Cross-Disability Early Intervention Centres Concept Note
A. As per Census, 2011 there are about 20.42 lakh children (0-6 years) with disabilities comprising 7% of children population in the country. With the coming into force of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 which now recognises 21 disabilities, it is expected that the number of children with disabilities would increase.
B. Research studies suggest that early childhood (0-6 years) is a time of remarkable brain development. It is the critical period that determines a person’s ability to reach their lifelong health, social and economic potential. Providing quality childhood intervention early in life helps to develop the skills needed to enable individuals to lead an independent and dignified life. Early Intervention can provide specialized support and services for infants and young children at risk or with disability and/or developmental delay and their families to help their development, well-being and participation in family and community life. The earlier the disability/ at risk/developmental delay children are provided timely rehabilitative care and intervention, the better is the scope of overall improvement in the person’s well being.
C. 0-6 years is also said to be the appropriate age for learning for a child. It is, therefore, essential to prepare the children with disabilities for their school readiness at this age to improve their physical and cognitive abilities, communication and language skills so as to enable them to live a secured and independent life.
D. Presently, such facilities and specialised personnel for cross-disability rehabilitation of children with disabilities are not available in National Institutes (NIs) and Composite Regional Centres (CRCs) under Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD). While the District Early Intervention Centres (DEICs) set up under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare focuses on aspects related to identification and treatment, there is no comprehensive program for early rehabilitative care and intervention for children at risk cases or those with disabilities or having developmental delays in order to help in reduction in their overall disability burden. As such, a need was felt to begin cross-disability early intervention centres in NIs and CRCs under the Department.
Cross-Disability Early Intervention Centres should be equipped to provide the following
- Screening and Identification
- Facilities for early identification of at risk children
- Referring for appropriate interventional services Therapeutic Services
- Communication and language development
- Speech stimulation and therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Behaviour management
- Cognitive development