I have met many parents who think how horrible it is to have a child classified as needing special services until I explain a few points.
Special education is not who you are. It only says you have a need in some area. I ask parents to imagine their son or daughter playing football and running down the field. But, whenever the reach a certain part in the field they fall. A coach comes up to them and says what do you think of working just on that part of the field? It will take hard work, studying and then he turns and winks and leveling that part of the field. Leveling the field may simply mean giving your child a calculator while others do OK without them, it may mean having a test read, or providing a better learning environment for your child's success.
Special Education is a label to attain services, NOTHING MORE. Special Ed in America receives special designated funding from the state and federal government to help your child attain success in some way. Having your child labeled is the only way certain services can be provided for your child. Look at it as a label not on your child but on the services the school must now provide to help your kid succeed in life, and because you pursued getting these services, the school can now be sued for not providing the necessary tools for your child to succeed. For an IEP is a contract not only between the parent and the school, it is a legal document/contract stating what the school district MUST do to help your son/daughter.