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Differences That Might Affect Development

Sometimes a child’s differences can be something you can easily see, but for other children, those differences may be hidden.

The following list of 12 types of behavior can help a parent or an educator recognize children with special needs. If your child or a child in your class has any of these characteristics, ask yourself…”Is his/her behavior making things so hard for him/her that they are not progressing?”

  • Short attention span; unable to concentrate: not able to pay attention long enough to finish an activity.
  • Restless or hyperactive: moves around constantly; fidgets; doesn’t seem to move with a purpose in mind; picks on other children.
  • Does not complete tasks; careless, unorganized approach to activities: does not finish what is started; does not seem to plan to get work done.
  • Listening difficulties; does not seem to understand: has trouble following directions; turns away while others are talking; does not seem interested.
  • Avoids participation with other children or only knows how to play by hurting others: stays away from other children; always plays alone; leaves a group of children when an activity is going on; bites, hits, or bullies.
  • Repetitive behavior: repeats unusual movement or words over and over; cannot stop activity himself.
  • Resistant to discipline or direction (impertinent, defiant, resentful, destructive, or negative): does not accept directions or training; disagreeable; hard to manage; destroys materials or toys deliberately; temper tantrums.
  • Speech problems:
    • rate: speech is unusually fast or slow
    • articulation: difficulty making clear speech sounds.
    • stuttering: difficulty with flow of speech; repeating sounds, words, or phrases; blocking words or sounds.
    • voice: unusually loud, soft, high or low; scratchy or hoarse quality.
    • no speech: chooses not to talk or does not know how to talk so that others can understand.
  • Physical complaints: talks of being sick or hurt; seems tired or without energy.
  • Echoes other’s speech: repeats another person’s words without intending for the words to mean anything.
  • Lack of self-help skills: unable to feed self, unable to dress self, unable to conduct toilet activities unaided, or to carry out health practices such as washing hands, brushing teeth, etc.
  • Temperamental, overly sensitive, sad, irritable: moody, easily depressed, unhappy, shows extreme emotions and feelings.
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