State Hospitals and Developmental Disabilities
Before the efficiency of state hospital’s interventions to the development of people with development disabilities be examined, it is deemed necessary to first discuss the functions of the state hospitals as they serve as an educational institution for people - State Hospitals and Developmental Disabilities introduction. Teaching people with learning or developmental disabilities is an accepted and established function of any state hospital in the world. Teaching is undoubtedly a legitimate le g of the state hospital. A state hospital is self-sufficient and self-contained. It has many functions that it almost competes with the function of a mental hospital – the latter being the mental health interest’s brainchild (Hill, 2005, p. 1).
A state hospital does a lot of jobs and offers several services to its people. Researches and public clinics are conducted. Programs are conducted, too, like a hygiene educational program. Some of the members of the staff of a state hospital also monitor their patients and watch them live their lives in their respective communities for as long as they are not yet fully recovered. On chronic wards, therapeutic efforts are expected to be everywhere (Hill, 2005, p. 1).
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People with developmental disabilities who are housed in a state hospital have a slower recovery or development compared to those who are in a regular school through special education classes. Those who are living in a state hospital interact with people who, like them, are also suffering from developmental disabilities. They think almost the same way, and react to situations almost similarly. They have a lot in common with the people they interact with, so what they consider as “normal” or “average” is what they see around them. The slow development becomes the standard to them because they get so used to it.
There is almost no chance for retreat when it comes to taking care of people with developmental disabilities in state hospitals. According to Barton and Tomlinson in the book “Special Education and Social Interests”, state hospitals are faulted and flawed (Barton and Tomlinson, 1984, p. 242). Socialization is an important part of child development. Children need to interact with other kids while growing up in order to further develop their characters, intelligence, socializing skills and quality traits.
The challenge with rearing children with mental disabilities is to try to teach them the knowledge and skills they need to survive without making them believe that they are different from everybody else. Hospitals house sick people who are trying to recover from their illnesses. Caring for children in this kind of environment might make them believe that they are also sick or carriers of some diseases that made them different from other people outside the hospital. Of course, a child with developmental disabilities may be too young to realize this, but as he grows up, he might start to view himself in this manner.
In contrast, children with developmental disabilities who are taught in special education schools may feel that they are less healthy than other people. As they grow up, they may realize that their school is different from the schools other children attend, but they are probably less likely to categorize themselves as “sick people.” This is a crucial advantage in teaching kids with developmental disabilities because loss of self-esteem is very likely because of the emotional effects of the condition. It is very important for these kids to view themselves positively to be receptive to the teaching techniques their parents and teachers give them. Without self-esteem, these children are more likely to view their fight against their condition as futile, significantly slowing down progress.
Another advantage of caring for children with developmental disabilities in special education schools is the preparation they get for their future academic pursuits. Sure, physicians, therapists, and teachers can equip a child with the tools he needs for his future education in an academic institution, but their training would still be vastly different from the training a child would get in a special education school. Parents must not limit their vision to the present condition of their children. If progress is made, their children won’t be stuck in hospital environments forever. When they grow up, they would have to challenge other people in academic establishments which look nothing like state hospitals. Instead of beds, machines, doctors, and closed rooms, these schools have chairs, blackboards, teachers, and fellow students (Barton and Tomlinson, 1984, p. 243).
Without proper preparation for their future education in academic institutions, a child with developmental disability might find it hard to adjust to the new environment. They might be terrified of their classmates, teachers, and the whole academic setup. How do they answer the teacher’s questions? How do they communicate to their classmates? The child would have to confront questions like these all at once. If he’s not prepared to answer them because of his different background, then he might perform poorly or completely fail in school (Barton and Tomlinson, 1984, p. 243).
A child though, who got his training from a special education school would be no stranger to the academic environment. Although his previous school would have some differences from his present school, they would more or less have the same system of education. There would be teachers doing lectures and students would have to listen. The child will therefore find himself in a very familiar place. If he excelled in his previous special education school, then there is more reason to succeed in another school, too. Thus, proper preparation builds self-confidence that is necessary when the child finally goes out to challenge the real world. He’ll be able to compete with other children in such schools on more equal footing.
This is not to say, though, that state hospitals have no purpose to serve. State hospitals have equally beneficial functions to society. Then again, if it is about developing a child and teaching or managing people with developmental disabilities is the issue, then it is just right to leave state hospitals to where they should be – take charge of the sick and cure the illnesses of individuals. After all, a developmental disability is never a disease.
Barton, L. and S. Tomlinson. (1984). Special Education and Social Interests. Taylor and Francis.
Hill, L. (2005). Teaching as a Function of the State Hospital. Psychiatric Quarterly. Retrieved May 15, 2009 from http://www.springerlink.com/content/v6v7500314756548/fulltext.pdf?page=1.