By Philomina Attah
Abuja – A Clinical Psychologist, Mr Samuel Jinadu, has advised parents to look out for early signs suggesting that a child may end up with special needs.
Jinadu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that the detection of such early signs would help parents to seek early help.
The psychologist, of the Behavioral Unit, Karu General Hospital, FCT, said some children were born with special needs that could affect their growth and development.
“Other children may, however, not show developmental problems until later in childhood,” he said.
Nevertheless, he said that such children could get the needed support to reach their potentials if parents could recognise the signs of need early in order to immediately seek help.
He explained that the period from birth to age three was the best time to help notice the signs in the child, adding that more serious problems could be prevented from occurring later.
“People tend to look at children with special needs as people with Down syndrome, autism and others, but special needs children go beyond that definition.
“We have people who have attention deficit, activities disorder. We have people with conduct and behavioural disorder and we have people with learning challenges.
“We have people who have special attention problem, so they fall under people who want special needs.
“What are the things you start noticing and at what age do you start picking early signs?
“If you are able to pick up early sign early, you will be able to intervene faster and the child can make significant progress,” he said.
According to Jinadu, the brain development of children with special needs is different from the normal people; hence, they see the world in a different way.
“It calls for attention when a child is six months of age and the child does not pay attention or stay focused on an activity for as long as other children of same age do.
“When a child rarely makes eye contact with others, acts extremely shy or withdraws; when a child does not like being touched, tends to break things a lot and display violent behaviours.
“It calls for attention when a child is three months and does not smile; the child does not understand first words such as, milk, bottle or wave bye-bye; at six months and the child could not shake his or her head.
“When a child has difficulty in putting thoughts, actions and movement together; when the child does not seek approval from parents, tends to be sick often, amongst others signs,” he said.
He added that such signs should not be taken for granted, rather, parents should take them seriously and seek help from relevant authorities for possible solution.
Jinadu further advised individuals to stop the stigmatisation against children with special needs, but rather show them love and care.
“Even their siblings sometimes have emotional reactions.
“They would want to avoid and stigmatise the person. They sometimes feel their parents are unfair because they pay more attention to that child.
“We need to look at what the siblings need to do and what parents need to know to cope better in order to bring out the best in these children,” he said. (NAN)
By Philomina Attah