SPECIAL NEEDS OF DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN
You have already studied that the children grow and develop physically, socially and emotionally.
Each individual is
Like all other people,
Like some other people and
Like no other person.
All children are 'unique' yet similar to one another in most aspects of growth. However, some children are very different from
their age-mates that they 'stand out'. The obvious 'standing out' creates problems during the growing periods. Such children have to deal with the normal/usual problems of growth along with all those difficulties that may arise because of being different.
Have you ever noticed any such child?
The child's ability to cope with these problems is limited. The child is unable to deal with the social and emotional problems. This has marked effect on the child's personal and social development. Such a child needs special attention during the formative years so as to be able to grow to the full potential.
After reading this chapter you will be able to:
Define a normal and a disabled child.
Differentiate between normal and disabled/disadvantaged child.
Categorize disabled children as physically handicapped and socially maladjusted.
According to psychologists a Normal Child can be defined 'as one who is physically, socially, mentally, intellectually and morally adjusted and is in harmony with one-self and his/her surrounding environment.' Such a child is able to conform to the norms of the particular society.
Baker, a well-known psychologist defines the Disabled Child as 'one who deviates from what is supposed to be an average in physical, mental, emotional and social characteristics to such an extent that the child requires special educational services to help develop to the maximum capacity.'
Categories of Disabled / Disadvantaged Children
The disabled children can be broadly grouped into three categories. These are:
1. Physically handicapped children
2. Mentally disadvantaged children.
3. Socially maladjusted children.
Causes of Disability among Children
The various causes of physical disability are as follows:
2. Unfavourable prenatal environment
3. Injury during child birth
4. Accident during early childhood causing orthopaedic problems.
5. Surgery requiring the amputation of the diseased part.
6. Mental and emotional problems in early childhood result in stammering, and speech defects.
7. Ear infections and injuries resulting in hearing defects.
8. Psychological, emotional problems and feeling of neglect result in behavioural problems. Such children are not able to keep up with the desired social norms and hence are at disadvantage.
9. Imaginary defects called 'Phantom handicaps' occur when small children imagine they are handicapped and demand to be excused from doing things they don't want to do.
Types of Disabilities / Handicaps
Handicaps result in physical, neurological and social maladjustment and defects.
A. Physical Defects
1. Eyes. Blind and partially sighted
2. Ears. Deaf and hard of hearing
3. Missing limb/weak limb
4. Physical abnormalities such as webbed fingers, hunch back, sixth finger/toe, malformed ear, harelip, cleft palates, face and body birth marks.
5. Defective speech. It results in stammering that affects child's personality.
6. Chronical defects. The defects that exist year after year are generally referred to as chronical defects i.e. congenital heart diseases, rheumatism and muscular atrophys.
B. Neurological Defects
These are caused by disorders of the central nervous system e.g. cerebral palsy, epilepsy and schizophrenia. Cerebral palsy results in paralysis/motion disorder of limbs due to brain malfunction. Sudden uncontrollable attacks (seizures) resulting in loss of consciousness and muscle control are common among epileptic patients.
These defects can be corrected/ improved to a great extent when detected and treated in time. Medical, surgical and scientific advancement is providing tremendous improvements to cope with the different handicaps.
C. Social Maladjustment Defect
Socially maladjusted children do not conform to the acceptable social norms of the society. The children can be indulging in anti-social activities leading to juvenile delinquency and other related problems. Socially disadvantaged child is a deprived child deprived of love, proper guidance and general social security.
When is the Child Considered Disabled / Disadvantaged
A Child is considered disadvantaged:
When he/she cannot make the maximum use of one or several of the senses e.g. blind child, deaf and mute child.
When he/she is not able to adjust well in the society one lives in. Such a child will exhibit behavioural problems.
Kauffa defines children with behavioural disorders as 'those who chronically and markedly respond to their environment in socially unacceptable/personally unsatisfied ways but who can be taught more socially acceptable and personally gratifying behaviour.
Do you know that a child who is able to make sharper use of senses e.g. exceptional/ bright child can also be disadvantaged.