If you suspect your child has special needs, the first thing to do is make an appointment with a pediatrician or family doctor. They can help rule out any medical issues that may be causing your child’s symptoms and can refer you to a specialist if they believe it is necessary. You can also request a referral to a developmental pediatrician or another specialist if you feel your child would benefit from one.
In the laws and rights section, you can find information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), how to file an ADA complaint, and how to get government benefits if you have a disability.
In the specific disorders section, you can find information about ADHD/ADD, anxiety disorder, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy (CP), depression, Down syndrome (DS), dyslexia (also called reading disorder), epilepsy/seizure disorder, lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE), multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease (PD), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), schizophrenia spectrum disorder, sickle cell disease (SCD), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all treatment option for kids with special needs. The type of treatment your child receives will depend on their individual needs, their age, and the severity of their condition. If your child does have special needs, there are several different types of therapy options available to help them learn how to function in society despite those challenges.
If the person with special needs is a minor, there are many government-provided options available. The local school system will be able to provide resources for in-school and out-of-school support, such as tutoring services, after-school programs, and summer camp programs. If your child has special medical needs, you can also contact your local hospital or doctor’s office to learn about possible programs that may be helpful.
For adults with special needs, daytime activity centers (sometimes known as adult daycare centers) are a great way to provide a safe environment for socialization and fun while allowing caregivers to work during the day without worrying about their loved one falling into trouble. Finding housing can be a challenge if your loved one cannot live independently. Local churches may have resources available for finding a room or apartment share with other adults with special needs, or you can contact your local chapter of Habitat for Humanity (or other similar programs) to find out if they have any possibilities for building an accessible home in your area.
One of the most important steps in designing a school curriculum is to evaluate all students’ needs. This is a general best practice when it comes to education, as well as being required by law. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all children with special needs are entitled to receive an individualized education that meets their specific requirements.
While there are many classrooms where special education is not needed, every teacher should be familiar with these laws and practices regardless. Not only will you be prepared in case a student on your case load develops special needs during the course of their time with you, but you’ll also be ready should you ever have to teach at a school that specializes in inclusive classrooms.