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… actually, that should read Special Need Mom 2 + 1 + 0.75 (x ~15 years), but that’s kinda hard to type. I am a Special Education Teacher in Ontario and have worked in the field of ‘special needs’ for 15 years. I have two children with ‘special needs’ and am expecting baby #3 in a few days. Hubby also has ‘special needs.’ And, actually, I do too. What does ‘Special Needs’ mean? Good question. What does ‘Special’ mean?
According to Dictionary.com, ‘Special‘ can be an adjective or noun and means:
1. of a distinct or particular kind or character: a special kind of key.
2. being a particular one; particular, individual, or certain: You’d better call the special number.
3. pertaining or peculiar to a particular person, thing, instance, etc.; distinctive; unique: the special features of a plan.
4. having a specific or particular function, purpose, etc.: a special messenger.
5. distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual: a special occasion; to fix something special.
6. extraordinary; exceptional, as in amount or degree; especial: special importance.
7. being such in an exceptional degree; particularly valued: a special friend.
8. a special person or thing.
So, ‘Special’ can be related to function, characteristic or overall quality. It can be distinguished, particular, extraordinary, exceptional or just plain old different. Would you rather be extraordinary or just different? Does any of this really tell us quite what ‘Special’ means?
whew! so now that we’re clear on that, let’s look at ‘need‘ as a noun through Dictionary.com
1. a requirement, necessary duty, or obligation: There is no need for you to go there.
2. a lack of something wanted or deemed necessary: to fulfill the needs of the assignment.
3. urgent want, as of something requisite: He has no need of your charity.
4. necessity arising from the circumstances of a situation or case: There is no need to worry.
5. a situation or time of difficulty; exigency: to help a friend in need; to be a friend in need.
So a need can be a lack of something or an obligation or a want or a necessity or a time of difficulty – does this seem conflicted to you? Either you don’t have something that you should have or you’re supposed to do something or you want something (i.e. an IPad) or you require something (food!) or you’re having a hard time.
In the field of Education we tend to use ‘Special Needs’ to mean different from the rest, and that the person with ‘Special Needs’ requires something that other people don’t.