Early intervention refers to a systemic and planned
effort to promote development through a series of interventions aimed at
modifying the interaction between children and their immediate
environment, initiated during the initial years of life to have a
worthwhile effect. It requires multidisciplinary services provided to
developmentally disabled children and their families, and is aimed at
detection of delays, minimization of potential delays, remediation of
existing problems to prevent further deterioration, in addition to
providing counseling and support to the child and the family. India is a
thriving economy with a gargantuan population in the throes of
unprecedented socioeconomic and developmental agitation. Prevalence of
children requiring attention has increased manifold. Early intervention
has shown tremendous potential in decreasing the ultimate burden of
affectation and reduced expenditure to the exchequer, by reducing the need
for rehabilitative services for future disabilities. However, there is
still a need for simple cost effective community models for promoting
early child development.
Child Development Centers (CDC)
An ideal CDC has the following components:
(iii) early intervention,
(vi) research, and
(vii) community/social application.
Comprehensive and Integrated management are the
keystones of a successful CDC.
CDCs with an integrated approach where a central member
of the team, preferably the pediatrician, coordinates the effort for the
child and an in-house, "under one roof" approach not only allows for
greater compliance, but also significantly improves the quality of care.
The outcome can scarcely be that effective with an uncoordinated,
individually given therapy, where it is impossible for the therapists to
function in a coordinated and "child – centric manner".
Are Current Resources Adequate?
The biggest single problem with developmental services
is the lack of adequately trained resource persons. The urgent need is for
capacity building with an ingrained inclination towards a TEAM
intervention. Setting up of colleges and infrastructure to provide this
human resource is the greatest challenge at the moment.
What We Hope to Achieve?
Creating enough awareness about child developmental and
behavioral concerns in academic circles is of paramount importance in
fostering this much needed renaissance in the country. Guidelines towards
integrated management will go a long way in promoting setting up of
indegeniously developed CDCs across the country. Appreciating the need for
qualified human resource, which is unlikely to come from outside the
system and in an effort aimed at the capacity building of personnel
working in the field of early child development, CDC Kerala is at the
forefront of teaching and training activities at all levels.
In India, a feasible and sustainable model for early
developmental intervention would be through community owned early child
care and development facilities, preferably within the ambit of current
national programs viz., NRHM, ICDS and the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan. We hope
that this supplement is the initial step towards this long journey.