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The situation that I chose to use on this topic is based from my own personal experience, I have a 7 year old son who was born with profound hearing loss and was also recently diagnosed with severe Autism. When he was young prior to the diagnosis of his condition I didn’t see anything wrong with him, being a young Mom to my first born I had little knowledge about child’s development, he looked normal to me because he was always smiling and giggling, he was eating right and rarely gets sick so I was at ease and never really thought that something was wrong. But everything changed when he turned 1 year old. I noticed how delayed he was compared to other children his age, he wasn’t walking and couldn’t sit by himself, he wasn’t responding to his name and wasn’t engaged to activities or toys. His development was so delayed that he didn’t start walking until he was 2 years old, he only learned to sit straight by himself when he turned a year and a half but he still needed guidance otherwise he’d lose balance and would fall.
Living in a country where it was impossible to get access to medical needs needed for my son’s condition, we were in a country where you need to have money to get your child assessed and diagnosed and we weren’t that rich to afford it. We were lucky when we finally got our visa to come here in Canada as a Permanent Resident when my son just turned 2, for the first time we were able to get him assessed and diagnosed, that was when we found out that he was born with profound hearing loss on both ears and that explained his poor balance and delayed development. A year after the diagnosis my son was able to undergo a surgery, he had his cochlear implants to get access to sounds. We were told it will take years for him to learn to speak but it didn’t stop from there. Two years after his surgery my son was diagnosed with severe autism, he was five. I saw the sudden change in his behavior as he was growing and everything became more challenging, he stopped wearing his cochlear implants for reason we don’t know till these days. My son is still non-verbal, but he’s getting interventions from specialized services, he goes to an inclusive school and he’s getting a lot of support and help from the school. He’s shown progress ever since this agency from specialized services started working with him, school and support from specialized services has helped him a lot and we are lucky to be here in Canada were supports for children is always there.
As I faced these challenges with my son all these years I’ve learned a lot of things, I’ve learned that there are different reasons out there resulting to why a child develops a learning or behaviour problems, my son’s journey for instance is an example of a situation where he got his learning and behaviour problems from his disability, his deafness and Autism affected his development in so many ways like his; social development, emotional, communication and language. He was born with a disability and special needs but with the help of intervention and support from school and the services provided by the Government he’s able to learn things to improve his learning and behavior problems. No medical support and assessment could also be a reason resulting to a child’s learning and behavior problem, my son and I were lucky to be given the opportunity to come live in Canada where medical support and intervention for children with special needs are prioritized. Children from a country with no medical help and support are likely to develop learning problems because of the lack of intervention to help support them in areas they are in need of help. My son was in that situation for a short time, that situation where we can’t do anything because money is stopping us from getting medical support. Despite my son’s disability we’re just lucky to be receiving all the supports there is.
There are a lot of explanations why a disability can affect a child’s development, it depends on what specific type of disability a child has and which area of a child’s development this disability affect. A child may have ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Asperger’s syndrome and Down syndrome, all these types of disabilities affect a child’s development that causes a problem with their learning ability. Autism affects a child’s emotional and social development, Autistic children appear to lack a “theory of mind’. (Baron-Cohen, nd.). Children with Autism prefer to be alone and they may have difficulty regulating their behavior which results in crying and even sometimes self-injurious.
Reinforcements and daily modeling and teaching are very important to support a child with Autism build up their ability and knowledge. Same goes to children with hearing impairment that affects their language and communication skills, there are different disabilities and each result to learning and behavior problem, most disabilities are stopping a child’s normal development and sometimes causing a child distress and frustration also to the family’s part. A child with disability can be really challenging because some children with disability such as learning or physical disability may be exposed to discrimination at school by other students and that they will be treated differently than the rest of the students, they may get bullied and teased by other classmates because of their condition which can affect their self-confidence and in turn affect their learning ability and development.