Education -- Special Education
YOUNG CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES AND IMPLEMENTING APPROPRIATE INTERVENTIONS
Developmental delays in young children occur in several areas encompassing the gamut of human functions. A young child may experience delays in one or more of the areas of cognitive functioning, social-emotional functioning and adaptive behavior. Through decades of shared research and experience, trained professionals can observe delays in relatively impaired development of the skills humans use to understand and act in their world. Fortunately, experts have also developed intervention strategies for dealing with those delays and providing the child with enhanced skills, experiences and opportunities.
Characteristics of young children with delays in the following developmental areas:
a. Cognitive functioning
Delays in cognitive functioning of young children can run the gamut from mild deficiencies in one or more areas to extreme intellectual impairments with marginal functioning. These mental processes that empower a person to amass knowledge and information, informing his/her understanding and behavior in society, encompass many facets, including: attention; decision-making; amassed knowledge; judgment; language; memory; perception; planning; reasoning; and visual/spatial abilities (Schofield, 2016). Within this framework, a young child with delays in cognitive functioning may have a mild deficit in only his/her accumulated knowledge but function adequately in all other areas; however, he/she could also have such profound deficits in cognitive functioning that he/she might have: a very short attention span, poor decision-making skills; a poor store of knowledge; poor judgment skills; poor language skills, impaired memory; poor perception; poor planning skills; poor reasoning skills and poor visual/spatial abilities. he/she could also be anywhere in between those two extremes.
b. Social-emotional functioning
A young child with delays in social-emotional functioning typically has impairments in one of the following areas: adaptation to appropriate demands or definite settings, for example when a child's behavior interferes in a daycare setting and is too problematic to keep him/her there; the achievement of new social-emotional abilities, such as a child whose fear inhibits his/her play with toys and his/her fine motor skills so not develop appropriate because of that; interpersonal functions, such as poor impulse control and poor attention skills creating problems in his/her interactions and relationships with other children; and health, for example a child's inability to thrive because he/she cannot properly respond and feed at the appropriate times (Carter, Briggs-Gowan, & Davis, 2004).
c. Adaptive behavior function.
Adaptive behavior can be defined as "The collection of conceptual, social, and practical skills that have been learned by people in order to function in their everyday lives" (Maccow, 2011). Young children with delays in adaptive behavior can have impairments in one or more of the following areas: motor skills, such as the ability to walk, run, climb, kick, hop, and appropriately manipulate objects such as toys and pencils; communication, the ability to understand and employ language; personal care, such as the ability to dress, toilet, wash hands, brush his/her teeth and feed himself/herself; and social behaviors, including the ability to adjust to new situations, make appropriate choices and get needed adult help (Maccow, 2011).
2. Appropriate Mandated Intervention Strategies That Could Be Implemented For Disabilities:
Regardless of the specific developmental delay child psychology experts and educators agree that the intervention strategy should include: collaborative effort, including a multi-disciplinary professional team and the child's family working together to help improve the child's experiences and opportunities; professionals must employ additional appropriate resources to tailor a meaningful, personalized curriculum within the setting of fully inclusive and natural surroundings; and the child's experiences, opportunities, relationships and membership in his/her community must be enhanced (Horn & Kang, 2012).
The collaborative effort means that multi-disciplinary professionals and the family share their knowledge, skills and experience, develop new ideas and create appropriate evaluation, planning, execution, continuing monitoring and ongoing adjustment of the plan as needed to make it as effective...
