Caring for children: Meeting basic needs is not enough

Scientists have identified that caregivers can promote the healthy development of children by providing both cognitive and emotional input. The ability to learn is enhanced by mental information such as words, music, and puzzles. Dynamic inputs, such as hugs and praises, promote a nurturing, supportive relationship between the child and caregiver. A lack of one or both types of information can hinder the child’s growth.

This does not mean that parents must spend every minute of their waking hours with their children. Research has shown that a child can thrive with more than one caregiver. A parent who is rested and shares their childcare duties with others will be much better than a stressed-out stay-at-home parent.

It is perfectly normal for parents to make mistakes. This can be a great teaching moment: Acknowledging a mistake as a parent sends the message that children are not “bad” and do not have to take responsibility for their parents. It also fosters trust between children and parents.

The practical suggestions are helpful, but to truly support young people with DCD, parents, and children need more formalized support. The UK research shows how little help is available. A study revealed that only 43% of parents of children diagnosed with DCD received any practical use. In a survey of DCD adolescents, 37% did not receive formal education support at school. It is important to take legal measures such as establishing a support program led by a special education coordinator or an occupational psychologist, who will devise strategies and adjust classrooms because the difficulties that children face can snowball. The study explains that secondary problems, such as reduced participation in activities or less supportive friends, are common in DCD. These can lead to a downward spiral of poorer academic results and less engagement at school.

One of the biggest barriers to learning is the lack of awareness that DCD can affect a child’s ability to learn. Teachers and parents can collaborate to create manageable tasks for children that will engage them in learning activities. Without formal support in educational settings for young people with DCD, they are likely to fall further behind.


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