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Children's Medical Services - Special services for children with special needs
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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 1, Lesson 4

Characteristics of Prevalent Developmental Disabilities and Disorders

Disability/Disorder Characteristics
Down Syndrome Congenital heart defect Hypotonia Slanted eyes Protruding tongue Extra fold at inner corners of eyes Short broad hands with single palmar crease Small stature Hearing Impairment Vision Impairment Cognitive delays Language delays
Fragile X Syndrome Large head Prominent ears Prominent forehead Cognitive delays Language delays
Traumatic brain injury Dizziness Headaches Irritability Fatigue Memory deficits Blurred vision Similar to cerebral palsy characteristics
Cerebral palsy Increased muscle tone Spasticity Low muscle tone (hypotonia) Uncoordinated muscle movement Wide gait walking Cognitive deficits (40% of hemiplegia) Slurred speech Hearing, speech, and language impairments (30%) Seizure disorder (50%)
Seizure disorders Loss of consciousness Irregular breathing Drooling Staring Involuntary repetitive jerking Spasms Repetitive blinking or licking of lips
Spina bifida Malformation of spinal column Paralysis Sensory loss below area of damage Bowel/bladder problems Hydrocephalus Malformation of the Arnold Chiari
Muscular dystrophy Muscle weakness Difficulty in walking Thin lips, inverted-V-shaped upper lip Facial weakness Abnormal gait (hip-waddling) Enlarged calves
Scoliosis Extreme back pain Inability to sit straight Distorted rib cage Poor posture
Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis Stiffness Joint pain when moving Joint movement limitations Fever
Visual impairments Reduced visual acuity Problems to optic nerve Loss of central vision Cortical visual impairment Fluctuating vision Loss of color vision Roving eye movements Seeing bright flashes of light or floaters Blurred vision Night blindness Progressive loss of peripheral vision Severe pain, redness Sensitivity to light Clouding of the lens of the eye Eye enlargement, twitching of eye muscles Frequent changes of glasses/contacts
Hearing Impairments Lack of expected response to sound Lack of turning toward sounds Turns one ear toward sound Delayed speech and language development Progressive loss of hearing Hearing loss secondary to fever up to 105° Hearing loss secondary to ear infection Abrupt hearing loss Ringing in the ears Dizziness
Congenital heart defects Breathing irregularities Fatigue Heart murmurs Heartbeat irregularities Growth abnormalities Clubbed fingers and/or toes
Sickle cell anemia/disease Appear pale Fatigue Weakness Enlarged heart Jaundiced Severe pain/swelling in hands and feet Pain Prominent forehead, high cheekbones, long thick legs and arms (Bleck & Nagel, 1982)
Cystic fibrosis Abnormal amounts of mucus Abnormal protein secretions Coughing Poor digestion Obstructed airways High salt content in sweat
AIDS/HIV Fatigue Recurrent pneumonia Ear infections Failure to thrive Weight loss Chronic diarrhea Dry cough Thrush Tendency to bruise easily Chronic infections
Meningitis Bulging soft spot in infants Fever Stiff neck Poor feeding Seizures Headaches Vomiting Irritability
Encephalitis Headaches Fever Altered consciousness Seizures Partial paralysis Coma
Hepatitis B Jaundice Decreased appetite Fatigue Nausea
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Hearing loss Mental retardation Small head size Fever and sore throat Swollen glands
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prenatal/postnatal growth retardation Craniofacial malformations Abnormal sleep patterns Low birth weights (80%) Severe feeding problems (70%) Ventricular septal defect Hypotonia Fine-motor incoordination and clumsiness Visual complications Physical features: widely spaced eyes with short eye slits, short, upturned noses, thin upper lips, & microcephaly
Autism Language development delay Lack of socialization Poor eye contact Irritability and/or stiffening when held Arching back away from caretaker to avoid physical contact as an infant Limp when picked up as an infant (failure to anticipate being picked up) Self-injurious behaviors Perseverative behavior Lack of facial expressiveness in infancy
Adapted from: (Heller, Alberto, Forney, & Schwartzman, 1996)

 

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