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5 Common Types Of Special Needs Children

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 5, 2018 4:06:47 PM / by Teo Youliang Hakim

While many of us are aware of children with different types of special needs, do you know that they’re all not exactly the same? There are children who suffer from physical limitations, such as muscular dystrophy or chronic asthma, who completely differ from those facing developmental issues, such as autism and dyslexia.

There are various types of special needs that exist among many children in the world.

So how do you tell the difference between a child who suffers from autism, from another who struggles with ADHD? Well, here are five common types of special needs and point out the facts for you to know about.

1. Autism

Autism is defined as a developmental disability that persists through a person’s life, which affects their ability in making sense of things around them as well as communicating with other people. Common symptoms usually include intense reactions to sounds, smells and lights, delayed language development and a preference to be alone.

While autism may vary across each individual, depending on the severity of the disorder, it can be significantly reduced with early intervention from their caregivers. There are many programs that are focused in teaching the core missing skills from these autistic children, including social interaction, self-regulation and to be more independent learners. Mozart, the composer, and artist Andy Warhol were said to have autism. 


ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a medical condition where those afflicted suffer from differences of brain development that affect attention and self-control. Children with ADHD may find it much harder to wait, listen and follow directions, when compared to their peers. They also may be impulsive, rushing through things and making careless mistakes.

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As many young children are often restless and distractible by nature, parents shouldn’t be too quick to conclude that their child may have ADHD. However, if the medical condition is diagnosed early on, ADHD can be easily treated with a combination of medication, therapy and coaching. Some famous people with ADHD include Justin Timberlake, Jamie Oliver, and Michael Phelps.

3. Down Syndrome

Down syndrome occurs when an extra copy of chromosome is produced in an embryo, causing complications in the course of development and brings about certain physical characteristics that are common amongst afflicted children, such as flat noses, low muscle tone and small ears. Most of them will also display mild to moderate issues with their abilities in thinking and reasoning.

Down syndrome is one of the more popular types of special needs that caregivers encounter in children.

Down syndrome is a lifelong condition, which differs in each individual. Some may grow to eventually live independently, while others may need regular supervision from their caregivers. With early detection, treatment and therapy, children suffering from Down syndrome can slowly thrive in society without any significant problems. If you had watched the television show Glee, you might remember Lauren Potter who has Down syndrome.

4. Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that happens when a growing child sustains a brain injury, or suffers abnormal brain development. It can happen before, during or immediately after birth. Usual symptoms will include a wide range of loss in body movement, muscle control and coordination, as well as basic motor skills.

Where the brain damage done is permanent and will not heal over-time, the side effects of cerebral palsy can be managed by a combination of medications, therapies and assistive technology. Depending on the degree of the disorder, some children with cerebral palsy may go on to lead unassisted lives, while others may become bedridden and would require constant care. RJ Mitte, who plays Walter White Jr. on “Breaking Bad”, is mentioned to have cerebral palsy.

5. Epilepsy

Epilepsy stems off from neurological disorders that affect the central nervous system, which hampers the electric signals that the nerve cells use to control the body’s functions, senses and thoughts. This disorder can be brought upon by a severe head injury, meningitis, or genetics passed on by either parent.

Children with epilepsy are prone to seizures, which can include uncontrollable jerking movements, loss of consciousness or even unexplainable fear and anxiety. This can be controlled with a mixture of anti-epileptic drugs, dieting and surgery (if necessary). There may even be a chance for some children to naturally outgrow their epilepsy by their teenage years. Former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, author Charles Dickens and singer Susan Boyle had and have suffered from epilepsy.  

Hopefully, this article has clarified a few common types of special needs that we usually see amongst children. While there are still plenty of other medical conditions that we’ve not pointed out, the fact is that every special needs child is uniquely different in the way we approach and care for them.

And should you ever feel that you need assistance in caring for your own child who’s suffering from these medical conditions, don’t suffer in silence. We have babysitters who excel in taking care of children with special needs. Whether it’s from their own vast personal experience, or from specialized training, you can rest assured that your loved one will be in safe hands!

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Topics: Caring For Your Children

Teo Youliang Hakim

Written by Teo Youliang Hakim

A CaregiverAsia writer, Hakim loves nothing better than to spruce up informative content for the readers, especially if it helps to make the world a better place. Other than that, he also enjoys the occasional chocolate chip cookie or catching reruns of F.R.I.E.N.D.S on the telly!