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How to know if your child has special needs – Times of India

There are many types of special needs that are visible when you see a child. But there are some, where we need to look keenly for signs that may be indicative of a problem that needs our intervention.

Disabilities like visual impairments, cerebral palsy, hearing impairments may be easier to detect. But learning disabilities like dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, autism and attention deficit disorder may be harder to detect at first.

Every child is different and develops at his own pace, but there are key milestones that are important to monitor. Language, motor development and sensory delays could be identified in the first year of the child’s life.

Headbanging, self-biting and other inappropriate reactions to situations can give you an indication of possible behavioural issues.

Here are a few signs and symptoms that can throw light on the possibility of special education needs. These are just a few indicators that if noticed often over an extended period of time should be further investigated.

The disabilities that are most difficult to identify is attention deficit disorder. That is the reason they are known as hidden disabilities.

Indicators of attention deficit disorders include:

– Failing to pay attention to details, sustain attention over activities including play. Not listening when spoken to directly.

– If the child is not able to follow instructions and fails to finish academic work, basic chores and responsibilities. He may struggle with organisational skills.

– Ignoring the tasks that require sustained attention and concentration. Being forgetful, showing carelessness and getting easily distracted.

– Talking too much, fidgetiness and difficulty with quiet play.

– Interrupting conversations, not being able to wait for their turn, saying answers out of their turn. The child seems to be constantly ‘on the go’.

– Difficulty in learning language and child’s inability to read age-appropriate material, spelling skills or oral language that are not matched to an expected age or grade level.

– Children who have other members in the family who have difficulty in reading, writing and spelling should be monitored closely.

– The discrepancy between a child’s oral expression and written expression can be a possible indicator of dysgraphia.

– Math-based difficulties can be identified by difficulty in learning to count and recognising numbers. Recognising patterns is difficult, losing track while counting and estimation of time is also a challenge.

– Strule to process visual-spatial concepts including charts and graphs and other math pictorial representation.

Be it any problem, the key to early detection and better prognosis is early intervention. The faster we identify, accept and seek help, the better it is for our child and us.

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