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 The search for Tylee and Joshua began in November when Idaho police tried to conduct a welfare check on Joshua, who is adopted and has special needs. NBC News, "Video shows Lori Vallow's former husband telling police she 'lost her mind'," 20 May 2020 In Chicago, the struggle over how to serve students with special needs came to a head this week. Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica, "Families of Special Needs Students Fear They’ll Lose School Services in Coronavirus Shutdown," 20 May 2020 And so was Lori's son JJ, who has autism and special needs. CBS News, "Search for missing Idaho children reveals "no sign of life, no sign of death"," 16 May 2020 Momentum BMW has been also a proud supporter of Houston Children’s Charity’s annual gala for the past 13 years and most recently their Chariots for Children program that provides handicap accessible vans to families with special needs. Houston Chronicle, "Momentum BMW MINI relocates to newly renovated $52 million facility," 14 May 2020 Laurie Abrams: All kids do well with a schedule, but especially kids with special needs, listening issues and attending issues. Cnn Staff, CNN, "Thank You, Teacher: Dr. Sanjay Gupta's coronavirus podcast for May 8," 8 May 2020 Avery and Colby are healthy, with no special needs. Washington Post, "Two parents, two jobs, two young kids. One day after another.," 8 May 2020 Moreover, half of these top employers use an outsourcing business model to provide staff for third-party clients, rather than employing H-1B workers directly to fill a special need at the company that applies for the visa. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Six in 10 H-1B positions may be paying below the local median wage," 7 May 2020 New Avenues to Independence offers innovative programs and services to people who have Down syndrome, autism, mental illness and other special needs. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland, "New Avenues’ homes blossom with flowers from Petitti’s: Strong Points," 7 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for special needs

Time Traveler

The first known use of special needs was in 1899

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Statistics for special needs

Last Updated

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Special needs.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/special%20needs. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with special needs

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