‘Special needs’, by definition, is the term used to describe a person who necessitates help because of the diagnosis of a physical, mental or behavioral disability. There are a number of different diagnoses that can be placed under the category of ‘special needs’. Children with Autism, a learning disability or a specific genetic disorder (such as Down syndrome) would fall under this term. Having this generalized term helps individuals more easily receive the specialized services and education that are necessary for their growth. It also helps their parents and caregivers to find support and resources as they navigate through the child's particular diagnosis.
However, it is important that children with special needs not be defined by this phrase. It should never put a limit on their physical, mental or emotional capabilities. It should only serve as a reminder to others that the timetable in which a child with special needs learns and grows will most likely look different from that of their peers. This is more than sufficient.
Special needs children are beautiful human beings. They are able. They are children with ideas and personalities. They are full of life, love and joy. The child with special needs may not meet age-appropriated goals at the ‘designated’ age, but they have goals. It is by their determination, and the love and help of the parents, caregivers and friends in their lives that they will achieve those goals.