“It was ability that mattered, not disability, which is a word I’m not crazy about using.” – Marlee Matlin
Could not agree more ……Every child’s needs attention and so do children with special abilities.
As an ENT Surgeon working with hearing impaired children, I come across children with various speech and language disorders as well.
Also I get involved in multidisciplinary teams who take care of children with drooling and swallowing problems as well.
Regular hearing and vision check ups are necessary in children.If a child cannot express his/her needs ,we need to be more responsible in taking care of the sensory issues.This will help them in undergoing other therapies in full potential.
A small procedure as removing impacted wax gives the child the joy of hearing normally again and prevents water retention and ear infection.
As an ENT surgeon, working with special children & their parents.The role of an ENT will be in assessing,diagnosing ear, nose,throat problems & helping in habilitation alongside the therapists.
Often hearing disability or impairment goes undiagnosed as it is not as explicit or obvious as physical impairment or blindness.Ear wax & middle ear effusions should be regularly attended to as in any other child.
Reduced hearing acuity during infancy and early childhood interferes with the development of speech and language skills, because it is likely that the child will not receive adequate auditory, linguistic, and social stimulation required for speech and language learning, social and emotional development, and that family functioning will suffer accordingly (NIH, 1993).It can be argued that these effects are even larger in a population with an intellectual disability.
There are also communication disorders which can be of several types including expressive language disorder & mixed receptive-expressive language
Commonly we come across nasal allergy,infection,muscular tone /nasopharyngeal narrowing due to structural abnormality or adenoids.
Specific problems in differently abled children are drooling & swallowing or feeding difficulties.
It is considered abnormal for a child older than four years to exhibit persistent drooling and this problem is most commonly seen in special children.The management is tailored case basis.It can be conservative-speech therapy & oral stimulation therapy to use of Appliances –Dental.We also sometimes use anticholinergic drugs.Injection of botox in the salivary gland & Surgery is reserved for severe cases.
In conclusion,there is so much to do & help our special kids.Its all about strengthening their abilities…as a team.