This term has come to mean a lot over the years to many people, since the start of the special education movement. There are many classifications of special education, and special needs classes today. Most notable are the two main classifications of Learning Support or Learning Disabled and Emotional Support… However, all are classed under the term of Special Education or as some seem to like the term “SpEd“.

I do not like the term SpEd… I find it very derogatory… I should know, I was one! I know what it means and the hurtful remarks that follow it… I know how I was treated because I was in the “Special” class and I know how other in my class where treated because of it.

From the Urban Dictionary:

  1. One who attends special education classes. 
  2. The special education program. 
  3. An insult used when someone does something stupid.
  4. A derogatory term meaning retard. 
  5. May also be used as sped sled, meaning the short little school buses all the special ed kids ride on.
  6. Sped” is a second form of retard. It’s commonly used but it is also really offensive toward “special” people.
  7. Often used in conjunction with retard.
  8. A retard.

A nice term don’t you think? It can mean many things to many different people. I take offense when children use the term even in “play“, and I REALLY take offense when adults use the term to describe a child or the program.

I was in the Special Education Program: Learning Support class, only because of my eyesight, not because I could not learn. I was an honors student thorough out school, earning Honors and High Honors, and even perfect attendance in 3rd grade.

I was “Main Stream” (That means I attended a “Normal” classroom.) for all core subjects except Math and English, in my case. I took computer programming in high school, and was a student computer technician to the Junior and Senior High Schools. I even studied for my Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certification.

Am I still a sped?

One of the greatest minds this world has ever known failed math, and could have been diagnosed as ADHD, if that term was around in his day… Do you know who it was? Albert Einstein.

So please… Don’t use the term SpEd. If you must, a term such as Special Education or Learning Support sounds much more professional. And teach your children it’s not all right to use such terms in a derogatory way.

Of note, I’d like to mention the blogs Ally in Wonderland. Ally is studying to become a Special Education teacher… And I’d also like to mention the blog Till the Short Bus, with her own play on words, who talks about her own struggles of raising a special needs child, and the trials of the special education program.

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