The “Not Special Needs” Movement – Not Using The Term “Special Needs”

The “Not Special Needs” Movement - Not Using The Term "Special Needs" - faithtoraisenate.com - CharleneBullard.com -purposedrivencharlene.com
2 min read

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.

Faithtoraisenate.com - CharleneBullard.com - Purposedrivencharlene.com

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12 Comments

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  1. 3
    Barbara H.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today! And thanks for sharing this. Sometimes it’s confusing to know how to acknowledge someone’s situation without offense, so I appreciated your insight as one in the thick of things.

  2. 5
    dancingpalmtrees

    This is certainly news to me. Had no idea that there was any debate or controversy.
    I know that there’s been a lot of discussion by people with Autism about Neurodiversity. I suppose like any other marginalized group they want to be self defining and take back control from what they would consider outsiders.
    Interesting discussion.

    • 6
      Charlene

      Neurodiversity – Brain – diversity. Yes, interesting discussion. My friend and I were talking and she was telling me that they don’t say learning disabilities at her child’s school, it is Learning Differences. 🙂 Yes, I know the lingo shift. For some it is such a negative conotation when we say “disability.”

  3. 8
    Elizabeth

    I enjoyed the video, but I am confused by trying to think of the right thing to say. It reminds me of the colored, Negro, black, African-American language shifts. My mother-in-law was offended by being called black. She preferred Negro. I imagine it is the same among all the different abilities.

    • 9
      Charlene

      I enjoyed the video too. I understand what you are saying. Some black people would be rather called African American and some would not, and prefer Black. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me. Unlike your mother-in-law (no offense), I don’t like like the term Negro or any form of that word. Yet, I respect those who pick what they want to be called.

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