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For any child, the first six years are very important as the rate of learning and development is the fastest during this time. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that early childhood is the most important phase for overall development. Factors like disability and malnutrition pose particularly difficult challenges. However, if these problems are solved at an early age, it minimizes developmental risks and enhances child development.

APD’s Early Intervention Program aims to identify disability and malnutrition at the initial stages and provide suitable aids and a holistic treatment. This is to ensure that children reach their maximum potential for development in these early years.

Our Objective

The program proposes to tackle the issue of disability on two fronts:

  • Macro level
    • Creating awareness about the problem among the members of the community, medical fraternity and the other stakeholders
    • Policy intervention in order to make the program a part of the system
  • Community level
    • Early detection and intervention. This will generate the data and information required to bring about any change at the policy level.

Road map

  • Creating awareness: Community awareness programs need to be planned. These programs can be supported by collateral like posters and banners that are created at APD. Also, workshops and panel discussions could be planned for the medical fraternity. Regular training sessions need to be conducted for the parents of children detected with disability. As a policy intervention, information collected as part of the program needs to be documented systematically to create a substantial database which could be used in the future.
  • Baby screening: Babies coming in for weekly immunizations at designated hospitals must be weighed and screened for any disability. Baby screening is conducted by the APD staff who have been trained to use baby screening kits. Children that are identified with disability or malnutrition are given referral cards to APD. Details of the babies are collected and submitted to the Early Intervention Department (EID) at APD.
  • Follow up: Within a week, the APD staff follows up on the children who have been identified. The details of the children detected with disability are collected on the same day as the screenings. Once the details are collected, the cases are mapped and the follow-up schedule is planned for the following week.

    We lay immense emphasis on follow ups at APD. We even follow up with children identified with mild disability over the phone and motivate the parents to visit the centre.

    Follow ups are essential to:

    • Inform the parents about the disability and educate them about it
    • Counsel the parents
    • Assess the child and the conditions of the family
    • Refer the family to APD/ doctor/ suitable referral institute
    • Record the status of the Anganwaadi registration of the child
    • Plan the intervention for the child
    • Educate the parents about the various government schemes that are available

    The outcome of the follow up is to get the parents to bring the child to APD or a Community Learning Center or contact the referred person or institute. If this does not happen within two weeks, the follow up is repeated.

    A sub service is created under the baby screening service which tracks the number of follow ups and the children who have been successfully referred.

  • Registration at APD: Once the child comes to APD after a follow up, they are registered under the Early Intervention Department (EID). Here, the child’s progress will be tracked regularly.

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