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Today we are seeing an ever increasing number of children being diagnosed with a “Special Need.” Diagnoses may be classified as a developmental disability, cognitive impairment (intellectual disability), learning disability, or a combination thereof. Current statistics tell us that over 3 million school-aged children have been diagnosed as having a learning disability and are receiving special education services in their school. Currently the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD, Autism, Epilepsy and many other disabilities are on the rise. As a community of faith and advocates for children, we are called to become aware and to always act with compassion, keeping the dignity of each individual child a priority. Swift action regarding concerns about a child’s well being helps one to grow in knowledge and to become more at peace with the over-whelming nature of special needs. Undoubtedly, walking hand-in-hand with Jesus Christ will make the journey into the world needs one of trust and faith!

Children with a special need want to be treated like all their peers and desire full inclusion whenever possible.
Parents and children with special needs are most often wonderful advocates for their child. They desire support and understanding from all those involved in their child’s life. There are federal laws that help provide special educations services, as well as other services, for children with a special need.


  • Become informed. Take the time to learn about the various special needs diagnoses so that you can compassionately and knowledgeably discuss them when necessary.
  • Be a voice of advocacy for children in your community that may have a special need. Help break down stereotypical behavior patterns of prejudice, fear and separation.
  • Involve and invite children with special needs to participate in all aspects of the life of the community.
  • Be open to accommodating the child’s special need so that he/she is comfortable and secure. Often simple modifications that are not open and obvious to all may make the child most comfortable, especially in situations involving peers.
  • Be a good listener. Many times parents, family members and the child himself may simply need to share their sorrows, frustrations and fears.
  • Offer your prayers.


    National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
    Source of information on disabilities in infants, toddlers, children and youth:

    Virginia Early Childhood Special Education


    Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia

    Provides early intervention supports and services to infants and toddlers. Supports and focuses on helping parents and other
    caregivers on knowing how to find ways the child can learn during everyday activities. These services are available for all eligible
    children and families regardless of the family’s ability to pay.

Family Involvement Program

Housed at The Arc of Virginia, this program works to strengthen and increase family involvement in Virginia’s early intervention system.      or Phone 804-649-8481


©2007 St. James Catholic Church, Hopewell, VA