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Special needs is a catch-all phrase used to describe a wide variety of students and their educational needs. Not all children who receive special education have a cognitive disability. Some special needs children, referred to as twice exceptional possess very high intelligence. Their medical or physical disabilities, however require that they need special assistance with certain learning or life skills.

This chart breaks down the general effect various disabilities have on intelligence. Just because a child has a label, such as Asperger's, or faces certain physical challenges, such as Cerebral Palsy, does not mean that they cannot learn

What is important to remember when reading through this chart is that special needs children oftentimes have more than one diagnosis. While blindness does not affect a person's intelligence level, add in autism, and that individual will may very well have a below-average IQ.

How Disabilities Affect Intelligence

Low IQDoesn't Usually Affect IQ
  • Autism
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
  • Congenital hypothyroidism
  • Downs Syndrom
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Klinefelter's syndrome
  • Mental Retardation
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Prader-Willi syndrome
  • Rett's Disorder
  • Williams syndrome
  • ADHD
  • Asperger's Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Blindness
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Deafness
  • Epilepsy
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Selective Mutism
  • Stuttering
  • Tourette's or Other Tic Disorders

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April 02, 2020


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