Special Needs and Mental Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, 1 in 4 adults, an estimated 61 million individuals, have a disability. Although “people with disabilities” sometimes refer to a single population, this is a diverse group of people with a wide range of needs. Two people with the same type of disability can be affected in very different ways. Some disabilities may be hidden or not easy to see and can limit how a child or adult functions.
In addition to these challenges, approximately 30-50% of children with special needs may also have mental health conditions, according to research in the Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability. Frequent mental distress is associated with poor health behaviors, increased use of health services, mental disorders, chronic disease, and limitations in daily life.
You might look for mental health help for your special needs child if they:
• Are acting differently than their usual self
• Refuse to partake in routine chores like they used to.
• Have significant changes in appetite or sleeping patterns.
• Seem unsettled – extra frustrated, aggressive, angry, worried, or sad.
• Are having trouble sleeping, stomach aches, constipation, or other physical issues – with no clear medical reason why.
• Have quick bursts of energy like pacing back and forth, tantrums, or more vocalizations.
• Are trying risky behavior or doing things to self-injure on purpose?
• Have more (or more intense) challenging behaviors than usual.
• Special Olympics Inclusive Health- Inclusive Health
• Self-Care Tips for Special Olympics Families
• NCHPAD – Building Healthy Inclusive Communities
• Disability and Health Healthy Living | CDC