The term, sprecial-needs children is defined as children whose developmental and/or behavior requires help or intervention beyond the scope of the ordinary classroom or adult interactions. About 15 to 20 percent of all children in the United States will exhibit some form of atypicall development and need special services (Bee, 1995). These children include children with learning disabilities (LD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Down Syndrome children, physically and mentally disabled children and gifted children.
Children with learning disabilities may have poor memory skills, trouble following directions, eye-hand cordination problems and trouble with distinguishing between letters, numbers and sounds.
There is no scientific explanation why children have learning disabilities, but some experts believe the cause may be due to slight brain damage.
ADHD affects up to 5 percent of children up to the age of 18(Walls, 1994. When hyperactivity components are not present, it is diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD. Children with ADHD are prone to restlessness, anxiety, short attention ps and impulsiveness. They have trouble listening, remaining seated, interacting with other people and are easily distracted. A child with ADHD will show extreme symptoms, usually before the age of 7.
The most common medication for children with ADHD is an amphetamine called Ritalin, which produces a paradoxical effect. The speed stimulates the cerebral cortex, allowing the brain to manage incoming sensory information efficently. Ritalin is very controversial since the side effects can be quite serious, such as inhibiting growth.
Down Syndrome is one of the most common and easily determined forms of mental retardiation. It affects 1 in 100 births among women under the age of 35 and 5 per 100 of woman over 40.
Down Syndrome, formerly called mongolism, is caused by a chromosal abnomality. The affected individual has 47 chromosomes in all body cells instead of the normal 46.
There is no treatment for Down Syndrome, but better medical care, which has resulted in an almost normal life p compared to the previous life expectancy of 14 years.
A disabled child is a child with physical, mental or sensory impairment that makes performing everyday tasks more difficult. In the early 1980’s, it was estimated that 9 to 10 percent of the United States population was diabled in some way.
Until the second half of the 20th century, it was rare to find simple recognition that aside from the specific diability, disabled children have the same needs, interest and abilities as mainstream children. In schooling, the federal law now gurantees a free fit education to all handicapped children, regardless of the severity of their handicap.
Gifted children are children who have unusually high intelligence. They generally have long attention ps, learn quickly, good memories
and have a wider range of vocabulary thatn their peers. Gifted children usually tend to be bored with activities based for children their own age. Children who score between 130-150 on the standard IQ tests have traditionally been classified as gifted. These children come from all social, economic and ethnic backgrounds. There are many concerns that the majority of these children are being overlooked, since a lot of them are not given the same opportunities, attention and support as the child who is raised in the “All-American Family”.
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