Healthcare Issues in Children with Developmental Disabilities (Autism)

Enow V. A. Eta*

Healthcare Issues in Children with Developmental Disabilities (Autism).

Developmental disabilities (DDs) refer to a group of conditions that influence the early development of children and cause changes in their normal developmental pattern affecting their physical, language and mental abilities or behavior. Children with DDs just like normally developing children have health issues that need to be addressed. This special group of children especially those having autism frequently suffer from associated conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, eating and feeding challenges, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety among others. These health problems affect the health of these children in different ways and extent. Thus, children with DDs need to access healthcare services and receive quality medical care just like their normally developing peers.

Children with autism and other DDs experience disparities in health and healthcare service utilization. These health problems affect each individual with autism in a unique way negatively affecting his/her existing social interaction and communication impairments. Again, health facilities and medical equipment are not disability-friendly making it difficult for this special group to effectively have access to quality care. In addition, most healthcare providers do not possess adequate knowledge and skills required to make critical decisions regarding this very special group of persons.

Developmental disabilities (DDs) refer to a cluster of disorders that affect children early in their lives due to abnormal development. Autism, learning disabilities, visual impairment and down
syndrome among others are some examples. These disorders alter children’s normal developmental pattern and affect their physical, language and mental abilities or the way they behave. With some
disorders such as Down syndrome, the abnormal development may affect both physical and mental abilities of the child.

Pediatr Neonatal Nurs Open J. 2022; 8(1): 1-13. doi: 10.17140/PNNOJ-8-134