The Special Child

There are many reasons why a child may need more care and attention than his peers. Your child may have a chronic condition, such as asthma; a learning disorder, such as dyslexia; a developmental disorder, such as autism; or he may simply be very advanced for his years.

Whatever the case, he’ll need extra support and consideration in order to maximize his potential. This may take the form of special medical treatment, home care, or special education. This care is as important for a very bright child who might outstrip older siblings, and even parents, as it is for the child with learning difficulties.

Early identification of special needs is very important. A severe condition such as cerebral palsy will be apparent soon after birth, but others such as dyslexia, can go unnoticed for years. Never be afraid to act on your suspicions; seek professional advice if you’re at all worried and make sure you seek out specialist help. The better informed you are, the more you can do to help and support your child.

Although all children develop at different rates, and the range of what doctors and psychologists consider “normal” is wide, a small number fall at either end of the developmental spectrum. At one end are children who are unusually advanced for their age in both motor and intellectual skills; at the other end are children who haven’t acquired basic skills such as language, and children who learn very slowly. In between are children with developmental or learning disorders such as autism and dyslexia.

Perhaps, surprisingly, very advanced children have similar needs to children who have a learning disorder – lots of stimulation, attention, and love. You might say that all children need these things, and you’d be right, What I’m meaning to say is that without them, children with special needs will suffer more. If such children do not receive the correct stimulation, they may not turn out to be “just average”;they could develop serious behavioural problems.

Recognizing the signs

The monitoring of a child’s growth development, and behaviour may involve a number of people, including your doctor and as well as a paediatrician and you.

If your child does have special needs, an early diagnosis is very important so that he can heave the right help. Some learning disorders are difficult to spot, especially if they are characterized by behaviour that may be considered positive, such as quietness, little crying, or excessive sleeping.

Autistic children, for example, are often described by their parents as well-behaved before other signs of their illness emerge. A gifted child, on the other hand, may be disruptive and not do well at school, making it hard for parentsing and teachers to recognize his potential.

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