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 officer, who has not been identified, was unaware that the teen has special needs, the department said in its release. NBC News, "Father says son with autism was slammed to ground, punched by officer," 23 Apr. 2021 California residents Jeff and Amber Moffitt are parents to six kids, three of which are adopted and two of which have special needs and require round-the-clock care. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Drew and Jonathan Scott Transformed This Family's Garage Into a Therapy Room," 17 Apr. 2021 The couple was with their children, -- Rikki, 2, and Daniel, 7, who has special needs -- after spending Passover in Florida. Fox News, "Spirit deletes tweet claiming toddler mask incident never happened after video surfaces," 7 Apr. 2021 Her three teenage stepchildren have special needs and require constant attention — like help going to the bathroom and navigating online school. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, "Pandemic exposed ‘fault lines’ for women in the workforce. What could spur recovery.," 19 Mar. 2021 And in addition to the usual aircraft requirements for servicing and maintenance, the Reaper has other special needs. David Hambling, Forbes, "U.S. General Says Unmanned Aircraft Need Too Many People," 5 Mar. 2021 Adoptive parents who qualify financially get monthly stipends of $800 a month; the amount is more if a child has special needs. Arizona Republic, "Families for thousands of foster children go without state stipend as DCS switches computer systems," 26 Feb. 2021 Bianca Davila knew early on that her youngest child, Jordan Castillo, had special needs. Krista Torralva, San Antonio Express-News, "UTSA study: San Antonio area charters see more student movement from school to school," 8 Feb. 2021 But Allen, whose youngest son has special needs, couldn’t imagine voting for a Democrat, either. Haisten Willis, Washington Post, "In neighboring Georgia counties, election revealed a growing divide that mirrors the nation," 30 Nov. 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

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Special needs.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/special%20needs. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on special needs

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