Children and Young People with Additional Support Needs

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  • Topic: Asthma, Muscular dystrophy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy
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  • Published : February 22, 2011
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Gemma Buchan

Higher National Certificate

Early Education


Children and Young People with Additional Support Needs

Unit Code: DF55 34

Assessment 2

There are many types of condition which can affect a child’s development. Three of these groups are physical conditions, which are conditions which mainly affect physical development, medical conditions, which are conditions which need to be maintained or treated, and developmental disorders, which are conditions which affect one or more aspects of development. Children suffering from a condition from any of these groups can have long term needs and short term needs. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a physical condition which takes its name from Dr Duchenne de Boulogne, who was one of the first people to study the condition. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is one of over 20 types of muscular dystrophy and “primarily affects boys, who inherit the disease through their mothers” (MDA c. 2009). All types of muscular dystrophy are caused by a fault in the genes which causes the muscles to become increasingly weak and waste away until they can no longer be used. The chance of giving birth to a boy affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy is 1 in 3500, and 1500 boys affected with the condition are living in the UK at any given time.

The condition is usually noticed as the child begins to walk, or between the age of 1 and 3. At this point, the child will find it difficult to walk, and later on he will be less likely to be able to use his gross motor skills such as running, jumping and climbing as well as other children his age can. These skills will degenerate further, leaving the child unable to walk by the time, or before, he reaches the age of 11. When the child is in his 20s, he will be expected to live into his mid 30s.

Although, according to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign in 2010, no cure has been found for this condition, many ways of managing the condition have been developed.
A short term need for the child would be that he would need help walking and climbing the steps in the earlier stages of the condition. This means that he would need to be supported physically when he wants to move around, and taking him to physiotherapy in order to prolong the function of his muscles.

Even before the child needs to use a wheelchair, he will have long term additional support needs. At home, he will need help with, for example, going to the toilet, eating and taking a bath. At home, one of his parents or a carer would be available to help him with these things. At school, he will need a key worker to be with him so that he can go to the toilet, get around the school, and help him to communicate. When the child moves onto further education or work, the key worker will pass key information on to the new setting. At home and at school, the child may need a back brace to reduce the risk of spinal curvature, and speech therapy to develop the child’s ability to communicate.

There will be several problems for a child living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. His family will also encounter their own problems. At first, the family may grieve for the “normal” child they have lost. Once the family has pulled through this grief, the parents of the child may remain upset for some time. This will lead to the child and any siblings not receiving as much affection as they need. As well as this, more attention will be paid towards the child with the condition, leaving less focus and attention on any brothers and sisters. The parents and siblings will feel like they are on their own, that nobody else understands what they are going through and the child himself and his siblings may also get bullied because of his condition. Because of this, the family may feel that they need some support, which could come from counselling.

These problems could affect the child in several ways. Because of being bullied, the child may try harder to be able to do the things that the other...
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