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Make A Gift, Change A Life
People use the R-word, retarded, carelessly or as an insult. Here are stories about ways we've dealt with it.
My friends don't know I'm autistic.
I didn't even know until a few months ago, but I always hated the r-word. It's derogatory, no two ways about it.
By Lillian Chaparro
People from this very day do not realize that using the r-word is very hurtful to us.
I was sitting at a table waiting for the program to start and and one boy got up from another table to leave, saying goodbye to his friend (another volunteer) with the parting words "go have fun with those retarded kids."
My friend K has Down Syndrome. She came up and asked me to tie her shoe. I tied her shoe. My cousin said "why are you tying her shoe? You shouldn't help retarded people."
I am currently 17 & in high school. For as long as I can remember, I've always been able to tell if someone had a special need, even if it isn't obvious. Ever since I could say "baby doctor", I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician.
So, I'm not disabled...well mentally at least. I have Aspergers Syndrome, a form of Autism, so there's people who use the r-word in a derogatory way towards me.
By maria acuapa
My brother taught me that no matter what health condition you have, you can be strong enough to prove to people that you are like them and they should not judge you for what you have but for what you know and can do.
For a long time I thought I could never have children again let alone one with Down syndrome....I didn't know he had Down syndrome until he was born...which didn't matter if I knew before that or after...I feel in love with him the moment I laid eyes on him.
This story came from a boy that is 14 year in New York on October 6th, 2015. This boy has a disability and at 11 years old he was treated like a monster at school, he was bullied everyday by boys who picked him up and thrown to the ground.
My sister deals with CP. People continually make fun of her for the way she walks. It's sad that people can't respect one another.
Thrown to the Ground
I have a deformed face, as people say. I was not born like that, but my face became like that when I was 11. I am now 14. I also have a leg disorder. Bullies pick me up, throw me to the ground, take my money.
My brother Derek is autistic and to most people that means he is slow, incapable, and below the average, however his description couldn't be any more opposite. He is the SMARTEST, KINDEST, AND MOST LOVING, person in my life.
I used to think that special needs kids weren't human. I would do my best to stay out of their way. Then one day in Gym, a girl with Down Syndrome came up to me.
"Would you like to run together?" she asked.
I have a learning disability, ADHD, and a speech impairment. I've been in a "special" classroom for math and language/reading. I have been called the R word and I become emotional when it is said.
While growing up in Australia the first thing I learnt was that people are incredibly uneducated when it comes to people with special needs. And horribly to this day my closest friends still cannot comprehend fully what it is like to live with someone who requires unique care.
Cindy ASD Mom
Our son has medical complexities and learning difficulties. He is an amazing, brave, resilient, funny, caring, thoughtful, cheeky, smart little man who seems to touch the lives of so many people and spread smiles wherever he goes.
My Uncle Tom has Down syndrome and was in the Special Olympics and won all gold. He even ran the torch for a little bit. He's a better athlete then I am and I'm so proud of him.
Words are choices, think before you speak and think about how YOUR words may hurt someone or someone's family member.
Carol H. Jewell
My sister-in-law, Heidi, has Down Syndrome. And she also has a fabulous, quick, sense of humor, can "run" the tv themesongs category in "Jeopardy," and loves the Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I love her very much.
Jordan was born in 1987. He was 6 when he died. He had developmental delays but he taught such great things. His love was one of an angel, he didn't know hate.
My name is Allyson I am 11 and I am all for kids with disablity's. They are my favorite people.
I know a girl her name is Skyler, and she has Down syndrome. She is one of those girls who can do everything. She is a great cheerleader and dancer.
i hate the r word. i always have. I'm 15 and when i hear say things like "aw i don't want to ride the retard bus." or "thats the retarded class room."
My best friend is in a wheelchair and has many difficulties in life. I have watched her struggle and see what the bullying of any disabled person can do to their psychological state.
The S2L group
Hello. We are a group of young adults with disabilities from Allentown Pennsylvania. Our group is the S2L group. We are associated with the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living.
we talk about the r-word everyday in the State of Maine. When people hear about the r-word they R excited everyday it wakes them up. They scream and yell and please let other people know what the r-word is.
My brother, who has autism and is high functioning, is very important to me and my family. As a 14-year-old, I know a lot of kids my age misuse the r-word and with that comes different scenarios.
I grew up with fraternal twins, one "normal" and one with Down's Syndrome. He protected us from the bullies with his strength and we protected him from the teasers with our double team.
I am 17 and I am autistic. I stim a lot (which means I flap my hands and yell and jump up and down) because I get very excited and happy sometimes. I am not intellectually disabled- Yet I have been called "retard" so many times from complete strangers.
I've transported to the hospital in the past month with the seizure, I heard the ambulance people use the R word. That really ticked me off so I decided to write a letter to the company that transported me the hospital.
I Don't Want People To Use The R-Word
Stephanie L Dougherty
Just like the R word Or N word the word Midget is offensive to Dwarfs or Little People. I try to educate parents through the children. The phrase sticks and stones is now incorrect.
My young cousin was born with Down's Syndrome. Her parents were told she would never walk, talk, feed or dress herself. Now she is a high school graduate, lives on her own, holds a full time job and attends college classes. She has her limitations but is not retarded!
My brother has Downs Syndrome and has participated in Special Olympics for years. He was an inspiration to me. I became a coach for Special Olympics myself. I support this cause to make people more understanding and open minded to those who are different.
I'm a senior in high school and have volunteered with the special needs community since about 7th grade. It's hard being an advocate for this cause as a teen because there is of course judgement and the "why do you care?" question.
Recently I've heard highly educated people I respect use the r word to describe distasteful, unenjoyable, and negative experiences/people. They rationalize that the r word is a medical diagnosis but I consider that view insensitive, ignorant, and privileged.
Anthony R. Folcarelli
In my early days (1950s) those who were mentally challenged, or suffered from some major physical handicap, were virtually hidden from society. For years our American culture lost out on the warmth, honesty, friendship, laughter, and unique personalities that now enrich our lives.
Children can be hurtful to each other., parents need to nip it and educate them as well as demonstrate the true meaning of empathy.
I was on a Skype group chat, I was asking who was who and they told me and one person called me stupid but the other called me retarded for not knowing who he was.
My friend Kathy became a teacher for special education and when I one day misused the R word, she schooled me. I have never since then used it, and in turn school others.
I could never call my daughter the R- word. She is special needs, always has been. But she is the most fun loving, happiest, honest, forgiving, nonjudgemental beautiful young woman I know. She has a been such a blessing to our family. I tell everyone I know " she didn't need us, we needed her"!!
My baby sister was born when I was 4 & not like other babies. She was born with Down Syndrome. It did't make me love her any less.
I have volunteered with people with special needs at my school for 3 years. I have not only grown to Learn about disabilities I have learned how to befriend people with disabilities. When I hear people use the R word it hurts.
People at my school call me the R word and more. It happend for 4 years straight it was so horrible.
I also thought they where my friend and then they said they hate me that hurt the most.