Thursday, December 31, 2009


What a horrible word. I will have to say this word has to be my biggest pet peeve.
Three years ago my now 5 year old daughter was diagnosed with a Neurodevelopmental Disorder called Rett Syndrome. It quite suddenly robbed her of her ability to speak,use her hands and she lost almost every kill she had acquired up to that point.
Why? There is a gene on your x chromosome that controls your every movement and every thought. It's the regulatory gene for all other genes in your body. This gene doesn't kick on until you start walking,talking,eating and running. When a toddler really starts to become independent. If this gene if faulty.....then everything stops working.
The things my daughter can do take her a long long time. She has trouble eating,sleeping,digesting,breathing. She cannot speak. The list goes on and on
She looks completely normal. In fact..she's beautiful
In today's world there are many many people with syndromes and disorders that limit them. That keep them from being able to function in a typical or normal capacity. All these people have friends and family all around you.
1 in 100 people have some form of autism
Close to a million people in the US have Cerebral Palsy
1 in 800 people have Down Syndrome
There are hundreds of Neurological diseases or syndromes out there. Some genetic some by injury.
Is this funny? A joke?
In the last my daughter grows and it is more and more apparent that she is not typical I have become especially sensitive to this term.
Almost every time I go to a restaurant or a store of any kind I hear this word outloud used as slang. Used as a description for stupid,ignorant,ugly,silly or something non acceptable.
Over the summer my family was at an Applebees sitted next to a girl who was my daughters age. She was celebrating her birthday with her family. Little girls are hard for me. To see a typical child be able to walk and talk and sing and tell jokes makes my heart ache for what could of been.
At some point during dinner she was showing off and being silly. Something I would give anything to see my daughter do. She told a joke that made no sense and her mother announced that she was retarded and everyone laughed hysterically.
I was so sick I became physically ill and had to leave as I was sobbing.
In the parking lot I started to hyperventilate and had a panic attack. My husband walked back into the restaurant and pulled the father aside and told him how this word and their use of it had his wife in such a state that she was a mess in the parking lot. They apologized and seemed confused as to why we would even say anything to them.
Two different times at Walmart this week I have had to say something to someone. The first was in customer service when I heard that the line was retarded and walmart people are retarded.
Two days later in the movie aisle I turned the corner and saw a teenager with her father looking at movies where they passes the R word back and forth 6 times describing the movies and each other.
To me and to many many families like ours this is the same as using the N word,Chink,Spick or the F word in public or at all. It makes the person using it seem insensitive,moronic and completely lacking of any manners or social skills.
There is a law before congress to ban this term. It's called Rosa's law. You can read the story here.
There is also a very touching speech by a young man with a child who is challenged to to an illness. You can view this very moving speech below. Please educate yourself and show some empathy for others.


Kelly said...

Terri, this post was so touching. I know there are many of us who can relate to this so much....and hurt so much right along with you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri. I'm also the mom of a child with an Intellectual Disability. I've made the R word my focus in life. I challenge people when I hear it. I think we all need to speak up and not worry about offending the offender. Keep speaking out. It's all about one person at a time and together we can change the world.
Are you on Facebook? I created a group that asks Facebook to take down the sites that mock our kids (you'd be shocked at what exists on line. Walmart is tame compared to the internet). If you're on, join our group and help get the offenders taken down. It's called Facebook: Stop Allowing Groups that Mock Special Needs and Disabilities.
All the best. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

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