disabilities

A young boy wearing a backpack, face mask, hoodie jacket, and rain boots, standing outdoors while its raining.

It May Be the Most Important Test of a Child’s Life. Most Aren’t Getting It

Tens of thousands of California children with developmental delays aren’t diagnosed until they hit the school system. For children whose delays are detected late, the ramifications can be lifelong. That’s because interventions such as behavioral, physical and speech therapy are often most effective when started during the toddler years.

Billions of connections are made in a young child’s brain. Research shows between 85 and 90 percent of brain development occurs before a child turns 3.

Parents Caring for Children with Disabilities Have Some Advice

After almost 10 months of staying home, some of these families have settled into the new reality and are receiving better support. Some have found creative ways to adapt. But others are still struggling to get their children the help they need.

How well families are doing depends a lot on their resources, both relational and financial. To help families that are struggling, lawmakers need to provide greater financial support such as stimulus payments, food subsidies and rental relief, advocates said.

Nakenya Allen outside her home in Martinez, California. Martin do Nascimento / Resolve Magazine

How Families Are Fighting Racism and Disability Discrimination

Many parents of children with special needs — regardless of race — struggle to receive prompt diagnoses and services. But for families of color, the challenge is more acute.

“There’s just a lot of systemic racism,” said Kausha King, director of the Community Empowerment Project, a program that provides navigation support and training to Black families of children with special needs in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

For Medically Fragile Children, Pandemic-Induced Supply Shortages Continue

Suppliers and parents began reporting shortages — most notably of ventilator circuits — early in the pandemic. Now, they say the problem is ongoing and kids are paying the price.

Based on national estimates, it’s likely that California is home to about 35,000 children with medical complexities, although no one tracks state-specific data. These are children with chronic conditions that require significant medical attention and specialized equipment, such as ventilators.

Amid Pandemic, Young Kids With Special Needs Missing Out On Services

As COVID-19 disrupts the transition from early intervention to school, children are going without occupational, physical and speech therapies and other services they’re entitled to.

The danger, advocates for children with special needs said, is that these kids are missing out on interventions at a critical moment in their lives. Since mid-March, California’s complex special needs care system has struggled to move children from one program to another, parents and advocates said.

Power Blackouts Spark Medical, Financial Emergencies for California’s Most Vulnerable

A state auditor’s report released this week found that California is unprepared to protect its most vulnerable residents during natural disasters, including those who have disabilities or are medically fragile. That’s despite the fact that a quarter of the state’s population lives in an area at risk of wildfire, and 20 percent of Californians are either over the age of 65 or have a disability.

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