The problem may not be just one of labeling. Colin Ong-Dean, Alan J. Daly and Vicki Park have an article titled "Privileged Advocates" in the journal Policy Futures in Education. From the abstract:
Since the establishment of educational rights for children with disabilities in the 1970s, special education in the US has included a growing share of students and has constituted an ever-growing share of education budgets. Previous research has focused on the disproportionate assignment to special education of low-income and minority students, concluding that special education mainly reproduces social disadvantages. This article argues that privileged parents - by virtue of their ability to navigate complex legal and scientific practices and discourses that are seen as guarantees of fairness and neutrality in special education - are able to secure advantageous resources for their children through special education. Through analysis of the distribution and content of 'due process' hearing requests in the California special education system, this article shows how advocacy in this part of the system depends on parents' cultural and economic capital. Specifically, reimbursement claims in due process hearings show how having economic capital can be used to leverage public education resources, while parents' testimony in hearings shows the importance of having cultural capital. In concluding, the emphasis on parental involvement in both regular and special education is discussed and alternatives to the individualized system of rights in special education are considered.