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How are special needs defined?

If you have considered the idea of setting up a special needs trust for the benefit of your disabled California child, you must first determine whether or not (s)he qualifies for such a trust. Since "special needs" constitutes a very broad term, many illnesses, conditions and disabilities fall within it.

As explained by Very Well Family, your child's special need(s) is or are unique to him or her. However, "special needs" tend to fall into one or more of the following six categories

  1. Medical conditions
  2. Congenital conditions
  3. Psychiatric conditions
  4. Developmental conditions
  5. Learning conditions
  6. Behavioral conditions

Medical and congenital conditions

The most common medical diseases that lead to special needs include cancer, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, heart defects, etc. Congenital conditions such as cerebral palsy and dwarfism likewise can lead to special needs.

Psychiatric conditions

Mental health issues that can produce special needs include the following:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Chronic depression or anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Anorexia nervosa

Developmental and learning conditions

Both autism and Down syndrome can leave your child facing lifetime special needs. In addition, dyslexia or auditory processing disorder can severely limit his or her ability to learn.

Behavioral conditions

The special needs umbrella also covers such behavioral conditions as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Tourette's syndrome and dysfunction of sensory integration.

While not all of the above mentioned diseases and conditions may require lifelong care for your child, many of them do. This is where a special needs trust can ensure that should (s)he outlive you, the resources will be available to make sure that (s)he continues to receive the things (s)he will need even after you are no longer around to provide them. This is general educational information only and not intended to provide legal advice.

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