Our focus lies in the areas of developmental disabilities, medical issues, behavioral issues, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health issues. Often these categories overlap, and many children have conditions that fall into one or more categories.
Developmental disabilities are a diverse group of severe, chronic conditions that are due to mental and/or physical impairments, such as Down syndrome or mental retardation. They are detected early on and persist throughout an individual's lifespan. They may cause difficulties in areas such as mobility, communication, learning, self-help and independent living. They can be devastating for families to deal with, changing visions of the future and bringing about immediate challenges in caring for and educating a child.
Medical issues in children include serious conditions such as birth defects, physical disabilities, heart defects, muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis; chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes; and congenital conditions such as cerebral palsy and dwarfism. Children with medical issues may require numerous tests, long hospital stays, expensive equipment and accommodations for disabilities.
Behavioral issues in children include diagnoses like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, dysfunction of sensory integration and Tourette syndrome. These conditions require specialized strategies that are tailored to children’s specific abilities and disabilities to limit the stress on families and lower children’s risk for school problems and diminished career possibilities.
Intellectual disabilities are characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning, such as learning, reasoning, and problem-solving, and in adaptive behavior, which affects and many everyday social and practical skills, such as interacting with others, following rules and routines, managing money and time, and avoiding victimization.
Learning disabilities are neurological disorders that impact the ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations. These disorders do not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, traumatic brain injury, or environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.
Mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. They disrupt children’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.