Growth Disorders in Children with Disabilities I

Growth Disorders in Children with Disabilities I

  Autor Psiholog-logoped, Veronica Stancescu Data: 11.07.2006

Growth Disorders in Children with Disabilities I
A disability is a loss, a structure disorder, a psychological or anatomical function disorder. A disability implies the externalizing of the pathological condition to some organ. 

The main types of disabilities are the intellectual, psychological, speech and language, hearing, visual, balance, aesthetical, general functions. In case of children with visual disabilities, the early diagnostic and is very important for the future evolution of the disease in order to allow the establishment of an early proper treatment, of the visual stimulation techniques and of compensatory therapeutic measures. Another very important aspect is the fact that the family can go through psychosocial counseling and education. 
The methods which are often used for visual stimulation in children, are:
  • Brunet- Lezine Scale 
  • The results of Piaget tests regarding the cognitive development in children. 
  • The 0 to 6 months old scale by Denise Taylor, which shows the vision features, the way to see the different daily activities, and which can turn into an assessment system of the visual disorders as an early stimulation guide of the child's visual delays. 
The visual-perceptual development goes through stages which are different considering the quality, and J. Piaget classified them as follows: 

A. The sensorimotor stage 
  • first stage - 0-4 months old 
  • second stage - 4/5 - 10/12 months old 
  • third stage - 12 months-2 years old 
B. Operational stage 
  • first stage 2-4 years old 
  • second stage 4-7 years old 
  • third stage 7/8 years old and more 
As it develops, the perceptive activity becomes a source of transformations and predictive analysis. The visual education must start early, even when the child sees normally, because the visual reflexes are the basis of the future perceptive schemes. 

In case of visual impairment, the professional visual-perceptual stimulation is necessary. 
Children with poor vision are treated normally, and they get good conditions of visual stimulation and are encouraged to use their eyes, to develop a higher degree of visual efficiency than children with same acuity who are treated as blind. 

The development of visual function is gradual and thus the exercises must be adapted to the age. (Rosemary O-Brien): 
  • for 0-6 months old: following a moving object with the eyes 
  • for 7-10 months old: visual-motor and hand coordination 
  • for12-18 months old: looking for requested objects with the eyes l 
  • for18 months old: recognizing the elements of some objects or images, at the same time with creating the body scheme. 
The specific features that might occur in the psychological and physical development of people with visual disabilities depend on the way in which the body adapts ti the life environment, whether it lacks some or all the main sensory functions. The negative side effects can be prevented or fought against, with a proper education. 
Deafness is another obstacle in the normal development of children due to the lack of language as a means of communication. Identification and early diagnosis of the deafness is the first sign that the family must organize the hearing education, the language and communication education, the cognitive exercising and the entire mental potential of the child. 

The identification of the hearing impairment must be done immediately after birth or a few months later more exactly, once the nerve fibers are myelinated. The auditory system, the nervous structures of the inner ear, are well shaped starting with the 6th month of the intrauterine life, as the premature babies (6-7 months) react to noise by blinking after birth. 
Many women who are 6-9 months pregnant state that they feel uncomfortable if they listen to a noise concert, as their baby is agitated. If the music is slow, the fetus moves are slow, calm. 
The deafness is identified in the family, and the diagnosis is established by the doctor after examinations and tests. The measurement of hearing in newborns is not exact, as the auditory system is immature. However, although it's not developed at birth, it is able to slightly react to powerful noises (60-100 db). The hearing functions and develops gradually, in the first months of life. 

The reaction to the sound in infants is the following: 
  • 3-6 months old - they localize them well, they utter syllables (ma, ta, ba, da) 
  • 6-9 months old - they localize them exactly, they understand the intentions of the speaker: caress, reproach. 
  • 1 year old - answer to simple talk (bye bye) 
  • 1,6 years old - understands simple orders 
  • 1,9 years - chooses familiar objects as requested 
  • 2 years - after 2 years old it's possible to apply audiometry methods. 
The hearing test is the Babymeter, it is applied to the newborns and consists in the issue of some intense sound stimuli who lead to archaic reflexes. 
1. Evaluarea si educarea pshicomotricitatii, Ioan Dorin Radu, Gheorge Ulici, Fundatia Humanitas Publishing, 2003 
2. Psihopedagogie speciala, Ilie Stanica, Mariana Popa, Doru Vlad Popovici, Pro Humanitatea Publishing, Bucharest 2001
3. Handicap Readaptare Integrare, Bucuresti Publishing, 1998 
4. Deficientele senzoriale din perspectiva psihopedagogiei speciale, Anca Rozorea, Ex Ponto/ Publishing
To be continued 

Read the English version of this article: Growth Disorders in Children with Disabilities I