I decided to do my post today instead of tomorrow because today is “Spread the Word to End the Word” day, a day dedicated to eliminating the use of the R-word. Last year, I talked about what led up to creation of the day, so today I thought I would focus on some stories that were posted on the official site. To me, they spoke to the significance of why we must work to change people’s perception and language about children and adults who are differently abled. There are many stories listed, but I found these to be especially poignant. See what you think:
“I began my involvement with Special Olympics Southern California over three years ago and began teaching early childhood Special Education to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder for what will soon be two years. These little ones have become the grace and teachers in my life. In years past and up to present day, I cringe every time someone uses the “R-Word”. It is such a downgrade and so extremely hurtful for the individuals who have changed my life. Therefore, every time I hear the “R-word”, I ask the person to think about what they have just said. I tell them my story and who this word affects. How it gives any individual with special needs such a negative connotation. How it is not a funny slang word, but offensive and demeaning. How by speaking kindly of others could give hope for a more positive future, and an end to the R-word.”
“I am a camp counselor at a summer camp for children and young adults with disabilities. To me they are the smartest, happiest people. It breaks my heart to hear of stories they tell me about people who call them names or bully them. I have banned using the R-word in my dorm room. Words hurt remember a human is a human despite a disability or culture. “The only disability In life is a bad attitude” – Scott Hamiliton. Get to know people with disabilities you will see that they are some of the most inspiring people ever.”
Read these and more here.
Do you have a story that you wish to share with us? I would love to hear it!