‘I am not ashamed’: Disability advocates, experts implore you to stop saying ‘special needs’

By David Oliver: For Entire Post, Click Here…

In our daily lives, we may encounter phrases like “I am disabled” or “My child has special needs.” And to someone who is not part of the community, this wording may seem synonymous. But it’s not. 

Most experts and advocates vehemently oppose the term “special needs,” and believe we need to eliminate it from our vernacular. Furthermore, they say avoiding the term “disabled” only leads to stigmatization. 

For some, the term “special needs” feels offensive. 

“I am disabled by society due to my impairment,” says Lisette Torres-Gerald, board secretary for the National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities. “My needs are not ‘special;’ they are the same, human needs that everyone else has, and I should be able to fully participate in society just as much as the next person.”

It can also be counterproductive. 

Researchers from a 2016 study found people who are referred to as having “special needs” are seen more negatively than those referred to as having a disability.

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