A Closer Look At Stereotypes: Special Needs Can Be Stereotyped


A look into the special needs classroom at OLHS

Bella Hazlett, Staff Writer

Autism, ADHD, ADD and Down syndrome. All of these special needs can be stereotyped. But there’s a rare genetic disorder out there; only one in fifteen thousand babies are born with it. Phenylketonuria, or PKU.

I actually have this disorder myself. It is rare, so I’d like to raise awareness about it. I’d like to raise awareness about special needs in general. Hopefully those of you who read this article will understand. Understanding is acceptance.

Stereotypes. We’ve all stereotyped someone with special needs. People assume autistic people are annoying. They’re really not. They’re just different. People just don’t understand what autism is like. I seriously wish people would be nicer to special needs people. The world wouldn’t be so scary if people were nicer.

We need to learn more about special needs and genetic disorders. Health class is personally not enough. In my case, I felt that people did stereotype me; I just didn’t know it at the time. Autism is definitely stereotyped. I know there are people at Liberty on the spectrum. ADHD (which I also have) is also stereotyped. People assume that others can’t pay attention. Vision is another issue. People assume that blind people can’t see anything, but visually impaired people have a great sense of hearing to help them stay safe in dangerous environments.

“I guess people assume special needs people can’t do things,” Tori Clark ’20 says.

Aside from special needs stereotypes, there are many other stereotypes that exist. Lots of girls have been stereotyped for being in sports.

“I’m in soccer, so I’ve been stereotyped for being a girl ad not being on the same level as the guys,” Clark says.

Being different is okay, but stereotypes are NOT okay! There are different ways to prevent people from stereotyping you.

“I think you can let them know they need to stop,” Clark says.

However, some people believe you can’t stop stereotypes.

“I don’t think there’s a way to stop stereotypes,” Thompson says.

Mrs. Ebersole, a teacher who helps kids with special needs, talks about the many activities the kids do.

“We give back to the community,” Mrs. Ebersole says. “We go grocery shopping and do lots of fun things.”

I agree with her. The Powell community has to know that there are people with special needs out there. Then the world wouldn’t be as scary.