The Long-Term Impact of Early Social and Medical Intervention in Children with Disabilities

Published: 2021-07-30
1812 words
7 pages
16 min to read
Vanderbilt University
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Children with intellectual disabilities face a variety of challenges that make their lives and that of the people who take care of them difficult, and therefore, there is the need to come up with appropriate intervention strategies that will lead to the improvement of their lives. Different studies have shown that for children with disabilities who are taken through various intervention strategies, they are highly likely to experience positive outcomes in terms of their cognitive ability, developmental outcomes, and an improvement of their daily skills (Krowka & Fuchs, 2017). Of particular concern in this study, it assesses the long-term benefits that can be achieved when various intervention strategies (social and medical) are undertaken at an early stage for children with intellectual disabilities. The systemic review will show the expected benefits and therefore the need to undertake various intervention strategies in order to assist a child with intellectual disabilities to be self-sufficient, and independent in the future.



Childhood is considered an important phase of growth and development because of the experiences at that stage, normally determine the outcome of an individuals life. This stage provides them with an opportunity to establish the foundation that will promote life-long learning and also participation (Rosenberg et al., 2008). Children will normally develop various skills such as crawling, begin to walk, and begin to talk as they grow. In most cases, children follow a certain pattern as they mature. However, it is important to point out that, there are children who develop or mature at a faster pace than others, for instance, some children begin to talk sooner than others, while for others, it seems that they do not follow the common pattern, and will mature at a later stage (Symes et al., 2006). Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that there are no existing potential delays regarding physical and mental developments that may arise due to a motor and intellectual disabilities. It is important for family members to observe their children in order to recognize a problem that can be a contributing factor to the delay, and therefore will affect the development of a child. Child care providers are normally in a better position to identify an existing problem or delay, because they observe children on a regular basis, and therefore are knowledgeable in regards to the diverse range of childhood development. Therefore, they will be in a better position to assist the children and their families to address the issues of developmental delays that may be brought about by a certain form of disability (Fuchs et al., 2003). Despite being the group that is the most vulnerable in terms of development, it has been ascertained that for young children who have been diagnosed with any form of disability that may have a negative impact on their learning and overall development, they are often overlooked when it comes to mainstream programs and services that are meant to promote childhood development (Feinberg et al., 2011).

In most cases, children with disabilities do not receive the adequate support and face various barriers such as inadequate services, negative attitudes from teachers and students in various learning institutions, and inadequate legislation and policies. It is important to point out that, if children who have developmental delays due to motor or intellectual disabilities are not provided with timely and appropriate interventions; then it is highly likely that their situation will become more severe contributing to lifetime consequences, promoting poverty, and increasing a sense of exclusion levels (Howlin et al., 2009). Therefore, in cases of children who have been diagnosed with any form of motor or intellectual disability, it is important to ensure that they are subjected to social and medical intervention, which will have a positive impact on their overall development.

Effective social and medical intervention in children with disabilities can positively alter a childs long term trajectory, helping him or her achieve significant savings, and also potentially reduce the risk of secondary health and psychosocial complications (Feinberg et al., 2010). Although children with developmental disabilities have a potential of leading a rich and rewarding life, they are also highly vulnerable to mental and also physical health problems, and therefore an increased requirement for various health services. This may lead them to be more involved with various medical professionals and organizations from an early age, which can limit their interaction level with their peers in the communities and also affect their educational activities (Landa et al., 2010). Therefore, even though early intervention programs can have a positive impact on a childs development, it is important to ensure that these programs are well coordinated, planned, and take a family centered approach. Even though a child may continue to face significant limitations in their day to day activities and skills development, early intervention will improve the overall functionality of a child in both an academic and social perspective, and also increase the ability of family members and the community at large in supporting the child.

In this paper, the focus is on the long-term impact of early social and medical interventions that can be provided for children with intellectual or motor disabilities. It points out that if early intervention is not undertaken, it is highly likely to lead to a disparity in intellectual and social development for these children. The research paper identifies the sustainable social and medical intervention strategies that can be adapted in the UK in order to ensure that any form of disability does not negatively affect a childs development.

