Special Needs Children Cleveland OH
Mental Health Professional
Rocky River, OH
Doctoral Program: Wright St U
Credentialed Since: 2008-10-22
Rocky River, OH
Individual Psychotherapy, Mood Disorder (e.g., depression, manic-depressive disorder), Anxiety Disorder (e.g., generalized anxiety, phobia, panic or obsessive-compulsive disorder), Play Therapy, Psychological Assessment
Children (3-12 yrs.)
Adolescents (13-17 yrs.)
Adults (18-64 yrs.)
Doctoral Program: Kent State University
Credentialed Since: 1996-03-14
Rocky River, OH
Special Needs Children
The term “special needs” is actually an umbrella for children who, in a manner of speaking, cannot do some things other children can due to some medical reasons. Many may think that all special needs children are all mentally challenged, but that’s not exactly the case. Usually, special needs children have severe developmental problems, have terminal illnesses, have food allergies, and have learning disabilities. These conditions do not allow the children to do the things that other children do, requiring them to take treatments and medication that many children do not need.
However, unknown to many, the term “special needs” can actually be taken literal. Indeed, special needs children can simply be children with, obviously, special needs. These disorders or disabilities may not be as severe as terminal illnesses or mental problems, but these conditions place them outside the peripheries of the normal. For instance, children on wheelchairs are special needs children because they are unable to walk, which is something others can do. Diseases and ailments that adults may consider normal (or at least usual, although nonetheless serious, of course) such as diabetes or heart diseases can place a child into the special needs category because it requires them to take medications other children do not need.
One definition puts it as this way: the term “special needs” is something that defines a child according to what he cannot do. Needless to say, it is difficult, regardless of how seemingly minor the children illness is. It doesn’t matter if the child has a disease or the child is mentally challenged. The bottom line is, special needs situation is difficult. It requires the full attention of the parent, not to mention the love and patience they need to practice.
Strictly speaking, however, children can classify into the “special needs” category based on four criteria: medical, behavioral, developmental, and learning issues.
The medical criteria, of course, include the presence of children ailment. If a child has conditions such as cancer, heart dysfunctions, and other serious health threats, he can be considered a special needs child. However, this seems to be only the middle ground, as children with chronic conditions (such as asthma) and children with unusual ailments such as dwarfism are also part of this category. Due to the fight as obesity, obese children are also “special needs” children due to medical issues.
Children with Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, and several similar others are special needs children due to behavioral problems. Of course, it goes without saying that the behavioral problems are induced by medical conditions. Constant tantrums and difficulty in making a child follow orders are behavioral problems. But if there are no underlying medical cause, then they are just behavioral problems. Developmental and learning disabilities are perhaps the most difficult to deal with, since they immediately hinder the child from doing what they could do. Autism, mental retardation, dyslexia, and other similar conditions are among the issues in these two criteria.
In addition, mental health problems can also place a child in the “special needs” umbrella. If the child is suffering from anxiety or depression, he is part of the classification of “special needs.”
Raising a special needs child can be difficult for many reasons. For one, raising a special needs child require significant funds. You need to constantly buy medication in order to sustain the health of your child. It also requires parents to provide their children special education (this is especially true for children with developmental and learning issues). But more than that, it requires intense preparation and overall care. These special needs children may not be able to take care of themselves properly in the future—at least depending on the issues involved.
What should parents do when taking care of special needs children? Of course, beyond the usual medical measures, there is one thing parents should make sure of: prepare their children to become independent, even to a certain degree. After all, as a parent of a special needs child, you can’t expect to be beside your child all the time. You need to teach your child to become independent and fend for himself during certain situations.
What many fail to realize, however, is the stress and the anxiety that parents experience when they find their child is a special needs child. In this case, you need to remember that your child remains to be your child—and you should love him unconditionally. This may seem difficult to do and internalize especially during high pressure situations, but this is exactly what a parent should do. Being a parent of a special needs child will be difficult and stressful, the degree of which will depend on the severity of the situation. However, he is still part of your life.
Also, remember that there is also hope. There is always a possible cure and solution. Of course, do not mistake bullheadedness and stupidity as hope. Act according to logic. Remember that each child in a special needs situation is different, and what happened to someone may or may not happen to your child. This is only an indication that you shouldn’t lose hope and that you should fight to make your child’s life better.
Of course, you may want to consider a second opinion, especially if you have some doubts regarding the diagnosis. While some children ailments can easily determined by tests, some are still quite speculative. A second (or even third, if you have the funds for it) opinion would, at the very least, dispel any doubts you have.
If you feel incredibly bad about it, there’s nothing wrong about mourning. However, you cannot mourn forever; your child needs you, after all. After mourning, you need to get back to action, so to speak.
Remember: you are not alone in this. Try joining support groups with parents of special needs children to get all the help and support you can get. Again, it’ll be difficult but it’s not impossible. And, of course, you’ll do the impossible for your child.