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People use the R-word, retarded, carelessly or as an insult. Here are stories about ways we've dealt with it.
I have intellectual disability and it not fair to say those words. I dislike that word. Lots of people used to call me that.
As I got older I realized that people were unconsciously using the R-word...and I was not okay with that.
A couple of years ago, a little boy with Down syndrome came into my life. I fell in love with him from the start.
My brother who is intellectually disabled once asked me, "why do people use the word 'retarded' to make fun of other people? That's what I am, isn't it? Why is that bad?"
I will fight ableism. The R-word is out!
I think that it's horrible that people will act so despicable towards people who are "not like them", as if they don't have feelings.
Heather Kylene Hillebert
When I was in 8th grade, some of my classmates would use the R-word offensively without knowing what it really means.
Growing up with a sibling with Down syndrome has its perks. My brother is one of the sweetest kids I've ever met.
For my girl scout silver award, I taught students at my school the meaning behind the r-word.
I can not believe how much society will segregate those who are special needs. It starts off right away as soon as they enter the school system.
Everyone is created differently. With different characteristic, different physically and different ability.
I lived in Lucasville, Ohio when I was a baby to 7 years old. My mom had a really hard time keeping me inside and out of the woods as soon as I started walking.
Yvette Pople Patil
While growing up there was not a day or person who wouldn't call me the R word even my family called me and it defeated my strength and my zest for a brighter future.
I live in Great Britain and many years ago the word commonly used for Down syndrome was "spastic" retarded was used as well.
When anyone used the word retard or retarded it was absolutely so hurtful, both when he was here with me and now to his memory.
Far too often, we choose words that dismiss individuals with different abilities, that dismiss their strength, their love, their vision, their endurance—how they survive even as they are knocked down.
Some years ago my youngest daughter (age 4) was asked "what's the matter with him?" about her brother's best friend.
Some years ago my youngest daughter (aged 4) was asked "what's the matter with him?" about her brother's best friend
I have never been very fond of the R-word in general especially because I knew people with disabilities.
I was 17 years old when my second baby brother was born (I am now 20). They changed my entire mindset and vocabulary.
Having a friend with a brother who has special needs made me very aware of how hurtful the word can be.
Hi my name is Emmanuel and I have a learning disability. Specifically I have trouble of process information, so I tend to learn at my own rate.
My mouth dropped but before I could spring into action a bunch of the other students corrected the student who had said the R-word.
In April 2016, Special Olympics leaders heard of a comedy bit that used the R-word in harsh ways. Here's how the story ended up in success.
My son passed away from a Leukodystrophy (disease of the brains white matter) called Alexander disease. I fight to end the word in his honor.
I have a son with Down Syndrome and many other difficulties and even family members say the r-word in everyday conversation.
Greg M. Gilrain
Having a brother with an intellectual disability made me take action at the North Penn High School which we both attend.
My school is doing a pledge and if you sigh the poster that says spread the word to end the word you get a bracellet that says it.
I know the people calling me the R-word coulden't come up with anything better. I told them to think first before they speak.
I've had an intellectual disability all my life and people call me retarded. It's a very offensive word and a form of hate speech
I have ADHD/ADD, as does my brother. I can tolerate being called something hateful but I would never ever let someone get away with calling him anything bad.
Every day people call me the R-Word just because I have Asperger's syndrome and it makes me feel like I do not belong in this world.
We live in an era where bullying has become public sport, where public figures and leaders from dozens of walks of life seem to believe that humiliation and viciousness are acceptable ways of communicating. Some think it’s funny. We don’t. We think it’s horrific and we’re asking you to help us stop it.
Thoughtful and powerful comments by John Franklin Stephens, a Special Olympics athlete from Virginia, were published on Huffington Post today.
As a young person, I used the word because I thought it was funny, but once my dad told me how one of his sisters was called by the "r-word" at school, it made me sick inside thinking about every time I said it.
Calling things "retarded" was a common practice for me growing up. All of my friends did it and it was funny to us.
As a teenager, my stepmother did not like me for being disabled. Sometimes I would do things incorrectly or slower because of my disabilities.
Our sister has cerebral palsy. She is the best sister, friend and fun to be around.
When I am out I look funny, moving awkwardly, and I hear kids say she is "R" and parents telling them what I am. It just brings me down as a person.
I was at the Boys and Girls Club and it was my first day, we were going around to the building and talking to the kids about not using hurtful words like the r-word.