Defining Disability and the Rate of Disability in the UK

The Equality Act 2010 definition of disability states; an individual is considered to have a disability, if the person has a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment affects his or her ability to perform the normal day to day activities. According to the Family Resources Survey (2016) there 13.3 million people who can be categorized as disabled in the United Kingdom. It further points out that the prevalence of disability increases with age, as children who are categorized as disabled are 0.9 million (7%), working age adults are 2.39 million (16%), and adults who are over 55 years old there are approximately 5.8 million people (44%) who are categorized as disabled. According to Papworth Trust (2016) report, the most common forms of disabilities that people have are: mobility (57%), breathing or fatigue issues (38%), dexterity (28%), and mental health issues (16%). The report further indicated that in some cases, there were people who had more than one impairment but were only instructed to identify the impairment that had the most impact on their daily lives.

It is estimated that the annual cost of bringing up a disabled child is three times higher than that of bringing up a non-disabled child. Approximately 40% of disabled children in the UK live in poverty. The most common forms of impairments that affect children with disabilities are social and behavioral (33%), and learning disability (31%). It has also been established that in disabled children, it is highly likely that boys will have a higher rate of disability than is the case for girls, and also they are more likely to experience social, behavioral, learning and memory difficulties.

Current Challenges that Affect People with Disabilities

In the United Kingdom, people who are categorized as having a certain form of disability face a variety of challenges that normal or able-bodied people are less likely to experience. According to the Papworth Trust study, it showed or indicated that disabled people are highly likely to be unemployed. The employment rate for working age disabled people is 46.5%, in comparison to 84% in able-bodied people. Disabled people face various barriers in relation to employment such as lack of adequate job opportunities, and in others, they face transport challenges. Most of them also faced various educational barriers such as lack of adequate finance to ensure that they were admitted to learning institutions that addressed their disability, and this means that they are 3 times as likely as non-disabled people to lack formal qualifications that will facilitate their employment. In the UK, according to the People with Learning Disabilities in England (2011), it is estimated that approximately 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability. For those who have been employed, they are normally paid less than the non-disabled people.

The lack of employment opportunities and high unemployment rates among the disabled people is the primary reason as to why most of the disabled people live in poverty. In addition to that, they mainly pay approximately 550 per month as extra costs in order to facilitate care for their disability. It is important to also note that there is a shortage of housing that has been specifically designed to accommodate people with disabilities (especially motor disabilities). For instance, it is estimated that approximately (84%) of the households in England are not designed to ensure that a person who has a motor disability, and therefore uses a wheelchair for locomotion purposes to get through the front door without difficulty.

They also face transport issues. This is due to the limited access of public transport that can accommodate them, and also pavement or road maintenance issues. In addition to that, according to the Home Office (2014), approximately 62,000 disabled people are subjects to hate crime incidents on an annual basis. Also according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it states that it is highly likely that people who face mental or learning disabilities are highly likely to be diagnosed with depression. Therefore, it is important to undertake this study to assess the long-term impact of conducting early social and medical intervention for disabled children.

When is a Child Determined to Have a Disability?

According to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: Children and Youth Version, the aspect of disability is not considered to be purely biological or social, instead an individual is considered to be disabled based on how he or she interacts with various health conditions, environmental and personal factors. Therefore, in this case, an individual is considered disabled in the following circumstances:

An individual who has an impairment in a certain body function or structure- this is a loss or an abnormality in relation to a physiological, or anatomical structure (Thunberg, 2013).

In situations whereby there is a limitation in activity for instance, when a child faces challenges when moving from point A to B, then he or she is considered to be disabled.

When a child is restricted to participate in activities that children his or her age engage in such as exclusion from school, it is considered to be a disability.

Therefore disabled children include the ones who have physical, mental, intellectual or even sensory impairments that limit or hinder their effective participation in the society on the same or higher level than their peers. There are various situations that contribute to a child being disabled (Richter et al., 2017). For instance, there are children who are born with a health condition that contributes to their disability such as is the case when a child is born with Down syndrome, or children who...

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