Early Identification, Assessment and Interventions in Children with Developmental Disabilities: A Review on Autism

*Corresponding author: Enow V. A. Eta*

Abstract

Developmental disabilities are a set of disorders which occur during the child’s developmental stages affecting his or her language, physical and mental abilities or behavior. These include autism and other related disorders which all negatively influence the way the child achieves normal developmental milestones. Nurses are expected to work in collaboration with parents and other health care professionals to monitor each child’s growth and development during each well-child visit or Infant Welfare Clinics (IWC) as well as during illness episodes. Generally, parents’ concerns regarding developmental delays are discussed and the child is followed-up accordingly through developmental screening. A brief test is conducted on the child while the parent/caregiver completes a questionnaire or checklist regarding the child’s developmental history. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that developmental and behavioral screening be conducted for all children during regular IWC or well-child visits at nine, 18 and 30-months. Early diagnosis together with early treatment can make a major difference in a child’s life and also decrease the possibility for costly interventions in future. Several programs have been designed to deal with the variety of social and behavioral difficulties associated with autism, focusing on reducing problem behaviors in children with autism. Once an individual is given a confirmed autism diagnosis by a qualified professional, the parents need to seek further information immediately on how to support their child. Early intervention treatment services have been shown to greatly improve a child’s development. Thus, diagnosing autism early and instituting treatment and support promptly is mandatory for better prognosis.
Keywords
Developmental disabilities; Children with autism; Early assessment, Diagnosis and interventions.