Parent's Corner


Disability Categories


The following links have been gathered from a variety of Web sources and are organized by disability. The links consist of information and ideas that can assist you and your special needs child at home and in school.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Children with ADHD/ADD have average to above-average intelligence, and exhibit characteristics such as impatience, restlessness, insecurity, and boredom.   In addition, they may also have difficulty managing time and setting priorities.

Autism: Autism is a disability syndrome characterized principally by significant problems in the development of communication and social functioning. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) encompasses a broad definition of autism that includes related disabilities such as Asperger Syndrome, Rett's Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

Blind and Low Vision:   The definition of legal blindness covers a broad spectrum of visual impairments.   The major challenge facing visually impaired children is the overwhelming mass of visual material to which they are continually exposed to at home, school and in the community.   In addition, the increase in the use of films, videotapes, computers, laser disks, and television adds to the volume of visual material to which they have only limited access.   Overcoming a child's visual limitation requires unique and individual strategies based on that child's particular visual impairment and his/her skill of communication (e.g., Braille, speed listening, etc.).

Cerebral Palsy : CP is caused by an injury to the motor center of the brain, which may have occurred before, during or shortly after birth.    Manifestations may include involuntary muscle contractions, rigidity, spasms, poor coordination, poor balance or poor spatial relations.   Visual, auditory, speech, hand-function and mobility problems may occur.   Some children with CP can have mental retardation or learning disabilities too.   Those severely affected may need to use a wheelchair, while those mildly affected may have no physical manifestations at all.

Emotional/Behavior Disorders: Children with emotional or behavioral disorders can be special challenge for parents.   Identifying and understanding the special needs of a children who has such a disorder plays a critical part in designing an appropriate program for that child and in providing needed emotional and behavioral supports.

Hard of Hearing, Deaf and Deaf-Blind: Children who are hard of hearing have residual hearing.   To understand speech they use speechreading, which alone only allows about 30% understanding.   They may also use hearing aids and/or other assistive devices.   Students who are deaf may communicate using American Sign Language (ASL) and they may need interpreters for important events. Deaf-Blind children may use hearing aids/auditory devices, Braille, hand spelling, and other adaptive devices to communicate and acquire information.

Mental Retardation and Cognitive Delays : MR and Cognitive delays are a term used when a student has certain limitations in mental functioning, skills such as communicating, and social skills. These limitations will cause a child to learn and develop more slowly than a typical child.   Children with mental retardation may take longer to learn to speak, walk, and take care of their personal needs such as dressing or eating.   They are likely to have trouble learning in school.   They will learn, but it will take them longer.   There may be some things they cannot learn.

Physical Disabilities: Physical disabilities encompass a wide-range of abilities.   It is difficult to generalize accommodations for all children with physical disabilities.   Children with specific motor impairments may use canes, scooters, wheelchairs, braces, or crutches to assist in mobility.

Specific Learning Disability: Learning disabilities result from neurological differences that may alter an individual's ability to store, process, retrieve, or produce information.   Some children with learning disabilities may have difficulty in only one of these areas others may have difficulty in more than one .   Children with learning disabilities generally have average or better than average intelligence. These children often accommodate their disability by determining the ways they process and/or express information best and focusing on those.

Speech and Language Impairment : Speech and language disorders refer to problems in communication and related areas such as oral motor function.   These delays and disorders range from simple sound substitutions to the inability to understand or use language or use the oral-motor mechanism for functional speech. Some causes of speech and language disorders include hearing loss, neurological disorders, brain injury, mental retardation, and physical impairments such as cleft lip or palate. Frequently, however, the cause is unknown.

Other Disabilities and Resources:

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