Spread The Word To End The Word 2015

Today is THE day. It is the annual Spread The Word To End The Word day of awareness and action. PLEASE visit www.r-word.org and take the pledge to end the use of the R-word.

I have never liked the word “retard” or any variation of it. When I was in seventh grade, I was blessed to start volunteering in the Special Needs classrooms in my middle school. In high-school, I spent a lot of time in the nurse’s office learning about anger management, and in detention, because when I heard that word I usually punched the person. When people used that word they were talking about people that I loved and considered friends, and YES in my day they were talking about the students in the LD, ED and BD classrooms.

Fast-forward 25 years and people use the word about EVERYTHING they don’t like, consider stupid, think is less than, etc… Some people when you explain why the word is upsetting will apologize and stop using it. Others defend their right to use it, because they aren’t talking about anyone specific and it’s “just a word.” I have people in my own family that feel this way. The first thing I ask them is how would they feel if someone called Beth the R-word. Well, no surprise that is different, and they would be angry. Well, there is NO DIFFERENCE between using that awful, disrespectful word flippantly or directed at a specific person. It is the same word, and spreads the same horrible perception that anyone (or anything) described by that word is less than. It is INSULTING and HURTFUL to people with special needs, as well as their families.

I have lost friends, and no longer speak to certain family members, because they refused to stop using that word. It makes me sad that people cannot see the damage they do with “just words.” Every year so many young people take their own lives due to “just words” they could not handle hearing anymore.  I am raising my girls to stand proud in the face of ignorance. I am teaching them that “just words” have a VERY strong impact on people. I am teaching them to talk to (and about) everyone with Respect and Kindness. As I tell my children EVERY day, if it would make you sad, then don’t say/do it to (or about) others.

PLEASE go now and take the Pledge to End the Word. Then share with your friends and family.

There are two posts that I read this morning, that are phenomenal, and really describe why people need to STOP using the R-word (and all it’s variations), MUCH better than I can. Please take the time to read these two posts:

So, what do you say when someone uses the word “retard”?

End The Word

***Addition of Another post, because I LOVE it and it can be so useful to provide people with alternative, more respectful words.***

225 Substitutes for the R-Word

FB Cover created by www.r-word.org

FB Cover created by http://www.r-word.org

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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The C Word

While I respect everyone’s right to their own opinion, when you talk/write about any Autistic individual, especially my daughter, there are two words that will awaken indignation in me. The C word is by far the worst; if you tell me about a cure for Autism, I cannot be held accountable for my actions. If you mention recovery from Autism, I probably won’t be much more rational.

In recent weeks, I have had complete strangers contact me about how to cure Autism, so I can help my daughter. I have also had friends, some of which have Autistic children, discuss similar topics. I thank God that I have been in Al-Anon for so many years, because the pre-Al-Anon me would not have been able to ignore (or politely respond to) such offensive contact.

I try VERY hard to be a positive example for my children. I try to lead by example and show them that we should treat everyone with respect, kindness and love. Unfortunately, I am human and when you say something so upsetting and outrageous, I sometimes forget to work my program. I think I need to print this up, and simply start handing them out to people who use these and other offensive terms:

Autism is an integral part of Beth, it is interwoven into every fiber of her being. Beth is exactly the person God intended her to be, there is NOTHING about her that needs to be cured or recovered! She is a whole person, who is amazing! Yes she struggles some days, but don’t we all? Her struggles are unique to her body’s neurology, but those struggles do not make her any less of a person. When people talk about Autistic people like there is something wrong with them, they are talking about my daughter and countless others like her, who add immeasurable magic to our world. It is INSULTING when so many special people are disrespected, and viewed in such a negative manner. EVERY person deserves to be treated with respect and kindness! Stop judging people who are different, embrace diversity, and love them for the extraordinary people they are. 

PLEASE THINK before you speak; try to imagine how you would feel if someone wanted to change you, or your loved ones. How would you feel if someone told you that you, or your child, needed to be cured or recovered? If you would be offended, like we are, then PLEASE don’t say it. Instead of spreading damaging stereotypes, PLEASE take the time to get to know an Autistic person. I promise it will change your life for the better, because there is a certain magic than can only be seen through their beautiful minds.

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Serenity Spectrum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.