Blogger Widgets Ender-Chan's Thoughts: "Special Needs" Applies More to Temperament Than it Does to Disability

Friday, January 8, 2016

"Special Needs" Applies More to Temperament Than it Does to Disability

(Possible Trigger Warning: Ableist quotes with temperament in place of disability. This is intended to be humorous/satirical.)

Needing to eat, drink, excrete wastes, sleep, learn, live in adequate shelter, have society, be as emotionally secure as possible, and to have a means of meeting these needs are among the universal needs of humans. However, when those needs have to be met unconventionally, especially in the case of disability, they become "special".

The term "special"  means "specific for a person, place, or circumstance." Universal needs are not special needs no matter how they are met. Every human has these needs regardless of any other factors. The term "special needs" in reference to disability presents universal needs among the disabled as a foreign concept. Universal needs are universal needs regardless of who has them, how they are fulfilled, or which needs crop up at what time.

On the contrary, temperamental needs are not universal to every person, but are not called "special" needs. Most people recognize temperamental needs as valid although not everyone has the same temperamental needs. Temperamental needs are more "special" than disability-related needs as they are specific to one's temperament. However, most people accommodate the temperamental needs of others and discuss temperament in order to bridge rifts and promote morale in businesses. I have never heard of anyone being actively discriminated against based on their DiSC type or MBTI. However, discussion of disability-related needs, which are in direct correlation with universal needs, seems to create rifts between others rather than bridge them. Discrimination based on disability is more common than discrimination based on temperament. (I can't use statistics for effect because I don't have empirical data on this.)

I have also never heard anyone say the following:

"Oh, you're supine? That's such a pity. I had a relative who used to be a supine, but with (arcane pseudoscience/therapy/hard work/abuse), s/he became (other temperament).

"You're not a real sanguine. I know X, who is a real sanguine."

"You must be a very high-functioning phlegmatic."

"It's 'person with melancholy,' not 'melancholic!"

"I could see why X murdered their choleric child. Cholerics are such a burden on society. These pseudo-choleric 'advocates' have no idea what they're talking about. Haven't they walked in a parent's shoes?"

I see less active perpetuation of negative temperamental stereotypes than I do with disability stereotypes. Sure, there are negative temperamental stereotypes, but they are strongly discouraged and are rarely used to attack others. Temperament enthusiasts also take into account other factors that can play into making the individual such as upbringing, physical health, life experiences, gender, age, and other factors. With disability, however, diagnostic overshadowing leads one to overlook these factors along with temperament.

Diagnostic overshadowing can lead one to believe that temperamental characteristics are parts of a disability/illness when they are not. A choleric and a phlegmatic with the same condition will manage it differently. The choleric goes about their life with great levels of alacrity and energy no matter their
 circumstances while phlegmatics are more laid-back. Diagnostic overshadowing would lead one to believe that the said choleric's illness is "not that bad" when the choleric is just using their internal motivation to work around their illness. Meanwhile, the phlegmatic's fatigue may look like the main
issue when it is not. The choleric's temperamental needs are control and dominance, which a
phlegmatic avoids because assertion taxes their energy reserves.

My question is: Why are disability needs considered "special" and dismissed when they are just about how universal needs are met when temperamental needs, which are not universal, are considered and validated as actual needs?  I am an autistic choleric-sanguine, not a choleric-sanguine with autism or an autistic with choler and sanguine. My autism-related needs are as valid as my choleric-sanguine-related needs. These parts make the whole I am. Take away either part and I will not be who I am. My need for control is more "special" than my need to avoid foods that will make me vomit. I wish for all needs to be respected as valid no matter what they are and how they are to be met.


  1. This is quite the interesting read and brings up some very valid points! I'm seeing a little bit of, "I am not just my disability" in here!

    1. As I read this over, those were my exact sentiments.


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