This section briefly explores what a developmental delay or disability is, what are the different possible needs of a child with a disability and supports for you to best assist the child in your care.
What is a developmental delay or disability?
This information was sourced from the following website: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/developmental_delay_d.html
How will this impact your role?
A child with a developmental delay or disability may need some extra care. They will require an optimal nurturing and learning environment that aims to maximise developmental and health outcomes, and reduce the degree of their functional limitations. Generally, you will be assessed on your capacity for caring for such a child prior to placement, and this is a decision made between yourself and the placement agency. You need to feel comfortable with your role.
It is important that early identification and intervention occurs for children with developmental delay or disabilities. Sometimes these are identified and diagnosed prior to a child being placed in your care. Depending on the child’s age however, a diagnosis may occur whilst they are in your care. A comprehensive professional assessment must be carried out to examine the functional abilities, developmental diagnoses, health conditions and other factors likely to influence future outcomes and well-being of the child.
There is evidence that providing support and services for infants and young children with developmental impairments can positively alter the child’s developmental journey, and reduce the risk of secondary health and psychosocial complications.Early intervention services are best delivered in a coordinated, planned, family centred manner that reflects a life course approach to health and well-being outcomes. Supporting the carer is a crucial component of early intervention programs, as the carer and family have a key role in fostering their child’s developmental potential, and may experience additional stresses as they meet the special needs of the child.
Even when the child might continue to experience limitations in their day to day skills, early intervention can:
- Improve functioning and
- Increase the ability of the family, services, and community to support and include the child
It is important if you have a child with a developmental delay or disability in your care that you feel supported to understand their needs, and access services and support for both the child and yourself.
Identify funding supports
A first priority for carers of children with developmental delay would be to establish if funding is available to support the child’s needs. In each state, specialist disability services exist to provide a higher level of support to people who have more complex needs. Some examples of specialist disability services include:
- Accommodation support
- Respite services
- Early intervention services
- Multidisciplinary services
If you have support needs that require specialist services, a Disability Services intake officer may refer you for an assessment. Check your respective state disability service department for contact details.
The purpose of the assessment is to confirm:
- The child has a disability (under the respective state legislation)
- That the child needs help because of your disability
- The type of help or support the child may need
In some cases, you may be referred to a specialist disability service before you have an assessment, for example, if it is an emergency situation. Support is available that provides a long term benefit if accessed immediately (for example, early intervention services for a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder).
Funding is used to assist with in home supports like help with toileting, showering, house cleaning, to assist the client with their support plan and helping the client to achieve there personal goals.
Accessing supports and services
Other carers can share with you about their experiences, give you tips and provide you with information about valuable service providers and support services: