Every time I hear the r-word, it makes me cringe and it angers me at the same time. For those who do not know, the r-word is short for “retard” or “retarded.” The term was used in past generations to mean slowed down or held back. The term was also used in “mental retardation” as a way to describe someone who has a mental disability.
Nowadays, the word retard is being wrongfully used to negatively describe people with disabilities. Imagine an adult telling someone to look over toward the corner because there is a “retard,” or two teenagers arguing but one of them insults the other and calls him “retarded.”
I want to share with everyone this month that words can be very hurtful, and it shows how callous people can be. There are many people who are truly mentally challenged through no fault of their own. Developmental disabilities comes in all forms. It is very hurtful, disrespectful, and unacceptable to use the r-word to describe other people. I say this as someone who has a son with a developmental disability.
I recently had to scold someone for using the r-word, and instead of getting an apology, I got backlash. You know this person got a verbal lashing from me and was subsequently un-friended. Autism Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to learn about things such as the r-word, and I never back down from an r-word offender.
You must stand up for what you believe in and you will have support from the most unlikely sources. Please find the courage this month and every month to speak up for people with disabilities.
Thanks for listening,
Dad of Angel