Child Minders Guide to Special Needs Children & Disabilities

By | November 2, 2013

Child disability is caused by hereditary factors, deficiencies or complications during fetal stages or birth, or is acquired in childhood years. Diagnosis and understanding of child disability helps both the child and the child minder to deal with the difficulties that may arise because of the disability. When the presence of a disability in children is unknown, it can cause misunderstanding, frustration and negativity.

Child Minders : How to Identify Disabilities & Special Needs

A good child minder is a watchful observer of the ward’s progress and development, and watches for irregularities caused by some form of child disability. Physical disability in children is naturally easier to detect than mental or intellectual disability. Intellectual disability in children is harder to detect, often only making an appearance in pre-school years. It is also difficult to ascribe a specific cause to intellectual disability in children because this form of disability is usually caused by a combination of factors. Because it is hard to detect cognitive developmental or intellectual disability, doctors perform regular tests on children, questioning parents and testing the child for routine development and growth.

Physical and Developmental Signs of Disabilities in Children

Some physical signs of disability in infants are deformities in hands and feet, an unusually big or small sized head, or irregular facial features. Vomiting, suffering seizures, delayed development of motor skills like sitting up or rolling, and inability to feed and grow are other signs of disabilities in children. In many disabled children, behavioural patterns are abnormal for children their age, especially in pre-school stages. Language development and speech may be delayed, as well as ability to perform simple tasks of dressing and feeding oneself. Also, children with disabilities may display outbursts of aggression, weeping, anger or temper tantrums caused by frustration and confusion.

Learning Disabilities in Children

Learning disabilities in children are common, with 5% or more elementary-age children being affected. Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and aphasia are some of these learning disabilities in children. Various signs that help with early detection are:

  • Trouble learning the alphabet, spelling and handwriting, vocabulary skills may develop late and remain limited.
  • Cannot follow simple directions, cannot organize speech and thought processes, may not understand rules of conversation and may stand close to the talker.
  • Ordering items or telling a story in chronological order is difficult.
  • Children with disabilities of any sort are subject to mood swings, depression, feelings of anger, temper tantrums and violent behavior with no particular cause.

Child minders should be able to deal patiently with the outbursts of children with disabilities when they occur, and use different methods to curb the negativity as well.

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