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What IS it about "special"?

There's "special" -- as in "out of the ordinary" -- and then there's "special" as in "for the disabled."


Sounds like Shafer has a "special" need for a thesaurus.


Special means more than simply segregated, but is more akin to apartheid. It does not simply segregate, but dehumanizes at the same time. It denies our rightful place in our world.


Special definitely needs to be reserved for the appropriate occasions and wouldn't it be nice if, rather than having one machine per polling place, all machines needed to be accessible. What a novel idea. Although I do have to say that I still like the idea of having Special Olympics for the disabled. But wouldn't it be nice if the Special Olympics could get an agreement with the IOC like the Paralympics did?


I don't know what it is about words that classify and segregate. People love them. You would think people (such as this journalist)whose business IS words would be a little more in tune.


I hope this is an obvious point, but realistically beyond readers of this site and a few others, it isn't.

"Special" is often used to stigmatize what is different, but also used to stigmatize what is (or should be) really common, such as crossing the street, going to school, getting to work on time, being able to get in restrooms, and voting.

Orange County, CA (south of LA) has a "Special Needs in Transit" committee. Implicitly getting to appointments, going to school or work, and visiting friends/family are "special needs" for some people.

"Special" reflects the tyranny of the medical model, when the "needs" it's used to describe aren't medical.


I am a person born with various congenital physical disabilities and my child has autism and mental retardation.

I see the word "Special" as a divisive word that is meant to separate, divide, and classify people into different types of categories.

The word "Special" creates two different categories of people which is: people WITH disabilities and people WITHOUT disabilities. By doing this, it also puts people into one more category of "Us" category OR "Them" category depending on how a person looks at it.

In general society as a whole, there should be only ONE word which is the word "WE". The word "WE" creates ONE category of people which puts people WITH disabilities AND people WITHOUT disabilities into ONE category in general society as a whole.

The words "Special", "Us", and "Them" should NOT be in the English language because these words invites division, separation, classification, and different types of categories of people. The word "WE" invites inclusion into mainstream society and talks about ONE category of people only.

When the Constitution of the United States was written, it started out as "We the People". The Constitution of the United States does NOT start out as "Us the People", or "Them the People". The Constitution of the United States does NOT have the word "Special" in the very first sentence when it comes to talking about people.

The way I see it, general society as a whole should remember the word "WE" and forget the words of "Us", Them", and "Special" when they are making references to ANY other person whether the other person DO or DO NOT have disabilities.

People with disabilities WANT to be included in mainstream society by mainstream society's usage of the word "We". People with disabilities do NOT want to be separated from mainstream society with mainstream society's usage of the words of "Us", Them", and "Special".

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