Children’s disabilities are best interpreted as occupying varying positions on a spectrum of chronic neurological dysfunction. As a matter of fact, developmental disorders in children reflect an underlying static encephalopathy, a lesion that is permanent as well as chronic.
Children with disabilities evolve from infants with developmental problems. Similarly, although some desired positive changes in evolution might happen (and that is the expected goal of early intervention), for the most part, developmentally delayed children grow up to be developmentally disabled adolescents and adults with some degree of disability.
In spite of the importance of environmental influence on child development, failure to emphasise this organic central nervous system origin of developmental disabilities tends to leave parents in a prolonged state of anxiety.
There are no medically effective therapies in most developmental disabilities in children. There are, however, medical, educational and social interventions that can have a significant impact on the comprehensive management of children’s disabilities.
A general conceptualisation of children’s disabilities as well as a particular emphasis on early childhood intervention will be the main goals of the presentation.