprehensive evaluation would indicate
if the child needs inputs in other areas of development also.
- for Indian parents
indian cerebral palsy
- parents and health
professionals who together want to understand more about cerebral
Divya Singhal Prasad
Council of Adoption