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Adoption and Child Separation at the Border

On June 1, 2018 Rebekah Henson published an important thread on Twitter critiquing the hashtags #FamiliesBelongTogether and #Ke...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Don't We All Have Special Needs?

The term special needs is a seemingly innocuous phrase, but it certainly irks many of us. The word conjures up images of ones own subjective interpretation of what someone with disabilities looks, acts, moves or sounds like. These images are often unfounded but these two words have managed to embed themselves within mainstream language. The suggested implication of the words are largely insulting and demeaning, and fuzzy at best.

Within the realm of adoption and under the guidelines, 'special needs' applies to almost any child in foster care or adopted internationally. States determine at what age a child will automatically be classed as "special needs," thus allowing the foster family access to more federal financial funds and community resources. If a child is a member of a sibling group that should preferably stay together, the child will be deemed a special needs child, a foster child of a minority ethnic group is branded with the special needs label - this would include inter country adoptions, and, of course a child with any perceived mental, physical or emotional attribute that falls into either the higher than normal echelon, or the lower than normal echelon will be given this brand name as well. Is this labeling system as exclusive as the general public seems to think?

Let's take a closer look at each of these criterion: