Why I Don’t Like the Special Needs Label

The first time someone referred to my son as special needs it struck me like a slap across the face. It wasn’t intended that way; I just don’t consider him special needs. But I guess his food allergies are special needs. I just don’t want them to be. I want him to be normal, whatever than means. Food allergies are an invisible disability, which might be why I don’t think of them as special needs. I don’t see my son's food allergies when I look at him. I see an adorable three year old who melts my heart. Of course I would see him that way; I’m his mother. But others don’t see his food allergies either. They just see a toddler. And therein lies the threat. Last fall, before my son had any awareness of his allergies, we went to a parade where participants were throwing candy into the crowd.  A well-meaning grandmother (no relation) kept handing candy to us. I didn’t have the energy to explain to her why our son couldn’t have the candy. Thankfully, at two, he wasn’t all that … [Read more...]