Abstract Ref Number = APCP75
Normal Child Development: rethinking about the definition
PastPresident of the International Pediatric Association IPA
Honorary President of the AsiaPacific Pediatric Association APPA
Board Chairman of the Hong Kong Paediatric Foundation
Developmental Behaviour Paediatrics (DBP) is the subspecialty of paediatrics specialized in human growth and development. Its main objectives are to promote normal growth and development via education and advocacy as well as to early identify developmental delays via screening, assessment and rehabilitations.
When Ronnie MacKeith, Mary Sheridan, Dorothy Egan and other pioneers started the specialty of DBP at the Newcomen Clinic at Guy’s Hospital in London in the 1950’s, they emphasized four major areas of development, namely:
1. Gross Motor and Posture
2. Vision and Fine Manipulation
3. Hearing and Language
4. Social and behaviour
Taking into consideration the four biological characteristics of human beings as:
1. Upright Posture
2. Adjustable Visual Apparatus
3. Spoken Language
4. Complex Social Culture
In order to achieve these targets, they have ingeniously designed the STCAR (Standard Tests for Children and Adult Retardates) series aiming for assessment of children and adult with developmental deviants. All these work perfectly well until recently when we encountered new neuro-developmental issues such as the Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD) and Specific Learning Disabilities (such as Dyslexia), developmental paediatricians started to notice that we have to expand the domain of DBP into the wider scope of including developmental disorders in the medical, educational and social sectors so as to have wider coverage of children with developmental deviants. Here, we stress on the importance of team (transdisciplinary) approach including professionals such as medical doctors, nurses, psychologists, allied health professionals (the therapists), social workers, special teachers and so on and importance of early stimulation in optimum environment (physical, mental, emotions etc.) to produce the maximal effect of enhancing one’s highest level of growth and development.
DBP should include Normal Children in the Community but also to take care of children with Special Education Needs (SEN) and Children in Special Situations (Orphanage, Dormitory, Prisons and so on). Besides the domain of Screening, Assessment and Rehabilitation, DBP should proactively venture to include important aspects such as Child Protection (child abuse) and Children’s Rights (United Nations Convention for the Children’s Rights 1989).
These new domains in DBP form revised definition of the subspecialty for the 21st Century.All these aim at promoting a child with good physical, mental, social, behaviour and spiritual well-being capable of attaining one’s fullest potential in life, It covers “Every Child, Every Age and Everywhere” with the ultimate goals of our having “Healthy Children for Healthy World”!