Children Health

Ghana Help Out. The research article I found related to… | by Paige Griffith | Child & Adolescent Global Mental Health | Oct, 2021

Paige Griffith

The research article I found related to my project topic was:

“ Observation Report From Clinical Practice in Ghana: Children and Adolescent Depression.”

Their goal was: “to investigate learning disability cases that are seen in a psychological clinic in Ghana using a survey method.”

Here is what I learned.

Ever since the first president of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah said:

“Seek first the kingdom of education in Ghana and everything shall be added unto it,”

there’s been a rise in demand of higher education on children and adolescents. Now, this may sound like a good thing, and in some ways it’s a great thing to encourage children to partake in challenging academics that can ensure successful careers as adults, but for those who suffer from a learning disability, are neurodivergent, or just simply do not fit into the mold that higher education demands, this becomes detrimental.

The article states, “the high demands of academic performance on school children manifests as mental health symptoms.” The rise in expectations on children to perform better in schools is causing a rise in anxiety and depression cases in children and adolescents. Especially in children who have developmental differences and learning disabilities.

When examining the statistics, 58% of the cases of children with learning disabilities reported are due to environmental factors, making the remaining percentage of 42% caused by biological factors. Environmental factor examples are: “poor nutrition, poor environmental hygiene and overcrowding, untreated malaria resulting in convulsions, and substandard education.” Biological factors are: “birth complications, maternal alcohol intake during pregnancy, low birth weight, and bacterial infections during pregnancy.”

Only a quarter of parents who reported their child’s learning disability understood the cause.

As of 2016, 16% of school children had reported learning disabilities, but the rate is swiftly rising. The current statistics are showing that children of low income families are suffering more from learning difficulties and developmental delays than their richer counterparts. Their parents are not understanding. Many parents report that their child is not performing well in school, and give consent to the teachers to take extreme measures in ensuring their child is attentive and partaking in their academics. This can be anything from verbal abuse to physical, and is becoming a factor in the rise of anxiety and depression among students.

It is clear that the parents and children of Ghana are in need of support and understanding when it comes to developmental delays and learning disabilities in children and adolescents. Encouraging children to partake in higher education and work hard is the right idea, but the current way in which it is functioning is hurting rather than helping. To be informed of different developmental delays and learning disabilities, the causes of each delay whether it be biological or environmental, and understanding the individualistic nature of education and what each child needs is the next step.

That’s what is Ghana help out.

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