Full course description
Special needs children and youth comprise up to half of all youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice system. This course provides an overview of the prevalence and types of disabilities in special education and how they impact youth in the child welfare system including developmental, physical, mental health/emotional, and learning disabilities. Four primary disabilities identified in the new Neurodevelopmental Disorders section of the DSM 5 are discussed including Intellectual Disability, Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, and Specific Learning Disorder. Emotional disturbance is also reviewed. Information about these disorders is reviewed including causes, development, symptoms and treatment approaches for working effectively with special needs youth. The impact of children and youth with special needs on child welfare and youth services is discussed including challenges for caregivers, diagnosis controversies, disproportionality with youth of color, ensuring appropriate resources, permanency options, and the transition to adulthood. Service needs reviewed include early intervention, special education, family support, case management, mental health, medical care, and employment and transition. Information on systems of care is also provided with special education, regional centers, mental health services, medical care, rehabilitation, and independent living centers all providing critical support in ensuring special needs youth achieve their maximum potential and well-being in life.