Understanding developmental disorders

Developmental disorders are affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of peoples around the globe. About 3% of the global population is estimated to face one or the other form of severe developmental disorder. That may sound surprisingly high considering we do not bump into people with visible conditions that very often. And that is what makes developmental disorders worrisome as it does not always show up as symptoms in all instances of occurrence.

Let us take a step back and try to understand what developmental disorders are. A simple Wikipedia search says: “Developmental disorders comprise a group of psychiatric conditions originating in childhood that involve serious impairment in different areas.” Or in other words, it is a group of psychiatric disorders that cause different kinds of difficulties with respect individual and social skills, preventing an individual from leading a normal life.

Are developmental disorders a global pandemic already?

Occurrence of developmental disorders have been identified and recorded in all the countries of the world with no exception. The most common types of developmental disorders are:

• Learning disabilities
• Communication disorders
• Autism Spectrum Disorders
• Genetic disorders
• Tic disorder

These are simply the most common ones approximately in the order of prevalence, but there are other types of disorders as well. A study by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with researchers from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in 2008 pointed that these disorders collectively amounted to more than 2/3rd of all such disorders.

India conducted its first national mental health survey between 2014 and 2016. The results were astounding. It was estimated that about a sixth of the most populous country in the world could be suffering from developmental disorders. The morbidity was found to be pronounced in sections of the society with poor literacy, less than average national income, poor access to mental health facilities etc., making the situation worse that it does in developed countries.

The 3C’s concept and its role in helping people with developmental disorders

There are several known methods for helping individuals with developmental disorders. They depend on what is intended as the outcome or the result. Several therapies have shown statistically significant results in easing the symptoms of developmental disorders like Autism. For example, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Speech-language therapy, Occupational therapy or Sensory integration therapy, etc. Most of these methods are aimed at helping at reducing the intensity of the symptoms, which is a significant need, especially for individuals with chronic conditions.

However, the key to sustainable development and happiness for both the individual with the disorder and their caregivers is their ability to be self-reliant. The 3C’s concept aims to deliver that self-reliance to all individuals with developmental disorders by imparting life skills that are essential to integrate with and survive in our society. This method has been developed through first-hand research and experience across more than 80 countries in the world.

The 3C’s concept is focused on infusing creativity, comprehension and competence. These are the fundamental building blocks that drive cognitive ability and intelligent response. For example, teaching linguistic skills is achieved by a four-stage process:

1. Knowing the shapes
2. Making the shapes
3. Selecting the shapes
4. Combining the shapes

The method is pivoted around shapes as it relates to all the sensory inputs rather than focusing only on hearing and seeing (which is what conventional teaching/ education is built on). This method breaks the barriers of individuals with difficulty in learning through conventional schooling as it directly stimulates intelligence rather than being stuck at sensory impediments.

The method also imparts life skills like cooking, field sports, horse riding, fine arts, farming & agriculture, mechanics and engineering. In some ways, this education prepares the student more holistically for life in the real world than some forms of classrooms in conventional schools.

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How has this delivered results for those who need it?

The 3C’s concept is a unique learning methodology. It has demonstrated success in India and across the world by positively impacting the abilities of individuals with developmental disorders. It was pioneered by CIMR in Kerala, India and has now reached several corners of the world.

Today, this method has been recognized and adopted by leading institutions and organizations around the world. Some of the institutions that have adopted the 3C’s concept are Benedictine University.

The numbers are staggering when we look at how the 3C’s concept has been driving change in the world of developmental disorders. About 1000 students and their families are leading a life of happiness thanks to this method. CIMR, the organization that is pioneering this concept has also trained several thousand mothers, caregivers and family members in the process to make it sustainable.

Leading personalities have acknowledged the work the organization does and the benefits of the method in this field. Some of them like Honorable Dr.A..P.J.Abdul kalam, Mr.Ram vilas Pashwan and kerala governor Mr. Arif Mohammed Khan have personally visited and gained first-hand understanding of how this method has helped individuals across the world.

How can you help CIMR?

CIMR has been a reputed Not-for-Profit (NFP) in India, serving individuals with developmental disorders and their families for more than 4 decades. Their rehabilitation method has helped such individuals lead a self-reliant, married and happy lives in a society that is not ready enough to accept that lesser abilities does not make one a lesser human.

CIMR believes it can expand its support to a wider section of people who can benefit from its service. And you could help by making a donation or carrying the message to those who can. You can visit here for more information on CIMR.