Children with Special Needs and Their Families
Children with special needs and their families must often face greater challenges than other families. Therefore, these families require additional support.
Some children, given a specific situation or condition that affects them, have unique and special needs. Therefore, they require special care and attention. In some cases, these special needs have to do with their health. However, children with special needs also include those with learning disabilities, children who have experienced trauma, those with developmental delays, etc.
What children require special care?
Any boy or girl who presents a particular condition has the right to receive special care. Furthermore, the variability of groups with special needs is truly broad.
For example, the term refers to children with learning disabilities and those who require special educational attention. But it also refers to children who require special care when it comes to their health.
As for the latter, this refers to children who are born with cognitive deterioration, a syndrome, or a chronic or terminal illness. According to Eliane Tatsh, Ivone Evangelista and Andressa da Silveira, these children demand constant care – whether temporarily or permanently. Furthermore, they depend on multiple social and health services.
Support recommendation for families
American psychologist Nicholas Martin interviewed support groups composed by families of children with special needs. He asked these parents what the best resources were, with a reasonable cost, for the care of their children.
Below are the recommendations that stand out the most:
- Parent cooperatives. Search for information and find existing associations and support networks in your area that offer help.
- Respite. Some agencies offer this type of service for families that need short periods of rest.
- Specialized daycares that are qualified to take care of children who require special care.
Special Education for children with special needs
The first time that the concept of students with special educational needs was defined was in the Warnock Report. This report, elaborated by the British Commission on Education, recognizes that these students experience difficulties in learning. Therefore, they require special education resources to meet these needs.
That said, this concept alludes to the distinct performance that students who need special education present. This may be inferior or superior to the majority of the group.
However, just as psychologists Mónica Montes and María Auxilio Castro explain, the educative process of these students develops based on their abilities and possibilities. In other words, special education doesn’t focus on a child’s limitations.
According to Montes y Castro, the concept of students with special needs contributes to the reconsideration of students with difficulties. Therefore, the intervention that takes place with these students focuses on their curricular competencies, not on their disabilities.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
– Quote attributed to Albert Einstein –
Children with special needs and incidences of bullying
According to the World Health Organization, children with special needs are often victims of bullying. In fact, the WHO states that children with disabilities are four times more likely to suffer acts of violence than those who aren’t disabled. These children are among the groups that most suffer from bullying. And, according to the WHO, the most common risk factors are:
- Social stigma.
- Ignorance regarding disability.
- Lack of support for caregivers.
Finally, it’s a fact that children who require special care face great challenges, as do their families and caregivers. Therefore, they should receive the necessary support to help them in their daily lives. Their support system should facilitate the development of these children to their maximum potential and offer them a better quality of life.