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Language and the way we talk about disability issues are a powerful tool for change. The term ‘special needs’ is often thrown around without much thought.

But what are ‘special needs’, really?

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.” (Noah’s Dad)

CoorDown, Italy’s national organization for people with Down syndrome, examines the euphemistic term “special needs” in its latest PSA, using humor to highlight how their needs might not be so different from those of anyone else. The campaign, running on YouTube, directs viewers online to, where they can find out more about the real needs of people with Down Syndrome.

(Image description: Lauren Potter from the television show Glee is sitting on a couch.)




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