Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Children With Special Needs

What about children with special needs?

Between 5 and 20% of children have special needs. The disability may range from a physical disability through a specific medical condition or illness, to developmental delay or a mental disorder. The disability may be visible or invisible (e.g. epilepsy). It may be apparent at birth or emerge as the child grows older. Or it may come later as a result of an injury or illness. Its cause may be known (e.g. genetic) or as is the case with many children with developmental problems, its cause may be speculative (e.g. environmental) or unknown.

What’s involved in parenting a child with special needs?

The demands on parents vary according to the nature of the disability. Many parents of children with special needs say the experience has enriched their lives in many ways. Nonetheless most parents with special needs children face additional challenges to those faced by parents raising children without special needs. These include:

What is "inclusion" and why is it important?

Inclusion means removing barriers and providing supports in order to allow children with disabilities to participate in all aspects of life to the best of their abilities. This is important because:

What can friends, extended family, neighbours do?

What can professionals do?

What can employers do?

What can governments do?

To think about:

"This experience we did not choose, which we would have given anything to avoid, has made us different, has made us better. Through it we have learned the lesson of Sophocles and Shakespeare, that one grows by suffering. And that too is Jessy’s gift. I write now what 15 years past I would still not have thought possible to write; that if today I was given the choice, to accept the experience, with everything that it entails, or to refuse the bitter largesse, I would have to stretch out my hands – because out of it has come, for all of us, an unimagined life. And I will not change the last word of the story. It is still love." (Park, 1988)