Medical Advances Helping Children
With most of the news these days seeming to indicate that more and more children are being diagnosed with severe learning and cognitive disabilities it’s nice to hear that all the news isn’t quite that bad. In fact, a recent report by Racine Unified School District indicates that advancements in pediatrics and prenatal medicine are starting to show results in school age children and these results are also being noticed by their teachers and administrators. The report by Racine Unified said that fewer students are enrolling in schools with severe cognitive disabilities.
A Trend In Better Health?
The report by Racine Unified notes that the number of students who are classified as non-verbal as well as those who display significant delays in various measures of intelligence, function, and skills are actually falling. The study attributes the trend to earlier diagnosis and better planned pregnancies. In fact, the declining number of these kids showing up in schools has been noticeable to local and national experts in the field of pediatrics and child development. Early diagnosis is one of the biggest differences cited by these medical experts. A few decades ago there was not nearly as much information and knowledge about pervasive developmental disorders. Now everyone involved in child care giving is more knowledgeable about symptoms and this awareness about disorders and treatment options has led to better diagnosis at an earlier stage of life when treatment options can be most effective. Once a diagnosis has been rendered, intervention options have a much better chance of helping a child.
These early intervention programs often involve counseling of parents, medication, psychotherapy, and behavior therapy when necessary. All of these approaches to helping children with cognitive disorders are part of healthcare networks these days so it is more likely now than ever before that children will be put into early intervention programs. Medical experts are quick to point out that these programs won’t make the disorders go away in and of themselves but by diagnosing and putting kids into these programs earlier, their chances for turning the corner and leading a more normal life are infinitely better.
The Autism Example
One of the best examples of how early diagnosis and intervention can help children with learning and cognitive disorders is that of autism. Experts note that early intervention with those kids suffering from autism could involve their taking part in electronic or interpersonal games that are designed to get them to interact with other children. While the child diagnosed with autism thinks he or she is playing, they are actually learning and building social skills. The areas of the brain that are responsible for forming the neuro-networks that facilitate children having successful interactions actually improve with the use of these games and without this kind of early intervention, these same children will turn inward, not outward, which is often the case with autistic children. They also note that such early intervention raise the possibility that these children will be able to interact with their peers and perhaps lead independent lives as adults.
More Healthy Births
Another finding of interest from Racine Unified is that they believe that there are fewer severely disabled children showing up in the classroom because there are fewer disabled children being born. The benefits of much better prenatal care are part of the trend in much more healthy babies being born in the first place. Genetic counseling is also another area where parents can get a better handle on their chances of having a child born with severe mental handicaps and take appropriate steps in family planning after knowing this information.
So….Is This A Trend?
Well, its hard to say until much more detailed studies on larger population groups are examined to see if indeed there is a decline in the number of disabled children coming into the school system. But so far the news is better and a welcome relief from the other side of this concerning issue whereby it is more widely believed that the number of kids with learning disabilities is on the rise. It takes some time before medical advances show up in the statistics, especially advances having more to do with early diagnosis and intervention treatments rather than cures. This could be the case with childhood learning and cognitive disorders as only now after so many years of getting a handle on the diagnosis and treatment at an early stage in life are we starting to see the positive benefits of this approach to such debilitating and life altering disorders in so many children and young adults.
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