Acting early ensures that both parents and their children are given the best start and have access to all the information and support they need to ensure a bright and positive future. That is why KCDC provides early intervention training to community, VHT and healthcare workers across the seven districts we work in, and as a result, 50% of all children now referred to KCDC are under the age of 3 years. Learning about the normal child development stages and being able to identify disabilities or high risk of disability in infants and young children, helps community, VHT and health workers provide timely health education to parents and caregivers, which can greatly improve the well-being and long-term developmental outcomes, and reduce the risk of secondary disabilities, neglect, and malnutrition. Once parents are equipped with knowledge on their child’s disability, they are not only able to care for and appropriately manage various conditions, but also share their knowledge with other parents, offering a supportive environment that is essential for children with disabilities to thrive.
We run regular parent education groups using the Baby Ubuntu programme. ‘Ubuntu – working together with families and children with developmental disabilities’ includes information for caregivers of children with a range of developmental disabilities, including down syndrome, congenital zika syndrome, microcephaly, and cerebral palsy. This 10 module participatory programme includes practical information about position and carrying, eating and drinking, communication and play as well as togetherness and belonging and addresses stigma and exclusion. These groups are run by our expert parents, themselves parents of children with disabilities.