In cooperating with the child's family, the multi-disciplinary professional team must: show respect for the child's family; share information with the family so they can make knowledgeable decisions about the child's ongoing development; provide families with choices of available services and their part; and build a positive, effective partnership with the family (Horn & Kang, 2012).
a. Delay in Cognitive Function of Language
As mentioned above, there must be collaborative work to share knowledge, skills and experience, develop new ideas and create appropriate evaluation, planning, execution, continuing monitoring and ongoing adjustment of the plan. In the specific case of delay in the cognitive function of language, an appropriate intervention strategy might include directive or naturalistic intervention. In directive intervention, the professional assisting the child controls the experiences and values offered to the child, often using "modeling" and "prompting" to encourage appropriate language responses. These experiences may be set in and outside of the classroom. For example, the professional might use modeling by showing an object to the child, vocalizing its name and then having the child repeat the name. The professional might use prompting by posing a question to the child or giving a silent cue to the child to obtain the appropriate verbal response. In naturalistic intervention, the professional uses an adult-child interaction to generate opportunities for the child to use appropriate language, paying special attention to and responding to cues from the child. For example, the professional might arrange materials and objects in the shared environment with the child in a method intended to encourage certain verbal responses from the child. As the professional observes the child's cues, he/she adjusts his approach appropriately in order to hone and the opportunities for the child's verbal responses (New York State Department of Health, n.d.).
b. Delay in Social-Emotional Function of Fine Motor Skills
As mentioned above, there must be collaborative work to share knowledge, skills and experience, develop new ideas and create appropriate evaluation, planning, execution, continuing monitoring and ongoing adjustment of the plan. Young children with delay in the social-emotional function of fine motor skills can specifically benefit from occupational therapy, such as grasping and other enhancement of in-hand manipulation abilities; the guided and repeated use of implements such as crayons, pencils and scissors; and exercises to improve eye-hand coordination (Case-Smith, 1996). These learning experiences can also be set in the classroom and outside of the classroom through individualized instruction.
c. Delay in Adaptive Behavior Function of Motor Skills
As mentioned above, there must be collaborative work to share knowledge, skills and experience, develop new ideas and create appropriate evaluation, planning, execution, continuing monitoring and ongoing adjustment of the plan. In the specific case of delay in the adaptive behavior function of motor skills, the specific activities that might be implements could be: activities for outdoor play and "circle time" dance to improve physical fitness and motor skills; games such as "Simon Says" but without the elimination element of that game, to help the child identify his/her body parts; and having the child stand on a carpet square and explore his/her personal space by reaching as high as possible, bending as low as possible and stretching as wide as possible (Maccow, 2011). These learning experiences can also be set in the classroom and outside of the classroom through individualized instruction.
A young child may experience developmental delays in several areas encompassing many human functions. Delays in cognitive functioning of young children can reveal themselves in poor: attention; decision-making; amassed knowledge; judgment; language; memory; perception; planning; reasoning; and visual/spatial abilities. Delays in social-emotional functioning are typically revealed in poor: adaptation to appropriate demands or definite settings; achievement of new social-emotional abilities; interpersonal functions; and health. Adaptive behavior function delays can be observed in poor: motor skills; communication; personal care; and social behaviors.
Regardless of the specific developmental delay, the mandated intervention includes: collaborative effort, including a multi-disciplinary professional team and the child's family; brainstorming; appropriate evaluation, planning, execution, continuing monitoring and ongoing adjustment of the plan as needed to make it as effective as possible for this particular child. In the case of a delay in the cognitive function of language, mandated intervention might include directive intervention or naturalistic intervention. In directive intervention, the professional often uses "modeling" and "prompting" to encourage appropriate language responses. In naturalistic intervention, the professional uses an adult-child interaction to generate opportunities for the child to use appropriate language and alter those opportunities based on the child's cues. Intervention for delay in the social-emotional function of fine motor skills could often include the use of occupational therapy to strengthen in-hand manipulation, guided use of implements such as crayons, pencils and scissors, and guided exercises to improve eye-hand coordination. Finally, intervention for delay in the adaptive behavior function of motor skills could include activities for outdoor play and "circle time" dance, games to help the child identify his/her body parts and spatial-stretching exercises to help the child explore his/her personal space.
Carter, A. S., Briggs-Gowan, M. J., & Davis, N. O. (2004). Assessment of young children's social-emotional development and psychopathology: Recent advances and recommendations for practice. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45(1), 109-134.…
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