As I sat at the table during my son's IEP team meeting...I realized something.
(Shocking, I know!)
Hearing my son constantly referred to as "Special Needs" really just kind of irritates me!
They kept saying things like "Well I know that behavior is a result of his "special needs." and "That teacher is better suited to him because she is trained in working with kids with "special needs" and "We understand that tests and homework may have to be handled differently because he has "special needs"...
But all I kept hearing in my head was..."Don't we ALL have "special needs"?"
I know I do! And I know my husband does. And I know my best friend does, and her husband does, and the neighbor’s kids do...and my oldest son does...But not in an IEP way or autism support way or even a medicate able way. Just in our own "unique" way.
For example: One of my "special needs" is; I have to be asked if I have the time in my schedule before I will be willing to do a "favor" for someone.
I also have a "special need" to be told when people are leaving or retiring for the night...if you leave me without telling me, I will flip out. (So what! It's MY special need!)
My husband's "special need" is he wants us to have chores done by the time he gets home and/or without him having to ask. He also has a "special need" that we talk to him before loaning out anything (even if it's someone else's to loan out...like MY car or Max's airsoft equipment) He "needs" to be in control of our family’s belongings and whereabouts.
These things may seem trivial and even a bit odd...but they are the "special needs" which are unique to us. And when these “special needs” are met, it just makes our lives easier and happier. It's about knowing and understanding the people around us in order to keep peace and harmony more than it is about diagnosing and labeling a person based on the number or severity of the needs they have.
Personally, I think ALL kids should be treated as though they have "special needs"! All kids should go through an "evaluation" process with their teachers to find out what will help them to have a happier, easier more successful experience in school (and at home too for that matter)! What the heck? Why not? Isn't it our goal to raise happy, successful children?
So if all it will take is a bit of communicating, a bit of listening, a bit of understanding and then a bit of specializing or customizing to make every child a happy, successful student and every family a happy, healthy, successful team...then I say label every one of us "Special Needs" or just scrap that term completely and just call us all “Unique”!!!
This article was originally published at
. Reprinted with permission from the author.