1227139 tn?1462334630

The "R" word

I don't know if any of you have this struggle, but I seem to have it more now then ever in my life.  "Retard/Retarded".  Since Hunter was born and I became an advocate for Down syndrome it really has become one of my new struggles trying to educate people on the use of this word.  I try not to be a word police, but when someone uses this word inappropriately, I have to speak up.  Even before Hunter was born, I hated hearing people use the term derogatorily.  Now, because of Hunter, I speak up.  It's not that I feel I need to protect him, even if inadvertently I am.  I just feel that there are other choices for this word that can and should be used instead.  For me, the biggest challenge I have is trying to get one of my family members to stop using it.  For this member, it is so ingrained into her, such a bad habit, that she doesn't even realize she is saying it.  IE "He's such a retard" or "I am so retarded".  There is nothing cool about it, and it is purely offensive.  I have told her this time and time again, and every time she says it, I speak up and tell her not to.  When I do, she apologizes profusely, but it doesn't seem to stick!  Short of telling her, if she can't stop using the word I will have to stop talking to her - kind of hard though it's my mother in law....  Oh boy.  She is one of my largest supporters for all that I do for Hunter, so you would think this an easy "slam dunk".  But as I say, old habits are hard to break.  It's easy to me, the right words are Mentally Challenged, or Developmental Delay.
Has this been an issue for any of you?  And what do you do about it when it happens?
4 Responses
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363110 tn?1340920419
I don't like the word myself BUT I do not have a bad problem if someone uses it as long as it's not toward someone who does have any deficits if that makes sense.
if someone ever uses it toward my son they'll have H*ll to pay.
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Avatar universal
i too have been more sensitive to the word.  i have to say i am guilty of it in the past, growing up it seemed to be a word everyone used and it isnt right.  i try to not be a word police too, but i feel its important to just help others that are close in our lives that it isnt the right choice of words.  

i find that the older people i know use quite the cornucopia of offensive terms, and they dont feel its anything more than a description.  i think with time and maybe more education, people will see it isnt a word that should be used but then again the "n" word and many other hatefull terms are still used daily.  

i keep telling myself i need to desensitize myself, to not be overly aggressive when hearing this term.  i will continue to let others i dont care for it, but try to be more understanding maybe?  i dont know, im very emotional the past several days as my due date gets closer.
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1227139 tn?1462334630
Oh wow, that will be a learning experience.  In the end, hopefully it will make everyone a better person.  I know it certainly made me a better one!  I have a cute link for teaching kids about Ds, it is however directed at a younger age group... not great for teens or older kids.  Cute though.
You can find it at:  http://downtownds.com/kidzone.html (I think it takes you right to the page, and you just have to press play.)  
Hopefully your teens will come to be advocates themselves, if their sibling ends up having Ds, I often hear how protective the older siblings become, and do it all on their own accord - not from a parents push.  I guess it can go either way though, some teens may be uncomfortable with it at first just like any adult.  It's a learning curve for everyone!
Helpful - 0
715068 tn?1392933532
I also HATE that word!  I have 2 teenagers & they seem very comfortable using it.  I spoke to both of them yesterday about the possibility of their new sibling having ds.  I was very shocked to learn that neither one of them had any clue what it was.  Ds was something that I was very aware of at a young age, my mother had a daycare & provided care for 2 children w/ds.  I did not know the full scope of 'issues' but was aware of the disability.  My oldest son (15 yrs) actually asked me, How did the baby get that?  I thought you had to drink alot of alcohol to get a ds baby.  Overall, no matter what our personal outcome may be, this will be a learning experience for the entire family.
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