Pain Assessment and Management in Infants and Young Children with Developmental Disabilities

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Developmental disabilities associated with a variety of motor, cognitive, language, and social barriers may limit effective, timely communication of pain. Thus infants and young children with disabilities may be highly vulnerable to unrecognized and poorly treated pain. At the very least, pain should be expected to be at least as common if not more frequent a part of the life of a child with a disability, thus making its recognition and management urgent tasks. The assessment and management of pain are challenging and require a multidisciplinary approach that combines a number of techniques. Future efforts need to be directed toward increasing professional awareness about pain, establishing practice guidelines, and undertaking applied and basic research in this field.

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