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Special needs

Special needs

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In the USA, 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. For instance, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders...

 and the International Classification of Diseases
ICD
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems is a medical classification that provides codes to classify diseases and a wide variety of signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or disease...

 9th edition both give guidelines for clinical diagnosis. People with Autism
Autism
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their...

, Down syndrome
Down syndrome
Down syndrome, or Down's syndrome, trisomy 21, is a chromosomal condition caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome. It is named after John Langdon Down, the British physician who described the syndrome in 1866. The condition was clinically described earlier in the 19th...

, dyslexia
Dyslexia
Dyslexia is a very broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read, and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, or rapid...

, blindness
Blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

, or cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a recessive genetic disease affecting most critically the lungs, and also the pancreas, liver, and intestine...

, for example, may be considered to have special needs.

In the UK, Special needs often refers to special needs within an educational context. This is also referred to as special educational needs (SEN).

More narrowly, it is a legal term applying in foster care
Foster care
Foster care is the term used for a system in which a minor who has been made a ward is placed in the private home of a state certified caregiver referred to as a "foster parent"....

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, derived from the language in the Adoption and Safe Families Act
Adoption and Safe Families Act
The Adoption and Safe Families Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 19, 1997 after having been approved by the United States Congress earlier in the month....

 of 1997. It is a diagnosis used to classify child
Child
Biologically, a child is generally a human between the stages of birth and puberty. Some vernacular definitions of a child include the fetus, as being an unborn child. The legal definition of "child" generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority...

ren as needing "more" services than those children without special needs who are in the foster care system. It is a diagnosis based on behavior
Behavior
Behavior or behaviour refers to the actions and mannerisms made by organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with its environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment...

, childhood and family history
Family history
Family history is the systematic narrative and research of past events relating to a specific family, or specific families.- Introduction :...

, and is usually made by a health care
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

 professional.

U.S. special needs adoption statistics


In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, more than 150,000 children with special needs are waiting for permanent homes. Traditionally, children with special needs have been considered harder to place for adoption
Adoption
Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the original parent or parents...

 than other children, but experience has shown that many children with special needs can be placed successfully with families who want them. The Adoption and Safe Families Act
Adoption and Safe Families Act
The Adoption and Safe Families Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 19, 1997 after having been approved by the United States Congress earlier in the month....

 of 1997 (P.L. 105-89) has focused more attention on finding homes for children with special needs and making sure they receive the post-adoption services they need. The United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

enacted the law to ensure that children in foster care who cannot be reunited with their birth parents are freed for adoption and placed with permanent families as quickly as possible.

Special Education Needs


The term Special Needs is a short form of Special Education Needs and is a way to refer to students with disabilities. The term Special Needs in the education setting comes into play whenever a child's education program is officially altered from what would normally be provided to students through an Individual Education Plan which is sometimes referred to as an Individual Program plan.