Lauren Potter (who played Becky on the TV show “Glee”) recently appeared in a short video for World Down Syndrome day called, “#NotSpecialNeeds.” The video explains (in a VERY funny way) why people with Down syndrome do not have “special needs.” I seriously encourage you to take a few minutes to watch the video below. It is FUNNY!
I think this video has a great message! Not only does their video have a great message, so does the content on their website:
People with Down syndrome, like everyone else, have basic human needs – to eat, drink, breathe and sleep – to be nurtured, loved, educated and sheltered – to move, communicate, contribute and work – and to share, love and live.
Sure, people with Down syndrome may need extra assistance. Sometimes they even need significant assistance, and adjustments, to meet a particular need. But that doesn’t make that common human need “special.”
For example, a person who requires some help in speaking, writing or being understood, is still meeting the same human need that we all share – the need to communicate. The only thing that is different is the degree of assistance or the way they meet that need, not the need itself.
It is time to recognize people with disabilities, including Down syndrome, as equal siblings in our family of human diversity – as people with the same rights and same fundamental human needs as everyone else, even if they may require extra assistance or a different way of meeting a particular human need.
We shouldn’t just replace “special needs” with another euphemism like “additional needs,” “challenged,” or “differently-abled.”
But what words should we use instead?
Well, it depends on the context.
How about just the person’s name? It is not always necessary or appropriate to refer to someone by a label.
“How about just the person’s name?” – #BOOM #TRUTH
Our Parenting Journey Is More The Same Than Different
I think many people think it’s really hard raising a child with Down syndrome, much more difficult than a “typical” child. The truth of the matter is, raising a child isn’t easy. No matter if that child is born with Down syndrome, or not. All children have needs, just different ones.
Instead of focusing on the differences, it’s also important to focus on the similarities. People with Down syndrome have jobs, get drivers licenses, go to college, get (and stay!) married, like to dance, and go on fun trips – just like everyone else! Does Noah have needs? Sure. Do All children? Absolutely.
His needs are “special.” They are just different. And that’s all good.
I hope this video (and post) is a reminder to stop using words like “Special Needs” and the “r” word.
What are your thoughts on this video? Leave a comment below and share them!