Faces of Children with Special Needs

Tonya Langdon —  April 25, 2011

Children with special needs. We all have them in our Sunday school classes. Some make us laugh, some frustrate us and some we have a hard time understanding their behavior.  Most of us are familiar with  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and/or autism but are unaware of other behavioral or developmental disorders that affect the children in our Sunday school classes. When we have a better understanding why a child behaves in a particular we can create our lessons in a way that is meaningful for them and be better able to managing their behaviors in a constructive way.

Every year children are diagnosed with many different behavioral, developmental or mental illness each year. For some children, they will  receive a dual diagnosis. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 13.1% of children ages 8-15, had a diagnosable disorder the previous year. Below are some of the statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), NIMH, National Alliance  on Mental Illness (NAMI) and National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) for your reference. 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 8.6%  (1)

Oppositional Defiance Disorder 1-6%  (3)

Mood Disorders 3.7%  (1)

Intellectual Delays  1-3% (7)

Major Depression 2.7%  (1)

Conduct Disorder 2.1%  (1)

Obsessive  Compulsive Disorder  (5) 

Dysthymia 1.0%  (1)

Anxiety Disorders 0.7%  (1)

Panic Disorders 0.4%  (1)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder  0.3% (1)

Eating Disorders  0.1% (1)

Autism Spectrum Disorder 2-6 children per 1000 live births  (5)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder  .2-1.5 children per 1000 live births

Learning Disabilities  2.5 million students, making up 42% of students with disabilities  (4)

Tourette Syndrome  200,000 are known in the United States, but often go undiagnosed  (6) 

 Over the next several weeks I will be writing on these different diagnoses, how it effects child, what their behavior might look like and how it effects the rest of the child’s family. In addition I will include some of the techniques and tools that I have found successful in classes that I have taught over the years.

1. National Institute of Mental Health

2. Center for Disease Control

3. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

4. National Center for Learning Disabilities

5. National Alliance for Mental Illness

6. Tourette Syndrome Association

7. The Arc

Tonya Langdon

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Tonya is married with three children. Tonya currently spearheads The Agape Connections (special needs ministry), teaches the 4th & 5th grade Sunday school class and leads a support group for parents who have children with A.D.H.D. and Behavioral Disorders at Skyline Church in La Mesa, Ca. The Agape Connections work with families who have special needs children so the entire family is able to attend church services and age appropriate church activities. In Tonya’s “free time” she is studying for ordination, writes articles and co-owns an office products business with her brother.

3 responses to Faces of Children with Special Needs

  1. Soooooooo excited about this series! I’m sure I’ll be linking to it frequently at my blog. I’m planning a similar series, but I’ll hold off so that they don’t overlap.

    Praying your series blesses many!

  2. Tonya,

    I am so glad you are doing this series. I know something like this will be a blessing to me, and I’ve no doubt that it will be a blessing to the children’s ministry community at large as well! If I ever get around to doing the index for the Volunteer Training Nuggets :), I think I will add links to this series on what to watch for and what to do when it comes to ministering to children with special needs. You are a blessing to our Kidmin1124 community and the kidmin community in general! Keep up the great work!

  3. Let me know if I can be of any help if you need additional references or resources.