Town Square

Disability Pride Month: Advocates feel the phrase ‘special needs’ has become a derogatory term, prefer the phrase be eliminated completely

In honor of Disability Pride Month and the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, experts and advocates discuss the importance of the visibility of those in this community, and how we should be working for a shift in the way we think.



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Town Square with Ernie Manouse airs at 3 p.m. CT. Tune in on 88.7FM, listen online or subscribe to the podcast. Join the discussion at 888-486-9677, or @townsquaretalk.

Is it ok to use the term ‘disabled’? A disabled former public affairs specialist for the National Council on Disability thinks so. There’s the belief that the word is necessary in that it connects members of the community through a common history — a lineage of those who fought, protested, and persisted. But when it comes to using the term ‘special needs’, there’s a different view.

One law, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed 32 years ago on July 26, 1990, was put in place to insure that those with a disability are afforded the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

In this episode, we are talking about the rights of those who live with a disability, and what changes society needs to adopt to make a more inclusive world.


Carson Tueller (Paralyzed from the chest down)

  • Motivational speaker, coach, and activist

Lawrence Carter-Long (Born with cerebral palsy)

  • Former Public Affairs Specialist for the National Council on Disability

  • Director, Discourse & Development at DisArt, and Founder of #SayTheWord

Vivian Shudde

Eileen Edmonds

Kevin Kern


Town Square with Ernie Manouse is a gathering space for the community to come together and discuss the day's most important and pressing issues.

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This article is part of the podcast Town Square with Ernie Manouse

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