Not to mention the fact that the phrase "special needs" is not en vogue, at least not in the States. Disability and special healthcare needs is a phrase that gets bandied about, because often a kid with asthma or diabetes isn't considered as having a disability but has an IEP or 504 plan and needs to be discussed. But "special needs", not so much. Special snowflake, if you must.
But whenever I start considering language, I start thinking about my own. I often claim that I--and other people with disabilities--are allowed to use non-PC disabilit-related language. We're fighting the fight, we have the right. However, my favorite term lately has been "had a spaz." My computer "had a spaz," the scanner at work "had a spaz." Now, spas is colloquially kind of an all-purpose word for people with physical disabilities--spastic limbs--but it most directly relates to people with epilepsy--spazzing--again in the slang. Can I say that because I had a seizure at the age of eighteen months that I'm allowed? Probably not. Constantly worrying about seizures, being on medication for them, losing control of bodily function because of them--none of that is something I've had to deal with.
So, I'm not a person with this disability. The word isn't mine. I could ignore that, but then would I be the reporter talking about a special needs mass? It's a thought.
In the mean time, I need something new to describe the freak-outs my computer has. Any ideas?