Some children, including emotionally handicapped children, physically handicapped children, mentally handicapped children, abused children, underachievers, children with learning disabilities, and gifted children, have special needs. Although children in each of these broad areas exhibit different handicaps and disabilities and each demands or imposes different challenges on family life, all need special opportunities to develop inner self-esteem.
Al, in his senior year of secondary school, obtained a certificate from his physi
cian stating that a nervous breakdown made it necessary for him to leave
school for 6 months. Al was not a good all-around student; his teachers found
him a problem and he had a history of poor school adjustment. Al was a late
talker and had no friends. Al also had odd mannerisms, made up his own re
ligion and chanted hymns to himself. His father was ashamed of his son's lack
of athletic ability and regarded him as "different."
This brief profile of Albert Einstein illustrates the danger of making snap decisions on the basis of superficial and incomplete evidence and the difficulties in defining mental health or disturbance. Albert Einstein didn't speak until he was 4 years old or read until he was 7 years old. Being different does not necessarily mean that one is in poor health or disturbed. Overwhelming evidence indicates that Einstein was a gifted and creative individual who had difficulty conforming to the requirements of school settings.
Parents need to be familiar with symptoms that may be indicative of unhealthy adjustment in children. Informed parents will be able to