The term special needs is a catch-all phrase which can refer to a vast array of diagnoses and/or disabilities. Children with special needs may have been born with a syndrome, terminal illness, profound cognitive impairment, or serious psychiatric problems. Other children may have special needs that involve struggling with learning disabilities, food allergies, developmental delays, or panic attacks.
The designation “children with special needs” is for children who may have challenges which are more severe than the typical child, and could possibly last a lifetime. These children will need extra support, and additional services. They will have distinct goals, and will need added guidance and help meeting academic, social, emotional, and sometimes medical milestones. Persons with special needs may need lifetime guidance and support while dealing with everyday issues such as housing, employment, social involvement, and finances.
For children with special needs, early intervention[i] is an important step towards helping the child fulfill his or her full academic, emotional, and social potential. Early intervention refers to a process during which the developmental abilities of the child are evaluated. If necessary, a program is developed that contain services (individualized on the basis of the child’s specific needs) that will help to further enhance the child’s developmental skills and encourage developmental growth.
Typically, families with special needs are on a lifetime journey that is both emotionally and financially challenging. Families of children with special needs may experience a myriad of emotions upon diagnosis, including anger, grief, loss, and denial. It is important to remember to be patient with yourself, as these emotions are a natural part of the process. With time comes acceptance, and then you and your family can focus on beginning the process of helping your child with special needs achieve their fullest potential.
If you feel frustrated, worried, or simply aren’t sure of what to do next, we can provide assistance. M&L Special Needs Planning offer a number of difference services to help you and your family navigate the financial, legal and other steps involved with planning for the future for your family and your child with special needs. If you have any questions or require more information, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Parenting a Child with a Disability
Womenshealth.gov is a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services devoted to women’s health. Within this website, you can find information on raising a child with a disability. The site offers many resources and would be especially useful for a parent of a child who is newly diagnosed. Along with this is girlshealth.gov site for girls and young women with disabilities can read about how to live with their disabilities and famous people who also had disabilities.
[i] For more information on early intervention services in the Washington D.C. area, please visit the District of Columbia Central Directory of Early Intervention Resources. For more information on early intervention services statewide, please visit www.day2dayparenting.com.