“Special Needs”… what a beautiful word!
di Laura Rovaris
I love the word “special needs”. It was introduced in 1978 in the United Kingdom with the issue of the Warnock Report and refers to another significant English expression which is “special educational need”.
It transformed the meaning of those children who until then had always been classified as handicapped. In my opinion everyone, children, and teenagers, should only be called “people with special needs”. If you think about it, LsD are so named because their acronym means “specific learning disorders”.
“Disorder”. I don’t look favorably on this word. Not for a semantic question, (it is actually the correct medical name), but because of how it is defined in the mind of a DSA: “You have a disorder”, “You are disturbed”.
It makes them feel different, it makes them feel wrong!
That’s not how it should be.
I “see” their sadness when they find themselves “labeled” in this category and realize what it means, sometimes I hear them say “you don’t know what it means to be an SLD, you don’t know the difficulties I have to manage, it’s frustrating “.
I often ask them: “is the work you have to do frustrating or is the image you have of yourself and who you are, frustrating?”
And the answer is almost always the second one.
I think it would be so nice if you took the word “disorder” out of their minds, and told them that they are only children with special needs.
They are special and must feel that way, positive words are invaluable to their self-esteem. The fundamental part of my figure and of my work is to try to make them understand that they are not wrong and never will be.
They are no different from their peers, they have the same emotions, they live the same dynamics linked to their age, they create their relationships and the thread of their existence just like the others; they just have difficulties in some areas that others don’t have.
But “difficulty” is, in my opinion, a positive word because difficulties can always be overcome!