Every time I hear the term “sped student” it absolutely makes my skin crawl. Not only is this not person first, it also automatically assigns an identity to the student being referenced. How often is the term “gen. ed student” used in reference to one particular student? I will answer that, rarely, or never.
Students are first and foremost, a student. Each with an educational path pebbled with resources to support growth. For some those resources might be language support, for others a gifted and talented program, some may meet with a counselor or social worker, while others receive intervention or special education services.
Each resource contributes to the educational identity of a student but it does not encompass it. They are also artists, athletes, scientists, readers, mathematicians, writers, scholars, and so on and so on. For EVERY student their educational identity is made up of all of their wonderful and unique characteristics, abilities, challenges, and experiences.
As educators we can lead the way and honor this by simply being aware of our terminology and recognizing that “sped” never belongs in front of student.
Further information in our Advocacy resources.