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Children's Medical Services - Special services for children with special needs
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Happy baby; Text - Providing health care services that ensure our children start out healthy Four Medical Professionals; Text - Creating a place where health care professionals connect Four girls smiling; Text - Providing extraordinary care so children can lead ordinary lives
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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 6, Lesson 1

Reading Medical Literature for Validity

The ability to read medically related information for accuracy and validity is a basic requirement for the ITDS working with all children and families, especially those with medically complex conditions and/or intensive special needs. It is important for the ITDS to know how to read and assess the validity of health and disease information to better understand the strengths and limitations of children. Access to valid medical information will help the ITDS to create developmental strategies that support infants and toddlers with chronic and complex health conditions. The ITDS also needs access to information related to acute illnesses experienced by infants and toddlers, including those who have developmental disabilities or delays. This will help the ITDS to understand, plan and carry out or implement appropriate interventions in relation to the health of the child within the dynamics of the family.

2 women at tableWhen reading research articles there are guidelines to consider when determining whether the information represents an issue that has been adequately explored or has evidence based studies to back up its claim. Guidelines that are followed by Clinical Evidence can assist you in reading the medical literature. Some of the main points to consider are:

  • information presented has an extensive literature review
  • material has been subjected to a stringent supervised peer review process
  • mechanism for feedback and correction is provided
  • clear hypothesis and research design to determine the validity of the hypothesis is presented.

What is Health?

As you begin your study of pediatric health issues related to infants and toddlers with complex medical conditions or low incidence disabilities, it is important to remember why we must be vested in the health of children. Children represent the future of a society. We advocate for children and strive to enhance the environments where they live because they do not have a legal voice of their own. Therefore, it becomes the role of members of a society to nurture and protect its children.

Children are not miniature adults. They have unique characteristics; one of which is their complete dependence on their caregivers when very young. Human children require more time to become competent in assuming an adult role than any other species. The complexity of their development and the need to nurture that development makes humans unique. The continuity of children's health and wellness should be protected in order that society as a whole can benefit and children and families can live healthy and productive lives.

What are the characteristics of health?

What does health mean for the person who has a chronic health condition?

Public Health, Health Care and Health Care Professionals

Public health is the art and science that deals with the protection and improvement of health through an organized community effort. Public health includes preventive medicine, sanitary and social science. Health care and the financing of health care are elements of both individual health as well as public health.

Health care is the maintenance and restoration of balance within the health continuum by the prevention and treatment of disease, often by specially trained and licensed professionals from a variety of fields. Health care professionals play a key role in maintaining and restoring health. However, they are not the only individuals in a society that provide health care. For example, the child care worker may not typically be thought of as a health care provider yet they provide for the care and well being of young children in our society on a daily basis. Still, most members of our society consider medical professionals as the first or primary level of health care providers.

doctor looking at x-rayThe building and maintenance of a positive relationship among health care professionals such as a physician, nurse, and a therapist develops and is maintained over time. The family usually chooses the role a health care professional has in their child's life. In particular, the child's primary medical physician often plays the role of a gatekeeper by assisting the family with apportioning care and roles. Regardless of the primary source of health care, it is imperative that infants and toddlers have a medical home (primary care physician) for continuity of care. A medical home serves as the hub and source of consistent medical care, record keeping, and intervention supports and services.


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