As you might know, people with developmental disabilities have impacted me in a way I wouldn’t have expected five years ago. I didn’t understand what it meant to have special needs and I didn’t know what a friendship might look like. As ashamed as I am to admit that, I think there are other people out there who don’t understand either. (I haven’t shared a lot about my own experience with this on the blog yet, but don’t worry, I will.) Having said that, in honor of April being Autism Awareness Month, I talked to one of my friends, Rob, about his autism, hoping to help those of you who, like I used to, have a fuzzy idea of what autism is. (You can find Rob on twitter @wwerob.) First of all, I asked Rob about what words people use that might be offensive. Obviously, everyone has their own opinion of what is hurtful, but I think Rob’s answer makes a good point. He said that it isn’t about which word you use, but it’s about how you use it. If you’re doing your best to respect people, that intention will shine through the way you say things. That is, with the exception of the r-word. Clearly, the use of this word is disrespectful. In Rob’s opinion, calling someone the r-word is like saying they are “dumb”, “an idiot”, or “not worth anything.” It has become an extremely hurtful term and there is no reason why it should be used … Read More
Today is the Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign. The label “retard” or “retarded” used to be the acceptable term to call someone with intellectual disabilities. But over time, our culture has turned it into a derogatory term meaning “stupid” or “dumb.” When you use the R-word, you are taking part in labeling a group of people as “dumb” and “stupid” because they are different. Please stop using the R-word. Sign the pledge at http://www.r-word.org/r-word-pledge.aspx And share this post to support ending use of the R-word.