I am not a special needs mom - image description: yellow background with alternating sunbeams with a drawing of a woman with her palm to her face and her other hand reached out as if to reject something. she is grimacing

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I see “special needs mom” floating around in the Down syndrome and interwebs often, always more in the holiday or IEP season. There are listicles on the “special needs mom,” memes on this person, blog posts and The Mighty posts – it’s all out there!  I’m not her, though.

I am not a “special needs mom”

People might think I am. I’m deaf, after all. Being deaf is, according to the “special needs” stuff, full of “special needs,” right?

But let’s see exactly what my needs really are, according to me.

I need:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”52008″ img_size=”medium”][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]I need opportunities. I have a lot of potential and I need the chance to grow and see my potential flourish.

I need to contribute. I need to work or put my energy forward in a way that is satisfying to me and contributes to creating good in the world.

I need to have fun. I need to laugh and enjoy my life.

I need community. I need friends, acquaintances, people who care and know me.

I need love. I need to give and receive love.

I need sustenance. I need food, water, air. I need money to secure and build a life.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1510504972849{background-color: #f7efaa !important;}” kswr_row_top_decor_enabled=”false” kswr_row_bottom_decor_enabled=”false”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”These needs are not “special“” google_fonts=”font_family:Righteous%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css_animation=”flipInX” css=”.vc_custom_1510504988334{background-color: #fff2d6 !important;}”][vc_column_text]They are human needs, not “special needs.”

I am deaf and I have complex PTSD but those make me a mom with a disability (or a “deaf mom” or even “disabled mom”), not a “special needs mom”

Oh wait!

You didn’t mean me? You meant that I’m a “special needs mom” because I have a child with “special needs”?

Oh, okay. My daughter has Down syndrome, and that’s also something that the “special needs” crew defines as a “special need.”

Let’s see if those needs of my daughter’s are really special:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]My daughter needs opportunities. She has a lot of potential and she needs the chance to grow and see her potential flourish.

She needs to contribute. She needs to work or put her energy forward in a way that is satisfying to her and contributes to creating good in the world.

She needs to have fun. She needs to laugh and enjoy her life.

She needs community. She needs friends, acquaintances, people who care and know her.

She needs love. She needs to give and receive love.

She needs sustenance. She needs food, water, air. She will need money to secure and build a life for her future.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”57842″ img_size=”medium”][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Are these needs “special”?

No, they are human needs, not “special needs.”

She has Down syndrome.

That makes her a child with a disability, not a person with “special needs.”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_custom_heading text=”No “Special Needs“ Here; Just Human Needs” google_fonts=”font_family:Righteous%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1510500104420{background-color: #fff2d6 !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1510500138573{background-color: #fff2d6 !important;}”][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”52935″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Either way you have it – be it with my own disability (or disabilities), or through my daughter’s Down syndrome, I am emphatically NOT a “special needs mom”.

I am a deaf mom, yes. I’m a disabled mom, yes. I have a daughter who has Down syndrome, yes. I have a disabled child, a child with a disability, yes.

But there is one thing I am NOT: a “special needs mom”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_separator color=”turquoise” style=”shadow” border_width=”6″ el_width=”60″][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Opinion Pieces

Posts that I've written about disability access, inclusion or things said
3 Reasons to Say "Disability" Instead of "Special Needs"
“Wheelchair Bound” Sound Kinky
10 Dumb Things the Hearing Say to the Deaf (Featuring Captain Picard)
"Special" is the New "Retard"
That Teacher Carrying a Wheelchair Using Student
What People First Language Is (& Why and When It’s WRONG)
Square Pegs in a Round Peg World: The Power of the Neurodiverse

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