Not too long ago, I read a few articles and blog post on the “Not Special Needs” movement. I have also seen the video campaign against referring to people with disabilities as having special needs. In the articles, blog post, and video, people balk at the term “special needs,” wanting people to stop using it to describe them.
Over the years I have heard many arguments of this nature. At one time, people didn’t want to be called “disabled”, but “differently-abled.” There was another moment, when referring to people as “handicapped” was wrong. It was explained that people are not “handicapped”, they just “have a handicap.”
Most recently, this “not special needs” movement is gaining traction, as people don’t want to be referred to as having “special needs,” but having “human needs” or just having a “disability.” As I watch this movement, I respect the wishes and position of people who do not want to use the term, “special needs.” Not using that language is their choice and their right.
Yet, as for me, the term “special needs” is what I choose to use. I don’t consider it a label or stigma, and it certainly DOES NOT offend me. Using special needs, doesn’t make me believe that my child is less of a person or human being. Using “special needs”or calling what my son needs to live his life as, “special,” is not offensive to me. Special needs is my choice to describe the needs of my child. It works for me.
So please respect my choice to use “Special Needs” and I will respect your choice not to use the term.