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Make a Difference
People use the R-word, retarded, carelessly or as an insult. Here are stories about ways we've dealt with it.
STEPHEN F. COSTON
When I attended elementary school to high school from the late 60's to the 70's, a lot of my peers called me the R-word.
Nichole M. Shewbert
Growing up I was called a retard in school and by my peers. Today, I teach students math.
Recently I heard my dad say the r-word. It bothers me, because I have a younger sister with Down syndrome.
I love my cousin and I can't imagine life without him. I thank God he let us keep him!
Shawn was at one my school functions and he was called the R word without me knowing and came home in tears asking mom if he was "retarded."
I used to get called the R word every day at my old job. The guy had autism too, and he thought it was funny.
My experiences have reinforced my pledge to never use the R word and to discourage those around me from ever using it.
My son Brian has been diagnosed with Down syndrome.
One of my best friends when I was about 6 years old was Charlie Boy. He had Down syndrome, and he was funny, kind hearted and loved to play with me and my younger sister.
Coby Jane has Fragile X syndrome. Every day is a struggle, but she takes it all in stride with a beautiful smile upon her face.
Sheena West Jennings
Alicia Dudow, now 46 years old & contary to doctors who at the age of one advised us to place her in a facility since she would never be able to be independent, she has proven all wrong.
Some boys at my school called the special needs children "retards" that really hurt me.
Growing up, I was taught to never demean others because of their differences. I always tried my best to respect those with disabilities.
Willis Junior High's Best Buddies Program in Chandler, Arizona has been doing an incredible job with their Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.
In 2015, my daughter was diagnosed with a rare chromosomal deletion. She is now nearly two years old, she is my love, my life.
bee a special education teacher
My godfather's sister had Down syndrome. She never went to school. Catherine was my big sister I never had.
Had a nominal FB friend post an ableist meme on his page. I told him it was the visual version of calling someone retard and please to think before posting such things.
I am a 43 year old mother of 18 year old twin girls. When they were in the first grade, they were tested by the county school system and legally label "mentally retarded".
There is a group of kids, that only use these words because they know that i am against it. How do i help them understand the deeper meaning behind these words?
I was at school and I heard my friend Harrison say the r-word when I told him not to say it he asked why.
I should have known then, that the word would become one of the 'should be abolished' words. Words hurt more than blows.
I try to stop everyone around me using these words, but to stop it completely is a much larger battle that needs a lot more people to stand together.
I have trained numerous of my friends to not use the R-Word and have taught them the damage it truly does.
I, sadly, suffer from anxiety and depression. When I have panic attacks, everyone just stares and sometimes, they laugh.
My inspiration is a group of special ed kids that I work with at my Middle school. They are often made fun of on the bus and come home upset. I would like this word to be prevented because it is not a friendly thing to say to people.
Our school held the Spread the Word to End the Word awareness day in March.
It really sickens me to see people indirectly bullying people with a disability.
The R-Word has affected many people in this world and my school has taken action on it.
My daughter, a sister, granddaughter, friend, student, Special Olympics athlete, animal lover, reader and oh so many other things.
Growing up I always heard kids around me using the r-Word, little did they know that I am on the Autism Spectrum.
Pashence Rose Aaby
Stop bulling just because we are different we are just like you and we don't need to be put down
In honor of my daughter Lidea...who is special needs. This is for all other with challenges. They should all be accepted like all others and never have to hear the "R" word!
Abigail and Sophia Smith
My cousin has a disability. When he was born he had many operations, more than I can count and it affected the way he talks and eats and breathes.
My son stutters. All through his school years he was made fun of. I would volunteer at the school up until high school.
my best friend is named Haley, she is a 13 year old who has Down syndrome. there are boys in my grade who call her the r word
My girls have spoken to their school and area schools and churches for the second year to get kids and adults aware of spreading the word. They do this on behalf of their sister, Chelsea.
My son has mental and physical disabilities and to me he is not stupid or dumb but one of the smartest people I've ever known he is my special blessing from God. God don't make junk
Her name is Adia. It means gift from God in Swahili. She is.
Every person in the world deserves a little kindness shown toward them.
I've never let that word used in my home. We have friends with handicapped children - It always felt wrong and unacceptable.
I was a counselor for people with mental challenges.
It started in middle school everybody would call me mean names even the r word I'm like going to the principles office but they didn't do anything.
Sister Clarice Korger, O.S.B.
I pledge for my nephew, because he is AWESOME! I pledge for students that my housemates work with. EVERY human being should be treated with RESPECT.