Educator – Medical Conditions
IHC is designed to support the provision of early childhood education and care in the home particularly for those with complex and challenging needs. The In Home Care Support Agency recognise that not all children are the same and some come with some added additional needs that need to be accommodated. While the same basic principles apply to all children at times educators need additional skills and knowledge. To support you within your role as an educator lease see the relevant links that can assist to navigate some of the additional needs that you may see and information on what this means within your care environment.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (abbreviated as ADHD, and sometimes referred to as ADD in the past) is a developmental disorder that begins in early childhood. Children with ADHD may find it hard to concentrate and may become hyperactive, to the point where the condition can interfere with their schooling, friendships, or family life.
See: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disorder. It affects how people behave and interact with the world around them.
In people with ASD, the brain does not grow in the same way it does in most people. ASD presents differently in boys and girls.
ASD is not a mental health problem or an intellectual disability. But some people with ASD will also have those problems.
Children and adults with ASD may be highly intelligent, of normal intelligence, or have an intellectual disability. Along with some challenges, an autistic person will also have a range of strengths.
Most people with ASD can learn the skills they need to function independently or in a supportive environment. Research shows that early diagnosis and treatment is important.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Asperger’s syndrome is the former name of a developmental disability that affects how people behave, see and understand the world and interact with others. People with this developmental disability may have special interests, repetitive behaviours and under or overreact to sensory input.
People who previously were diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome have since 2013 been diagnosed as having a high-functioning form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. There is no longer a separate diagnosis for Asperger’s syndrome, although some people may prefer to keep using this term.
See: Asperger’s Syndrome
Global Developmental Delay
What is Global Developmental Delay?
Every child develops at her or his own pace – some will be faster than you’d expect, and others will be slower than you’d expect.
There will be children who crawl earlier than average, but walk later than average. Meeting development milestones is a complex process – sometimes children develop quickly for a while, then have a period of months when they develop no further, or even slip back a little.
But with some children, it is clear that they are just not developing in the same way as other children the same age. The term global development delay, or GDD, is used when a child shows delays in several areas of development, and this has continued for at least six months.
Global Developmental Delay (GDD) : An Understanding of the Impacts and How We Can Support Infants and Young Children
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood. Cerebral means having to do with the brain. Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles. CP is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain that affects a person’s ability to control his or her muscles.
Cerebral Palsy Alliance
Health Direct – Cerebral Palsy
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a health condition in which your body has difficulty converting glucose (a type of sugar) into energy. This leads to high levels of sugar in the blood (hyperglycaemia).
Your blood glucose levels are normally controlled by a hormone called insulin, which converts glucose into energy. Diabetes occurs when your pancreas can’t produce insulin or when your body can’t make use of the insulin because it’s grown resistant to it.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne – Diabetes
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a long-term brain condition where a person has repeated seizures (fits). It is thought to affect about 3 in every 100 Australians.
Having just one seizure is not considered to be epilepsy — about half the people who have one seizure never have another seizure.
Epilepsy is not one single condition. There are a range of different conditions that can cause seizures.
Seizures usually last 1 to 3 minutes. If someone has a seizure that lasts for more than 5 minutes, call an ambulance on triple zero (000). If you see someone having a seizure, you can go to Epilepsy Action Australia’s seizure first aid resources.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne – Epilepsy
Asthma in young children is one of the most common causes of hospital admission and visits to the doctor. Having a child with asthma can be frightening for parents and carers, but with good knowledge and management, your child’s asthma can usually be well controlled.
See: Asthma Australia – Asthma in Children
In Australia allergies are very common. Around one in three people will develop allergies at some time during their life. The most common allergic conditions are food allergies, eczema, asthma and hay fever. Less common but no less important are ingested or injected drug and insect allergy.
Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of allergic reaction and is potentially life threatening. It must be treated as a medical emergency, requiring immediate treatment and urgent medical attention.
Anaphylaxis is a generalised allergic reaction, which often involves more than one body system (e.g. skin, respiratory, gastro-intestinal and cardiovascular). A severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis usually occurs within 20 minutes to 2 hours of exposure to the trigger and can rapidly become life threatening.
See: Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA)
What is Down syndrome?
Down syndrome is a genetic condition. It’s also called Trisomy 21.
Down syndrome happens when a child’s cells end up with 47 chromosomes in them instead of the usual 46. It affects about 1 in every 700-900 babies and causes a range of physical and developmental problems as well as intellectual disability.
Although we know how Down syndrome happens, we don’t know why. Often, the change to a baby’s cells happens at the moment when the baby is conceived. Down syndrome can affect all ethnic and cultural groups and children born to parents of all ages.
See: Raising children – Down Syndrome
About Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a condition that affects children’s lungs, digestive systems, sweat glands and reproductive systems.
Causes of Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition. It’s caused by a mutation in the gene that controls how much salt and water go in and out of the body’s cells.
To have cystic fibrosis, a child must have two cystic fibrosis genes, one from each of their parents. If a child has just one gene, the child is a carrier of cystic fibrosis. Most carriers are healthy and don’t have symptoms.
See: Raising Children – Cystic Fibrosis
What is PEG feeding?
PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy) is a medical procedure carried out to insert a tube into your stomach. Insertion of a PEG tube means you can receive food, fluids, or medication directly into your stomach (also known as enteral feeding) instead of through your mouth.
See: Independence Australia – What is Peg Feeding?