special needs

plural noun

Definition of special needs

: any of various difficulties (such as a physical, emotional, behavioral, or learning disability or impairment) that causes an individual to require additional or specialized services or accommodations (such as in education or recreation) students with special needs

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Other Words from special needs

special-needs or special needs adjective
special-needs children a special needs teacher

Examples of special needs in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Both locations offer The Constance & David Blacher Children's Special Needs Program at Camp Shalom for campers with special needs, such as autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, for campers between ages 3-22. Marvin Glassman, Jewish Journal, "Israeli counselors, several programs featured at Camp Shalom," 29 June 2018 Special Needs Bowling The City of Coconut Creek Parks & Recreation Dept. announces a summer special needs bowling league, 6:15-8:30 p.m. Mondays, June 18-August 13. Sun-Sentinel.com, "Coral Springs and Coconut Creek area events, June 13-23," 12 June 2018 Working with the special needs students has given Wall a new appreciation for what special needs students go through and the difficulties many of them face after high school. Kenny Levine, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Preble’s Camden Wall making an impact for those less fortunate," 9 May 2018 The event benefits adults and children with special needs, holding fun events, sending athletes to Special Olympics and children to summer camp. Dana Burke, Houston Chronicle, "Photos: 77-pound catfish, other trophies tagged in the Houston area," 30 Apr. 2018 Special education teachers are volunteering to help students with special needs at the Eagles Community Center, formerly Mesa Junior High, on 828 E. Broadway Road. azcentral, "LIVE updates: Thousands of teachers, supporters walk out for more education funding," 26 Apr. 2018 The couple were learn to learn more about a program supporting kids with special needs through equine therapy. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Wore a Men's J.Crew Coat on the Royal Tour of Morocco," 26 Feb. 2019 For four years, Cavanagh, then 52, taught special needs students in the district; her daughter, Kaitlin, had graduated from Marblehead's high school. Carrie Battan, Good Housekeeping, "This Is How It Feels to Be the Parent of an Opioid Addict," 12 Jan. 2018 The decision means financial support maxes out at $363 a month (less for each additional child) versus their foster-parent counterparts who receive between $500 and $703 (up to $1,500 for special needs children). Marcus Harrison Green, The Seattle Times, "Grandparents raising grandkids say they need more help from Washington state," 28 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'special needs.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of special needs

1899, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

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The first known use of special needs was in 1899

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More Definitions for special needs

special needs


English Language Learners Definition of special needs

: mental, emotional, or physical problems in a child that require a special setting for education

special needs

noun plural

Medical Definition of special needs

: the individual requirements (as for education) of a person with a disadvantaged background or a mental, emotional, or physical disability or a high risk of developing one Some urban homeschooled kids, particularly those with special needs, were previously enrolled in school but not served well there.— Linda Perlstein, Newsweek, 6 Feb. 2012

Other Words from special needs

special-needs adjective
special-needs students

More from Merriam-Webster on special needs

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with special needs

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