‘Special needs’ is an umbrella term that refers to an array of diagnoses and disabilities. It is used to identify mental, physical or psychological disabilities that affect a person’s function and behaviour.

Children with disabilities may have a mild learning condition to a severe illness. Because of this, they may need extra support, guidance and care to meet their educational, social, emotional and medical needs.

As the term ‘special needs’ is broad, some people do not completely understand what it means. To give you a clearer picture, here are the different types of special needs.

Sensory impairment

This refers to children who have lost or impaired one of their sensory organs. Because of this condition, they have difficulties in seeing, hearing, speaking or smelling. While most of these conditions can be treated and rehabilitated, some may last a lifetime and may require therapy, as well as continuous support.

Learning disability

A child with a learning disability has problems in dealing with cognitive processes. This interferes in learning basic skills such as reading, writing and solving mathematical problems, as well as higher-level skills like organisation, abstract reasoning and long-term memory. Some conditions under the learning disability banner are dyslexia (difficulty reading) and dyscalculia (trouble with maths). These learning disorders are often hard to spot and diagnose.

Developmental disability

This includes delayed or abnormal development. It is usually lifelong and can affect a person’s everyday living. Conditions may include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome and Rett Syndrome, which are caused by genetic or chromosomal abnormalities. Children with these disabilities need to undergo physical, speech and occupational therapy.

Behavioural issues

Children dealing with behavioural issues are difficult, challenging and don’t respond to the typical forms of care and discipline. These are probably results of some stressors, which may include disruptive family dynamics. Conditions such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), CD (Conduct Disorder) and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) are some of its examples.

Mental and psychological disorder

Some intellectual disabilities may include delayed mental development. They can be diagnosed easily once the symptoms have appeared. Meanwhile, psychological disorders such as anxiety, chronic depression and mood swings are difficult to detect.

Medical conditions

Children with medical conditions experience extremely poor health, resulting in prolonged hospital stays and continuous medication. Some chronic conditions include heart disease, muscular dystrophy and cancer while congenital conditions involve cerebral palsy and cleft palate. They heavily affect one’s normal childhood and take a toll on both parents and children.

While these conditions differ from one another, the needs of children with disabilities are all similar. They need to have the right kind of support, schooling and home environment to help them achieve their full potential.

For comprehensive, high-quality childcare services, our specially trained staff can handle the needs of your loved ones. With over 25 years’ experience, Caremark provides high standards of care in the home. We prioritise the safety and well-being of our clients who need some assistance in their everyday living. For all your home care needs, please contact us on 1800 844414 or email us at info@caremark.ie.