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  • Amy Flores

Why I hate the term “special needs”

Happy Summer!

As a disability travel planner and a parent of an adult with a severe disability, are you surprised I DESPISE the term “special needs”? Even typing it is making my jaw tense up.

It is not a complicated reason. Everyone has needs and everyone is special. PERIOD.

Therefore the phrase as a whole is meaningless.

The term “special needs” in the disability space is so disempowering, especially in the context it is mostly used in. Your unique needs are what make you… YOU!

Over 25% of the population has a diagnosis of some kind that needs accommodation. Now add in those who are not diagnosed or whose condition doesn’t fit into the “traditional accommodations''. All of us with mental health needs, sensory discomfort, dietary preferences, the neurodiverse, the LBTQ+ community, or those who are easily overwhelmed or anxious…(and so on…).

See really nothing ‘special’ about it.

Everyone has SOMETHING to consider (accommodate) in any situation. Especially in travel. I bring my own blanket, order off the pillow menu at the hotel, pack my go to snacks and over organize to be sure I have a pleasant experience.

I work with each client the exact same way - whether there is a visible need or not. I make sure we GIVE YOUR NEEDS POWER.

I just had a conversation with a “typical traveler” who admitted they were a bit weary of traveling since the pandemic and that travel just felt much more ‘triggering’ than before. He is now much more anxious, more easily overwhelmed with decision fatigue, and just dreaded the thought of travel planning. Of course, working with me can alleviate TONS of stress and anxiety, because I will share with you exactly what to expect and how to navigate travel with ease and flow.

Here are 4 simple things to think about that might take the edge off:

  • Know what kind of airplane you are booking. Are the seats in rows of 2, 3, or maybe 2-4-2 set up? If you know there is an option for a 2 seat row, no worrying about the “dreaded middle seat”.

  • Hate the thought of flying? I have been working with more and more clients to use train travel and they have been LOVING it!

  • Still anxious about travel? Travel overnight and sleep through most of your travel.

  • Plan early! Most who get wound up over travel tend to procrastinate to avoid making it real. Then you are stuck with fewer options and rushing into plans.

I want to hear what makes YOU special, as you stand tall and proud in OWNING YOUR NEEDS.

Life is hard, Travel can be easy,

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