Understanding Children with Special Needs

Course Name

Understanding Children with Special Needs

Contact Hours: 20

Course Description

The course will provide definitions and insights into the various types of special needs. It will help especially parents to know what to look for and how to get help if they suspect that their child may need special educational services. The course covers the following areas of special needs:

  • Cognitive
  • Emotional and social
  • Behavioral

The lessons will allow the student to explore the possible causes of the special need, the characteristics of the child with the special need or signs to look for and possible strategies to support the child with the special need,


At the end of the course the students will:

  • Understand what is a developmental disorder and gain knowledge of the various types of disorders and special needs.
  •  Have a better understanding of how biological factors and the environment can cause developmental disorders.
  •  Have basic information on the different types of special needs and their probable causes.
  •  Be better able to provide activities and guidance for a child with a special need.
  •  Be motivated to further study and learn about Special Education.


Students will have a short written assignment at the end of each lesson which the instructor will review.


Lesson 1. Introduction

This lesson reviews what is considered normal development to set the stage for examining problems that may arise during the developmental process and introduces basic definitions of the terms, information about the types and general causes of exceptionality in children.

Lesson 2- Cognitive Needs (Learning Disabilities)

Learning disabilities: Introduction to the various types of learning disabilities and some suggestions for helping a child with a disability. Different types of learning disorders are covered. The major learning disorders- dyslexia, dyscalcula and dysgraphia are discussed.

Lesson 3- Cognitive Needs (Gifted and Talented)

Giftedness: Identifying the gifted child and teaching him is just as important as addressing the needs of learning disabled children. This lesson gives an idea of the characteristics of gifted and talented children and some guidelines for teaching them.

Lesson 4- Social and behavioral disorders (Part 1)

This lesson will help to understand the causes and characteristics of behaviorial disorders including- ADD/ADHD and Mood disorders , Anxiety disorders and Conduct disorders.

Lesson 5- Social and behavioral disorders (Part 2)

This lesson will examine the Pervasive developmental disorders - autism, asperger's syndrome,childhood disintegrative disorder and Rhett's syndrome. The lesson will include some of the potential causes of these disorders, some distinctions between the disorders and ways to support the child

Lesson 6- The School and the special needs child.

Some information for parents and teachers to work together to support the special needs child.