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"Special Needs" is an umbrella underneath which a staggering array of diagnoses

can be wedged. Children with special needs may have mild learning disabilities or
profound cognitive impairment; food allergies or terminal illness; developmental
delays that catch up quickly or remain entrenched; occasional panic attacks or
serious psychiatric problems. The designation is useful for getting needed services,
setting appropriate goals, and gaining understanding for a child and stressed family. verywell | What are
Special Needs? | By Terri Mauro Updated May 27, 2016

A special education teacher is someone who works with children and youths who
have a variety of disabilities. Children with special needs require unique instruction
by specially trained professionals to help them achieve their highest potential and
strive to progress beyond their limitations. Special education teachers are patient,
understanding educators dedicated to giving each individual student the tools and
guidance needed to help them maximize success. sokanu | What

does a Special Education Teacher do? |
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a
group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are
characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal
and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013
publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were
merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized
as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative
disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-
NOS) and Asperger syndrome. | Autism Speaks |

While Cerebral Palsy (pronounced seh-ree-brel pawl-zee) is a blanket term commonly referred to
as CP and described by loss or impairment of motor function, Cerebral Palsy is actually caused
by brain damage. The brain damage is caused by brain injury or abnormal development of the
brain that occurs while a childs brain is still developing before birth, during birth, or
immediately after birth.

Cerebral Palsy affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex,
posture and balance. It can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor
Cerebral Palsy is the result of a brain injury or a brain malformation. Individuals with Cerebral
Palsy were most likely born with the condition, although some acquire it later.

It was once thought that Cerebral Palsy was caused by complications during the birthing process.
While this does happen, it is now widely agreed that birthing complications account for only a
small percentage, an estimated 10 percent, of Cerebral Palsy cases.

Current research suggests the majority of Cerebral Palsy cases result from abnormal brain
development or brain injury prior to birth or during labor and delivery. Accidents, abuse, medical
malpractice, negligence, infections, and injury are some known risk factors that may lead to
Cerebral Palsy. |

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects children and teens and can continue into
adulthood. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children. Children with
ADHD may be hyperactive and unable control their impulses. Or they may have trouble paying
attention. These behaviors interfere with school and home life. |
WebMD |


Global Developmental Delay (GDD) is the general term used to describe a condition that occurs
during the developmental period of a child between birth and 18 years. It is usually defined by
the child being diagnosed with having a lower intellectual functioning than what is perceived as
normal. It is usually accompanied by having significant limitations in communication. It is said
to affect about 1-3% of the population. Global
Developmental Delay |

Asperger syndrome: An autistic disorder most notable for the often great discrepancy between
the intellectual and social abilities of those who have it.

Asperger syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder that is characterized by an inability to

understand how to interact socially. Typical features of the syndrome also may include clumsy
and uncoordinated motor movements, social impairment with extreme egocentricity, limited
interests and unusual preoccupations, repetitive routines or rituals, speech and language
peculiarities, and non-verbal communication problems | | Definition

of Asperger Syndrome

What is a Learning Disability?

A learning disability is a neurological disorder. In simple terms, a learning disability results from
a difference in the way a person's brain is "wired." Children with learning disabilities are as
smart or smarter than their peers. But they may have difficulty reading, writing, spelling,
reasoning, recalling and/or organizing information if left to figure things out by themselves or if
taught in conventional ways.

A learning disability can't be cured or fixed; it is a lifelong issue. With the right support and
intervention, however, children with learning disabilities can succeed in school and go on to
successful, often distinguished careers later in life.

Parents can help children with learning disabilities achieve such success by encouraging their
strengths, knowing their weaknesses, understanding the educational system, working with
professionals and learning about strategies for dealing with specific difficulties. LD Online

What is Self-Care?
Self-care is an essential social work survival skill. Self-care refers to activities and practices that
we can engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance our short- and
longer-term health and well-being. Self-care is necessary for your effectiveness and success in
honoring your professional and personal commitments.
School of Social Work

Assistive devices and technologies are those whose primary purpose is to maintain or improve an
individuals functioning and independence to facilitate participation and to enhance overall well-
being. They can also help prevent impairments and secondary health conditions. Examples of
assistive devices and technologies include wheelchairs, prostheses, hearings aids, visual aids, and
specialized computer software and hardware that increase mobility, hearing, vision, or
communication capacities. In many low-income and middle-income countries, only 5-15% of
people who require assistive devices and technologies have access to them. Disability and rehabilitation

Definition of Disability for Children

Under the law, a child is considered disabled for SSI purposes if:

he or she has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment (or combination of

impairments); and

the impairment(s) results in marked and severe functional limitations; and

the impairment(s) has lasted (or is expected to last) for at least one year or to result in

What is a medically determinable physical or mental impairment?

To meet the statutory definition, a child's impairment(s) must result from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities that are demonstrable by medically acceptable
clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. The impairment(s) must be established by medical
evidence consisting of symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings, not only by a statement of
symptoms. | Social Security |

Medical/Professional Roles

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by

difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding
abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of
language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of
effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading
comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and
background knowledge. international Dyslexia Association

What Is Down Syndrome?

In every cell in the human body there is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes.
Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like
structures called chromosomes. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of
chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an
individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics
associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are
low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the
center of the palm - although each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may
possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all. national down syndrome society

Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle
mass. In muscular dystrophy, abnormal genes (mutations) interfere with the production of
proteins needed to form healthy muscle.

There are many different kinds of muscular dystrophy. Symptoms of the most common variety
begin in childhood, primarily in boys. Other types don't surface until adulthood.

Some people who have muscular dystrophy will eventually lose the ability to walk. Some may
have trouble breathing or swallowing.
20021240 | Mayo Clinic |

Pediatrics / Children's Health

Neurology / Neuroscience Bones / Orthopedics
Spina Bifida: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatments
Written by Christian Nordqvist
Knowledge center
Last updated: Fri 22 April 2016

Spina bifida is a congenital malformation (birth defect) in which there is something wrong
with the bone in the vertebral column, exposing the spinal cord which should be protected
within the vertebral column.

Spina bifida is caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube. The term "spina
bifida" comes from the Latin "spina" meaning "spine", and "bifida" meaning "split."

Habilitative/Habilitation Services

Health care services that help you keep, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily living.
Examples include therapy for a child who isn't walking or talking at the expected age. These
services may include physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and other
services for people with disabilities in a variety of inpatient and/or outpatient settings.

Rehabilitation is a treatment or treatments designed to facilitate the process of

recovery from injury, illness, or disease to as normal a condition as possible.

The purpose of rehabilitation is to restore some or all of the patient's physical,
sensory, and mental capabilities that were lost due to injury, illness, or disease.
Rehabilitation includes assisting the patient to compensate for deficits that cannot
be reversed medically. It is prescribed after many types of injury, illness, or disease,
including amputations, arthritis, cancer, cardiac disease, neurological problems,
orthopedic injuries, spinal cord injuries, stroke, and traumatic brain injuries. The
Institute of Medicine has estimated that as many as 14% of all Americans may be
disabled at any given time.