They’re not the same: Different developmental disorders and unique special needs that arise from them
The biggest challenge that parents of most special needs children face, after admitting that their children are indeed not “normal”, but have some specials needs of their own, is to discern which developmental disorder is the special needs child suffering from.
In reality, all the four major developmental disorders have some very distinctive markers of their own, which can tell which disorder are your children dealing with, and the special needs that arise with the same.
Difference between Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome: And what special needs arise for children diagnosed with either
Both Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome cause hampered learning, speech and social development in a child. The primary symptoms of both are also very similar, but the similarity stops with the primary symptoms.
The severity is much lesser with Asperger’s than with Autism. While an autistic child nearly always struggles with language and cognition, a surprising majority of Asperger’s-suffering children don’t. In fact, a lot of them have a very diverse vocabulary, though they do struggle with language subtleties like irony and humor. Another difference between Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome is that while autistic children try to avoid social situations and show clear dislike towards making conversation, children with Asperger’s syndrome don’t- they want to communicate, to mix-up with people; they just don’t know how!!
When it comes to speech, most of the children with Asperger’s syndromeusually don’t have any major speech difficulties, though their style of speaking usually does stand out as being decidedly distinct- too loud, too quiet, rhythmic etc.
Lastly, while Autism may lead to intellectual disability as well, most children with Asperger’s syndrome don’t have any cognitive disabilities- and are usually above-average intelligent.
Special needs for Asperger’s Syndrome: social-communication skills, higher language skills, higher order thinking and emotional skills
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
With ADHD, unfortunately there’s no “cure” as such; but the symptoms- inattention, hyperactivity-impulsivity etc. - can be reduced and normal functioning can be improved. Most common special needs for children diagnosed with ADHD is what they lack in themselves- patience and persistence; unrelenting, unwavering, even in the face of their most erratic behavior.
That, along with psychotherapy, medication and education/training can help an ADHD person live as normal a life as their condition and own will power allows.
While cerebral palsy’s area of effect is mainly the muscles and nerves of the body instead of the person’s behavior, it’s still worth mentioning here due to high susceptibility of young children becoming victim of it.
Due to physical impairment and movement dysfunction- with no further damage to brain than the injury that caused it in the first place- children with cerebral palsy have a higher comprehension of “what’s wrong” with them.
The special need of children with cerebral palsy, therefore, is mostly the high amount of constant motivation and moral, social and psychological support, apart from the obvious physical support and physiotherapy to ease the condition.