Seek early help for children with intellectual devt disorders – Senior psychologist

Parents of children with intellectual development disorders have been asked to seek early diagnosis to ensure effective management of the ailments.


Mr Nortey Duah, a Senior Psychologist at the School of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, who gave the advice said children with special disorders needed proper care and attention.


Intellectual development disorders which include Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and epilepsy, among others, are genetic disorders without cure. It can only be managed when detected early.


Speaking on Saturday at a programme jointly organised by New Horizon Special School and Parents Association for Children with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism (PACID), in Accra the psychologist expressed concern over parents who denied their children education because of their condition.


The programme which is aimed at educating the public in order to increase awareness through the media was attended by members of the association and parents of children with disabilities.


While urging care takers and parents to endeavor to understand the problems of their children, Mr Duah said, each ailment was unique and had to be managed differently as no two disorders were the same.


He said a child who suffers more than one condition needs different treatment and medication.


But because of the lack of knowledge on how different complications are managed, some parents get frustrated when a medication for autism did not treat those of epilepsy and allergies.


Mr Duah observed that children with learning disabilities were not intellectually inferior; however, assessment of their mental capacity could help place them where they can get the right support.


In her presentation, Dr Marbell Wilson, a paediatric neurologist, identified small ears, wide short hands with short fingers, heart abnormalities, increased risk of leukemia and intellectual disabilities, as symptoms of Down syndrome.


Although Down syndrome has no cure, Dr Wilson said clinical examination, prenatal diagnosis, special education and supportive management could be helpful.


The neurologist said sign language, audiology assessment and amplification/ cochlea implant as diagnosis and treatment for hearing impairment.


Mrs Salome François, the proprietress of New Horizon Special School said every child has the right to develop their divine given talents.


She advised parents not to neglect children with intellectual disorders because such children could be born into any family irrespective of its social status.


Mrs François advised the people to show love to the children as it helps to integrate them into the community.


New Horizon Special School is established to provide basic day school education for children and vocational training and employment for adults with intellectual disabilities.



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