Awareness: Common Disabilities
Among Children               [Main Story]


Autism Spectrum Disorder
—A broad term of diagnoses for autism, pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), Asperger’s syndrome, and Rett syndrome. Children with this condition may have delayed and/or limited social skills and language; they also may be overly sensitive to sound and light and be resistant to change.

Behavioral Disorders—A broad term for conditions that generally arise from chemical imbalances. The most common behavioral disorder is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), which causes constant movement and an inability to focus on a task. An older term for AD/HD but one still often used is “attention-deficit disorder,” or “ADD.”
 
Bipolar Disorder (BP)—An emotional disorder marked by manic-depressive swings, anxiety and anger issues that interfere with positive interaction with peers or family. BP can be detrimental to a child’s self-esteem, success, and academic achievement; and a child with BP can become dangerous to him- or herself or to others.
 
Cerebral Palsy (CP)—A condition characterized by the inability to control muscular movements due to either damage to or faulty development of the motor controls of the brain. This is not one specific disease; rather, it is a group of disabling conditions that all contribute to lack of muscle control. CP can cause uncontrolled movement of limbs, head, and eyes and can cause poor balance.
 
Developmental/Cognitive Disabilities—A category that includes mental retardation, slow learners, Down syndrome, and fetal alcohol syndrome. Difficulties in basic thinking and learning may be moderate, severe, or profound.
 
Dyslexia—A learning disability involving reading, writing, and spelling. Children with dyslexia confuse sounds and see words backwards or in the wrong order. Many are gifted in other areas such as art, music, and athletics.
 
Emotional Disorders—See behavioral disorders.
 
Epilepsy—A condition of the brain characterized by recurrent seizures. It affects 2 percent of the population, but the prognosis is good when children adhere to prescribed treatment.

Head Injury—Damage to the brain caused by sudden trauma. It can be mild with no lasting effect or so severe that a person may be left in a vegetative state. The severity and location of the injury and the age and general health of the individual will determine if the individual will have any lasting disability.
 
Hearing Impairment—A condition that prevents full use of the sense. It can be partial or total in degree and may occur at birth or later in life. Causes include birth defects, disease, trauma, accident, and aging.
 
Language Impairment—See speech and language impairments.
 
Muscular Dystrophy (MD)—A disease in which the voluntary muscles gradually weaken and degenerate. The muscles appear normal, but internally they are wasting away. In the disease’s early stages a child with MD uses crutches; eventually a wheelchair is needed, and ultimately the person with MD is confined to bed. MD strikes children during early childhood and shortens life spans.
 
Speech and Language Impairments—A category of conditions of delayed oral motor function ranging from simple sound sub-
stitution to the inability 
to understand or use 
language.
 
Spina Bifida—A condition in which the bones that cover and protect the spinal cord fail to develop fully, causing difficulty with walking and an inability for lower extremities to sense pressure, friction, heat, or cold; also results in an inability to control bladder and bowel function.
 
Spinal Cord Injury—A condition caused by a fracture or compression of the vertebrae that results in paralysis. A paraplegic is a person who is paralyzed from the waist down. A quadriplegic is a person who has paralysis in all four limbs.
 
Stroke—Sudden damage to the brain due to a lack of oxygen because blood flow to the brain has been interrupted. Strokes range from being so slight that they go unnoticed to so severe that they result in death. A child who has suffered a stroke may exhibit a wide range of needs, depending on the stroke’s severity and the side of the brain injured.
 
Visual Impairments—See hearing impairment.

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From Special Needs Smart Pages: Advice, Answers & Articles About Ministering to Children With Special Needs, created by Joni and Friends.





 
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