Officially speaking…

Wikipedia states:

… Special needs is a term used in clinical diagnostic and functional development to describe individuals who require assistance for disabilities that may be medical, mental, or psychological.

Types of special needs vary in severity. People with autism, Down syndromedyslexia, blindness, ADHD or cystic fibrosis, for example, may be considered to have special needs. However, special needs can also include cleft lips and/or palates, port-wine stains, or missing limbs.

Developmental disability is a diverse group of chronic conditions that are due to mental and/or physical impairments. Developmental disabilities cause individuals living with them many difficulties in certain areas of life, especially in “language, mobility, learning, self-help, and independent living”.[1]Developmental disabilities can be detected early on, and do persist throughout an individual’s lifespan.

Most common developmental disabilities:

  • Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is thought to cause autism and intellectual disability, usually among boys.
  • Down syndrome is a condition in which people are born with an extra chromosome. Normally a person is born with 46 chromosomes. However, if they’re born with Down syndrome, they have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes. This extra copy changes the body’s and brain’s normal development and causes mental and physical struggles for the individual.
  • Pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. FASDs are 100% preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy.
  • Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood.[1]
  • Intellectual disability is defined as an IQ below 70 along with limitations in adaptive functioning and onset before the age of 18 years.[2]

Unofficially…

kids-1

LIAM & ROSIE (entertaining each other)

I have heard of the debate about autism v aspergers. The debate is whether to no longer diagnose people as aspergers, and instead simply diagnose people all as “autistic”.

I personally find this very troubling. Firstly it is hard enough explaining to people what aspergers is, or autism is – to say they are the same condition only confuses people, because they are SO different.

My son Liam is diagnosed aspergers, and he has his problems, BUT he will go on to buy a house one day, learn to drive, marry, have kids, be an architect, all his dreams can be fulfilled.

My daughter Rosie (diagnosed autistic) on the other hand, doesn’t even dream like that – so realising her dreams doesn’t even come into the equation.

Why would you diagnose them the same? For funding? maybe. But in real life I think we can try a bit harder.

To me this is like diagnosing a broken leg as cancer. Ridiculous.