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

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 Long said Goodwill, among its other missions, assists senior citizens, provides temporary assistance to needy families and helps high school pupils with special needs find employment, in some cases at Goodwill stores. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, 17 May 2022 Babies with special needs, because they were born either prematurely or underweight, are always prioritized. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 13 May 2022 In some cases, those parents already were struggling to afford baby formula cans that can cost more than $100 each, said Elyse Bernal, the president of Any Baby Can, a nonprofit that offers access to care for children with special needs. New York Times, 10 May 2022 TERi’s mission is to change the way the world sees, helps and empowers those with special needs. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 May 2022 What education options exists for adults with special needs? Meg Dunn, CNN, 28 Apr. 2022 But Greene, whose top priority was helping families with children with special needs according to the Daily Journal, wasn't the candidate of choice for those far-right groups, so the dynamics of that race might have been different. Kaitlin Lange, The Indianapolis Star, 6 May 2022 Federal law requires students with special needs to receive a public education equal to that of their peers. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2022 Democrat Clay Aiken is out with his first TV ad, featuring a mother talking about Aiken helping kids with special needs. NBC News, 28 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near special needs

special master

special needs

special order

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Statistics for special needs

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Special needs.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/special%20needs. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for special needs

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

Other Words from special needs

special-needs adjective
special-needs students


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