UNICEF eyes enhanced early detection system for children with special needs
With regards to the children’s rights and well-being, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Early Child Care and Development (ECCD) Council Secretariat with the member agencies is aiming to enhance the system for prevention that encompasses the early identification, referral and intervention of impairments, disorders and disabilities among children in their early childhood in the country.
Based on the record presented in an orientation and consultation recently, only 10% of children needing assistance and rehabilitation services are able to access the programs being offered from both the government and private sectors, yet overwhelming 90% are still needed to address especially those children from zero to four months old.
“Through the enhancement of the system for prevention, we are hopeful that the different sectors will collaborate and provide assistance to the children. Hence, all disabilities should be addressed and not only be ignored by the local government units most specifically when it talks about children,” Edwin Taleon of the ECCD Council explained.
Ma. Bella Ponferrada of UNICEF affirmed “it is never a fault of the person to have impairments rather, it is on their environment and other various barriers that haven’t mitigated that’s why it turned out to be classified as their disabilities.”
She also suggested to implement programs that could correct the misconceptions of the public towards children with disabilities. “We have to create movement towards progressive realizations,” she opined.
Furthermore, the ECCD Council also expressed concern that usually only those within or near urban areas avail of the interventions.
“By enhancing the prevention system, I hope this would help the collaboration and coordination of the national government agencies, local government units and different sectors to work as one to combat early childhood disorders,” said UNICEF-ECCD Specialist Psyche Vetta Olayvar.
A network for service providers for children with disabilities is also recommended by the stakeholders. It was revealed, as of present, the national level has yet to identify the support needed for children with disabilities in the regions.
The parents are also encouraged to administer interventions to children with disabilities if signs have been seen during their developmental stage.
“I hope as soon as now, when programs are already ready to be implemented and disseminated, we will not be late to deal with the disorders that children may experience during their early childhood,” said Olayvar. (EDT/JRA/PIA-Zamboanga City)