The idea that all brains are different. Just like skin color and eye color, of course, everyone’s brains are different too.
Also referred to as NT, these are kids that are developing “normally” without sensory, auditory, reading, or writing issues.
Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD
This is when the brain does not process the five sense properly. Your kid’s senses are just not aligned with his or her brain. It is not an intellectual impairment and is not related to intelligence. What may feel fine for you, like a fabric or a shoe or touching sand, may set off something negative in your child’s central nervous system. Your kid may feel something small like a rock in their shoe and may refuse to wear those shoes again because of that connection. They may get into a boiling hot tub with no hesitation, not realizing it’s way too hot to be safe as their brain does not feel the sensation like you or I would feel it. It explains why your kid is crying getting ready for school or won’t put on socks because the sensory experience of the tightness of the socks, or the tag in the pants, are too much for them. It may be why your child only eats certain types of food too so it’s an important issue for parents to watch out for.
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disorder. It is not an intellectual impairment and is not related to intelligence. You probably think of it as someone who just can’t read. But it is so much more than just reading. Someone with dyslexia maybe can read slowly, but it can affect how they hear words too, or how they process the information. Dyslexia is a spectrum, just like autism. You can be slightly impacted, or highly impacted. An amazing resource for parents is www.dyslexiaida.org
Auditory Processing Disorder or APD
This is a disorder in how we hear sounds. It usually manifests in a kid mishearing a word or having trouble with multiple step instructions. It is not an intellectual impairment and is not related to intelligence. In order to be diagnosed, your kid needs to see an audiologist.An amazing resource is www.understood.org
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder are a lot alike and you most likely have heard of them. It’s a lack of focus, difficulty completing a task, and the reason this website has taken so long to get up and running. So yeah, I identify with this one. It is not an intellectual impairment and is not related to intelligence. www.understood.org
Autism | Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
This is so many things. It encompasses autism and Asperger’s Syndrome (which the DSMV no longer recognizes) and I will struggle to define this. As any autism parent will tell you, if you’ve met one autistic kid, you’ve met one autistic kid. They are all so different and it is such a broad range of differences. www.understood.org
Aka Aspies (kids with Aspergers syndrome) are kids that are sometimes labelled as “high functioning” vs the “lower functioning” kids on the autism spectrum. But here is the most important thing, we must stop using those term! If you want an alternative you can say “highly impacted” or “not as highly impacted” by autism.
If you are new to autism and want to advocate for your child but can’t find a way to explain how they are affected? You can say the child is “more highly impacted” vs “less impacted” by autism. We should assume all these kids, whether they respond or not, can hear everything we say about them!So, saying someone’s kid is “low functioning” in front of him or her would be damaging to anyone’s self-esteem. But now imagine if you were trapped inside your body and non-verbal, you could not even defend yourself.
Think of how frustrated these kids must be.
Always assume competence of the individual.
Is a motor delay and not related to intelligence. It can affect how your child rolls over or sits when they are young. It can also present as speech difficulties including situational mutism, where it is difficult for the brain to make the connections to make sounds relating to speech. It can also be referred to as speech sound disorder. It explains low or non-verbal kids. Please understand that just because these children can’t speak does not mean that they don’t understand. As assistive technology gets better we are going to learn more and more how these kids think. I highly recommend reading further reading on this subject. There are lots of studies out there.
This is a disorder that makes kids bad at math and math concepts. It may present as your preschool child has trouble counting or skip-counting. They may not be able to count out a specific number of items if you ask for five blocks. It also presents in later life relating to time and to measure. Your kid might want to cook from a recipe but struggle with amounts or measurements needed to make a cake.
This a difficulty remembering names, numbers and words. Sometimes the kid will be able to say a description of the object he or she wants, but not the actual word. It also makes remembering names very difficult.
IEP or Individualized Education Program
IEP or Individualized Education Program is a legal document (this part is very important) and it is also a written plan of how the school is going to teach your kid in a way that works for your kids' differences. It is a legally binding contract that the school is going to administer certain strategies and achieve certain goals. This document holds them legally accountable. If they do not meet the goals or they fail to establish the proper plan for your child you can then go to mediation to get them to fix the situation. If you cannot agree during mediation you can then go to due process, which is a legal way of getting them to pay for other services also known as compensatory education. It is like going to trial and you and the school will be required to show information supporting each of your claims.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder
Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) is an old catchall diagnosis when someone did not meet all the criteria for autism. I’m not sure but I also think that some doctors were using it instead of autism because everyone for the last 20 years associates autism with the worst possible outcomes. This diagnosis didn’t stigmatize them with the autism label.
504 Plan is a specialized plan for your child that is not part of special education services. If your child has ADHD the school might try to get you to take a 504 instead of an IEP. I would not accept this for my child, but parents must make this decision for themselves. 504 Plans are legally binding but they do not address specific learning differences or provide any services.
This is a common neurological disorder that presents in verbal and body ticks, usually accompanied with sound. It is a central nervous system disorder. My knowledge on this one is not deep.