Special Needs Come & Go

I’ve been raising my identical twin sons — who happen to have Down syndrome — for nearly 6 years now. By all counts, they have “special needs”. We’re now in the process of confirming a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder for my 9-year-old daughter who is also in our district’s gifted program. SHE too has “special needs”. My Dad, who lived a “typical” life is laying in a hospital bed waiting for a peaceful end to his life (this is why my post is late) after living the past year in a nursing home with Alzheimers. HE now has special needs. My Mom’s hubby has CP and uses a wheelchair after walking most of his life. Special needs. A cousin’s emotional break down. Special needs. An aunt just finished fighting breast cancer. Special needs. My sister’s hip-replacement surgery. Special needs. And I need to talk to a counselor about all this stuff going on in my life. Special needs. 

From assistive devices like wheelchairs to pull-out classes for giftedness, special needs is a term used to describe something out of the “ordinary”. But what in the holy heck is ordinary any more? You know what I think? I think Elastigirl (aka Mrs. Incredible from the film The Incredibles) is right… “everyone is special in their own way!” We all have waxing and waning special needs (and special talents) at any given moment in our lives. We are born with special needs… completely dependent on our parents. Most of us leave the world with special needs… often dependent on our children. And in between, a wide variety of special needs pop up, are handled and dissipate throughout our lives. From births to broken bones, illnesses to injuries…. You name it, they all require some level of special attention from someone, somewhere along the way. Special Needs!

So what’s the big deal? It’s apparent to me that special needs come and go but the one constant is the individual! The person is always there, underneath or behind or on top of those special needs. So why can’t the world just deliver individualized services to each and every person as their special needs emerge? Why can’t we make that the normal course of action and skip the whole labeling and segregating fiasco entirely?

More Maggie at walkonthehappyside.wordpress.com.

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