Words matter and some words can really hurt.
One such word is the r-word. How often have you heard it casually tossed around?
The Special Olympics has started a campaign to end the use of r-word and today, March 7, has been designated as the day to spread awareness to end the derogatory use of the word. Ellen Seidman of Love That Max and, like myself, the mother of a child with disabilities, has made this video
As Ellen writes,
Ultimately, this isn’t just about a word—it’s about respect. It’s about getting people to consider kids and adults with cognitive impairment equal members of society. It’s not about censorship, either; it’s about starting a conversation on how people can better treat Max and others like him.
Max has enough challenges to overcome in life without being haunted by ghosts of stereotypes past. As his mom, I want to give him every possible advantage. If asking people to not use a word could help my son in some way, you bet I’m going to ask.
Eliminating the r-word isn’t just about =”watching what you say.” It’s a call to remind all of us to take a moment and think: What negative images, what stereotypes and hurtful pre-assumptions, do we harbor about individuals with intellectual disabilities, consciously and unconsciously? Do we hesitate before taking a seat next to someone who might be rocking or flapping their hands; who is a teenager and is watching a Barney video on his iPad?
A Care2 petition calls for an end to r-word and, as of this posting, almost 260,000 people have signed a pledge calling for the same. Please join in the campaign to end the use of the r-word and help in the effort to make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities.
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