Special Need Kids: Types, Overview and Definitions

Special Need Kids Types

When children have special needs, the family is at the center of their world. Acknowledging that these children may require more than what you are able to give them can be challenging.

There are many families who feel they should not be treated differently from their peers because they have a child with special needs.

Unfortunately, people with disabilities cannot always be helped through therapy alone and some need additional help from professionals.


Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of conditions that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. ASD affects about one in 50 children in the United States and about 1 out of 100 children worldwide.

The causes are not known, but it seems likely that both genetic and environmental factors play a role. Many people with ASD also have other mental health conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, or depression.

The symptoms of ASD typically begin before age 3 but can be diagnosed as early as 18 months.

They include:

Persistent deficits in social communication and reciprocal interactions across multiple contexts, such as failure to initiate or respond to social interactions; lack of sharing interests or emotions with others.

Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities that appear in the early years and typically continue into adulthood -Significant impairment in functioning and age-appropriate social skills.

Symptoms should be present in early childhood and cause significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.


Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are neurological conditions that affect the brain’s ability to process information. They can cause problems with intellectual abilities, academic achievement, and social skills.

Learning disabilities are not caused by mental illness or emotional problems—they’re disorders that affect the brain’s ability to process information.

Even though it may seem like children with learning disabilities have difficulties in school because they aren’t trying hard enough, this isn’t always true; some kids can be very bright but still struggle with reading or math because their brains aren’t working properly yet!


Speech and Language Disorders

Speech and language disorders are a group of disorders that affect the way a person speaks, listens, or uses language.

Speech and language disorders can occur at any age, but they are more common in children.

The following are types of speech and language problems:

  • Articulation disorder – Problems with the way you say words (for example, stammering) or how you pronounce them (for example, interrupting).


  • Fluency disorder – Problems with how quickly and easily you come up with words in conversation (fluent) versus problems speaking fluently without interruptions compared to others around you (disorderly). This could mean that someone who is fluent may have trouble finding words when they need them because their mind wanders too much or they’re thinking about something else before getting ready to speak; however, if someone has been diagnosed with this condition then there will be no doubt about its existence as opposed to other conditions such as dyslexia which may cause similar symptoms but does not necessarily indicate any particular diagnosis unless further testing reveals otherwise.”


Intellectual Disability

Intellectual disability, or ID, is the term used to describe a range of impairments that affect intellectual functioning.

Characterized by significant limitations in both social and academic areas, these disorders can be diagnosed from infancy through adulthood.

There are two main types of ID: developmental delay and intellectual disability (ID). Developmental delay refers to problems with motor skills, speech development, and language function—the ability to understand what you hear or say.

While ID refers to problems with thinking skills such as memory abilities or problem-solving abilities.

Both types may also include some learning disabilities such as dyslexia (difficulty reading) or dyscalculia (difficulty calculating).


Emotional Disturbances

Emotional disturbances include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders.

Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States, affecting more than 15 million adults each year. Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Having no energy * Sleeping too much or too little * Feeling restless or irritable

In addition to emotional issues like these, many children with autism have sensory processing disorders (SPDs), which can make it difficult for them to feel comfortable in their surroundings.

SPDs include problems with sensitivity to touch/pressure; hearing; vision; balance control/mobility issues such as tremors or seizures as well as gastrointestinal issues such as constipation/diarrhea.


Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a type of brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that can disrupt the normal function of the brain. TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe.

The most common causes of traumatic brain injuries include:

  • being hit in the head with an object such as a car door;
  • falling downstairs while carrying groceries;
  • being struck by an object such as a baseball bat during play or practice at school or work.


Hearing Impairments

Hearing impairments are a type of disability that can cause a person to have difficulty hearing or understanding what is being said.

It can be mild, moderate, or severe and be caused by genetic factors, environmental factors, or both.

  • Sensorineural – this means that the nerve cells in your ear cannot process sound properly due to damage to those nerves (e.g., deafness). This type of hearing impairment affects all aspects of life including communication with others across language barriers; understanding spoken instructions while doing physical tasks like dressing yourself; participating in conversations at home or work with family members who do not understand sign language because they don’t know ASL (American Sign Language).



Deafblindness is a very rare condition that affects approximately 2% of the population. It’s also known as “total deafness with blindness”; for this reason, it’s often referred to as TDB (deaf-blind).

There are many causes of deaf-blindness, including genetic mutations and birth defects like retinitis pigmentosa (RP), optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH), Stargardt disease, and Leber’s congenital amaurosis.

There may be some overlap between these conditions; however, they can be distinguished by their symptoms and treatments.

Most children diagnosed with childhood-onset RP will not go on to develop any other form of visual impairment later on in life; however, there are many ways to communicate with these kids so that they don’t feel left out or isolated from others around them.


Orthopedic Impairments

Orthopedic impairments are defined as any of the following:

  • Muscular dystrophies
  • Myopathies (muscle diseases)
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI)

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of rare inherited muscle diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. The most common form, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), affects approximately one in 3,500 boys in the U.S.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder that causes progressive muscle weakness and loss. It primarily affects boys, but can also affect girls. In most cases, children are diagnosed with DMD before age 5.

The condition causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. The disorder primarily affects boys, but can also affect girls. In most cases, children are diagnosed with DMD before age 5.



It is important to know the categories of special needs kids. With this knowledge, you will be able to identify what types of services are needed and where they can be provided.