A special is a person whose DNA was altered so much by radioactivity (dust) that they are no longer classified as human by the human race. They are classified as biologically unacceptable. Specials cease to be part of mankind. John Isidore is a character we meet in chapter two. He is classified as a special.

A special human being is a person who has been altered by radiation. these people cannot reproduce because of the affect of the radiation. Not being accepted by the humans most are left on earth. the only salvation to being "normal" is to leave Earth and go to Mars.

Specials are also called Chickenheads, as we find out in chapter two, that John Isidore is a chickenhead. He fears if any new people find out about this, they may not socialize with him.

What is radiation?

People refer to other people as specials when they were hit by radiation and their DNA was changed so much that they were no longer considered humans by other humans. They weren't allowed to emigrated and they were discriminated and had a low self esteem because people looked down on them and they didn't treat them like humans because of the radiation that had hit them. They weren't allowed to emigrate and leave Earth to go and live on Mars.
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This picture shows an example of chicken heads as j.r isidore is portrayed in the androids book.