Currently there are 1,678,000 disabled children under six years old in China, and every year there are 200,000 new disabled children. It is important to diagnose illnesses and disabilities in children as early as possible in order to have better outcomes. To help parents recognise problems earlier and seek treatment, the following measures have been implemented in China:
- 2009 – “Management for neonatal screening” to identify illnesses in new borns
- 2013 – regular testing of 0-6 year olds for vision, hearing, four limbs, cognitive ability and autism
- 2017 – free testing of psychological and mental behaviour development for 0-6 year olds
From the 1st of October 2018 China’s first rehabilitation and relief system for disabled children will be fully implemented nationally. Assistance will be provided to children under six who suffer from disabilities affecting vision, hearing, speech, movement of limbs and other such disabilities. Services will include equipment allocation and rehabilitation training aimed to improve function and enhance self-caring abilities. The system also clarifies the work process for rehabilitation regarding guardian status, compensation and chosen rehabilitation institutions.
There are over 85 million disabled people in China, and early diagnosis and treatment in childhood is the key to healthy development and function for normal integration into society including future education and work. Improved services are vital, as treatment of disabilities are multifaceted and require attention from all angles. Similar systems have already been trialed in a few selected provinces and have seen positive outcomes in autism treatment, rehabilitation training and diagnosis.