Early Diagnosis Is Key To Future Development
By Michael Moore, executive director, Learning Disabilities Association of Hawaii
Getting off to a good start and keeping a steady pace lay the groundwork for a successful race. The same is true when addressing the needs of young children, especially children with, or at risk of, disabilities. The proper first steps are crucial. Keeping steady through what comes next will make all the difference and can produce life-changing results for children with special needs.
Addressing children’s developmental needs will maximize their chances of entering kindergarten with age-appropriate language, literacy and social-emotional skills. Approximately 60 percent of Hawaii’s children in the 2-through 5-year-old age bracket are not likely to receive timely early childhood screenings. If unscreened, approximately one in four children with a potential problem in the areas of development, hearing or vision will remain undetected and untreated.
According to a study by Hawaii’s Good Beginnings Alliance, addressing special needs later in the life of a child is more than four times more costly. Not preparing children for success in school by the age of 5 will have lasting repercussions throughout the life of the child and will negatively contribute to family, community and state economic conditions.
Children prepared for school are far more likely to succeed in secondary education and continue on to college or other post-secondary learning opportunities. They are more likely to earn higher wages and contribute more successfully to their communities.
Learning Disabilities Association of Hawaii (LDAH) is leading the state in school-readiness initiatives, creating the first of its kind community-based, multi-partner School Readiness Project that addresses children’s developmental needs early to maximize their chances of entering school with age-appropriate language, literacy and social-emotional skills.
Since 2009, with funding from Aloha United Way, LDAH has screened more than 6,000 children for developmental, social-emotional, hearing and/or vision problems; provided case management for all referred children; and educated more than 2,000 parents on early childhood health and developmental milestones.
LDAH is Hawaii’s leading source of information, referral, education, training, mentoring and advocacy for families of children with disabilities, statewide. These services help parents obtain optimal educational results for their children. As the Parent Training & Information Center for the state of Hawaii for the past 24 years, LDAH is the recognized authority on teaching disability law.
For more information, visit ldahawaii.org.
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