Early Childhood Intervention: Module Two – Special Needs & Conditions

Category — 2.3 Children who are Neglected

Children who are Neglected

The development of children who are neglected is impacted in a very negative way. If a child is not given proper nutrition he or she will not grow to his or her full potential. The child  may lack important nutrients to develop the brain, bones and muscles and he or she will be hungry and prone to sickness and infections. Neglect also may mean the child is not given the proper medical attention when needed, such a dental care or health care. These children may be sick more often, for longer periods of time, or do not have the regular care of a doctor. Children’s emotional needs are also neglected when they feel that they are not valued or wanted, or not loved.

A child who is neglected may spend a lot of his or her time and energy just wondering what will happen next. He or she is focused on just surviving and is not able to put energy into exploring and learning about the world. This will affect his or her cognitive and communication development.


Neglect occurs when the child’s basic needs aren’t being met. Physical neglect may involve inadequate food, clothing, shelter, cleanliness, medical care and protection from harm. Emotional neglect occurs when a child’s need to feel loved, wanted, safe and worthy is not met.

Intervention Options

As the child is raised within the context of a family, it is important take the entire family system into consideration.

First remove the child from harm and get the unmet needs met. If the child is without adequate shelter find shelter the following may be of help:

  • Food banks
  • Clothing exchanges
  • Free medical and dental care

It is important to determine if the adults in the child’s life are both willing and able to protect the child from harm and to determine if the harm from within the family or external. There may be barriers for the adults in the child’s life that may need to be addressed. Different interventions are required depending on the issues.

To learn about the impact of neglect in the middle childhood years, please visit the six to 12 part of this course.

February 12, 2011   No Comments