Sunday, February 21, 2016

"Special Needs" and Relational Inequality

From this post on the Jewish Week's "New Normal" blog
"Special needs terminology is insidiously poisonous.  It seems innocuous, but it corrodes and undermines the very strides for dignity, respect, and equality for which disability activists have crawled up the U.S. Capitol steps, effected the longest Federal agency sit-in in American history, and undergone arrests for civil disobedience at bus stations, legislative offices, and university campuses. We, the disability community, advocate for access and opportunity up until this very day with strength, leadership and determination as a social-political body; as people who have or are perceived as having the characteristic of disability.  We are discriminated against because of our disabilities — our physiognomic or physiological compositions that affect function, behavior, or social interaction — and the accompanying misguided belief that we place undue burden upon society. By referring to “special needs populations” we are reinforcing the charity model of disability based upon anticipated neediness (placing us in a child-like role), the cause of much prejudice.
Let’s proudly own and teach our children to proudly own disability as a characteristic and a demographic that deserves respect and recognition for what we contribute."


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