Thu, Nov 11, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Developmentally delayed children getting better care

BETTER NUMBERS Recent statistics show that the early detection of children with difficulties has gotten better, and so has the amount of care they get

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Government and social welfare groups' joint efforts have shown significant results in the early detection and treatment of developmental delays in children, according to statistics released this week by the Ministry of the Interior.

According to the ministry, the number of reported cases of developmental delays and number of placements into therapy have increased significantly from last year.

Between January and June this year, the overall number of cases was 10,909 and the number of placements into therapy was 24,107, which were 9.96 percent and 57.51 percent increases from the same period last year.

"There are two parts of treatment to help children to overcome such developmental delays: therapy and education. Depending on which area of development a child falls behind in, different treatments are conducted," said Joe Wu (吳雪卿), a social worker with the Eden Social Welfare Foundation.

Developmental delays can include verbal, physical or psychological difficulties.

"The therapeutic part of the treatment aims to help a child's verbal and motor skills; education aims to help a child's cognitive development," Wu said.

Booklets laying out guidelines for children's typical development are available at hospitals and various health bureaus.

"These booklets inform parents of the age at which a child should start walking or speaking," Wu said. "If a child shows delays in those developments, parents should bring in the child for a professional checkup."

The booklets are also available in foreign languages.

"About two years ago, the ministry entrusted us with a project to design these booklets in Southeast Asian languages, for the convenience of foreign parents from countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia," a staff member of the Syin-Lu Foundation (心路基金會) said yesterday. "These booklets are now available at local health bureaus."

However, the foundation stressed that for interracial children, difficulties may not necessarily be due to development delays. Cultural differences may also result in learning impediments for these children.

This year, the ministry's Children's Bureau planned a budget of NT$85 million to provide financial assistance to families with children that have developmental delays. The financial assistance includes funds for early therapy.

According to the Children and Juveniles Welfare Law (兒童及少年福利法), after receiving a report about a child with developmental delays, a public health care unit must provide or transfer the child to a proper care service for early therapy, medical care or education.

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