CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS 'Every Child Deserves a Childhood'

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Every child is special to their parents irrespective of the appearance or any visible abnormality, than the normal child.

In the present world we do not name them as abnormal. They also deserve a childhood and right to live in this world with out any discrimination.

There are children born with Down Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome (is an Autism Spectrum Disorder) Dyslexia (Development Reading Disorder) Dyscalculia and other disabilities due to accidents, delivery faults and war affected.

They all need some assistance to live, but they have their own abilities in different degrees. They may need therapy, extra help such as hearing aids or needs more special attention in different way.

Children with Down Syndrome

This is also called Trisomy 21. It is a condition in which an extra chromosome is present apart from the 21st pair such a child develops, both mentally and physically at a slower rate.

Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels. The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother, but due to higher fertility rates in young women, 80 % of children with Down Syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.

The physical and medical problems associated with Down syndrome can vary widely from child to child. While some children with DS need a lot of medical attention some others lead a healthy life.

They have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukaemia and thyroid conditions, many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.

A few of the common physical traits of Down Syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature ,an upward slant of the eyes and a single deep crease across the centre of the palm. Every child with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics in different degrees, or not at all.

Life expectancy for individuals with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in the recent decade from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.

The life of the child and the parents are extra challenging. All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.

Quality education programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care, and positive support from family, friends and community enable children with Down syndrome to realize their life aspirations and lead fulfilling lives.

What is Autism ? What is Autism Spectrum Disorder ?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and repetitive behaviours. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood dis-integrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.

ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, maths and art.

Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. Autism Speaks continues to fund research on effective methods for earlier diagnosis, as early intervention with proven behavioural therapies can improve outcomes. Increasing autism awareness is a key aspect of this work and one in which our families and volunteers play an invaluable role.

How Common is Autism

Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.

ASD affects over 3 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. Moreover, government autism statistics suggest that prevalence rates have increased 10 to 17 percent annually in recent years. There is no established explanation for this continuing increase, although improved diagnosis and environmental influences are two reasons often considered.

What Causes Autism

Not long ago, the answer to this question would have been “we have no idea. ” Research is now delivering the answers. First and foremost, we now know that there is no one cause of autism just as there is no one type of autism. Over the last five years, scientists have identified a number of rare gene changes, or mutations, associated with autism. A small number of these are sufficient to cause autism by themselves. Most cases of autism, however, appear to be caused by a combination of autism risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development.

Learn the Signs of Autism

One of the most important things you can do as a parent or caregiver is to learn the early signs of autism and become familiar with the typical developmental milestones that your child should be reaching.

The following "red flags" may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, please don’t delay in asking your paediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation:

• No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
• No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
• No babbling by 12 months
• No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
• No words by 16 months
• No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
• Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD )

The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13th December 2006 and came into force on 3rd May 2008.

The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

The convention was adapted as a response to the fact that although pre- existing human rights conventions offer considerable potential to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, this potential was not being tapped , Persons with disabilities continued being denied their human rights and were kept on the margins of society in all parts of the world.

The Convention sets out the legal obligations on Member States to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities.

It was also a response to an overlooked development challenge; approximately 10% of the world’s population are persons with disabilities (over 700 million persons), approximately 80% of whom live in developing countries.

Principally the Convention recognizes that persons with disabilities have inherent rights, and that they are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.

To date the Convention has 155 signatories and has been ratified by 127 countries (as of 24 January 2013).


ANNUAL EVENT - United Nation

1. World Down Syndrome Day - 21st March

2. World Autism Awareness Day – 2nd April


Useful Links:

• United Nations Enable - UN CRPD Website
• UNICEF’s explanatory guide “It’s About Ability”