What’s so special about ‘special needs’?

This is World Down Syndrome Day and an ad agency suggests we use the opportunity to consider the phrase “special needs.”

“The term ‘special needs’ is a euphemistic way to speak about persons with disabilities and their needs,” Publicis chief creative officer Andy Bird tells Ad Freak. “The reality is people with Down syndrome do not have different or special needs, although they may sometimes meet those needs in different ways. They have the same needs as all of us—jobs, friends, love and simply the need to be seen and treated equally.”

  • Mike Stevens

    That cat massage looks awesome.

    • Gary F

      I’m intentionally not showing my wife that.

    • Jerry

      I’ve had cats try to give me massages. So much bleeding…

  • MrE85

    That’s a great PSA. Nice work, Lauren Potter & company.

  • Kassie

    I fear this message can easily backfire. For so many years advocates and those with disabilities have worked to make sure kids and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities get access to programs that allow them to get an education, participate in recreation and work jobs. While this falls under the “..may sometimes meet those needs in special ways” portion of the message, I fear this nuance will be lost and lawmakers and administrators will see this as not needing to make accommodations for people who are disabled.

    **Edited to add that it isn’t just advocates who have worked hard on this, but people with disabilities also have, doubly so.

    • Carolie

      same concern here Kassie.

    • Renae

      Truth. I understand and appreciate the message this lovely PSA is making, but lawmakers need to have it clearly stated that this population needs special consideration in the form of protective human rights laws and special appropriations for supportive employment programs, special education, and health care needs.