There Are Better Words To Use: End The R-Word

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Folks, why oh why is the r-word still spoken in cavalier conversation? I honestly hear it every single day, used to describe behavior, people, and situations. This word is offensive, ugly and carries a great deal of ignorance and insensitivity to the special needs community.

It’s easy to put this word to rest. Simply think before you speak.

I don’t believe you are a person, who would openly insult, offend or hurt people like my daughter; so I have to believe you just need to be enlightened. Each time you use the r-word, you are condoning the use of a word that defines people like my daughter as being less, broken, damaged, and stupid. I am informing you today. PLEASE hear me; STOP using the r-word!

There are an abundance of adjectives in the English language, there is no need to keep using the r-word as one. Today, make the effort, think before you speak and finally put an end to this word in our vocabulary. If not for me, please do it for her.

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What Will Tomorrow Bring?

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I think the hardest thing about being a parent is accepting no matter how badly you want to, you will never be able to give your child everything they need.

I’ve known this reality since the day of Olivia’s diagnosis, but I never truly accepted it. I guess somewhat, in a distant part of my mind, denial became my safety net.  By not fully accepting the diagnosis, maybe cerebral palsy wouldn’t affect her to the capacity predicted. 

I know it sounds completely crazy, but as a parent, how do you wholeheartedly accept that your child will have limitations for the rest of their life? You might put your best face forward and learn everything there is to know about the future possibilities. You attend all the therapy appointments, physician consults, support meetings, etc, etc, etc. You become an advocate, bringing awareness and blogging about raising a child with cerebral palsy. You do the absolute best, that you possibly can; to understand everything there is to know about this incredibly selfish condition, that has robbed your child of their independence.

It’s been a bit of a high wire act finding the balance between all of it. In the end, hope is all you have left.

Hope is an incredible gift. It has the ability to inspire and fulfill the sometimes empty feelings of despair. It’s not fueling your mind of miraculous occurrences because that would be setting yourself up for a big let down. Hope is allowing yourself to believe that tomorrow has possibility. Tomorrow a cure could be found. Tomorrow a technological breakthrough could discover a way to give my daughter her legs back. Tomorrow, maybe just maybe, cerebral palsy won’t touch another family.

#hopefaithlovecerebralpalsyawareness

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How I Approached A Co-worker About Using The “R” Word

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We are all at fault of the occasional slip of the tongue. You know what I mean, the accidental swear word that slips out in front of your kids or the sometimes awkward “foot in the mouth” incident. We are human and we all make mistakes. But what if the word we are saying, holds a stigma of damaged, broken, delay and downright negativity surrounding being different.

The word retarded is used so casually by some in day to day conversation. You hear people saying it in reference to foolish behavior, music, television, etc., you name it, and I bet you have heard it used in many different contexts. 

Let me tell you where it was derived from. It came about as a means of defining an individual’s mental disability. It’s a word, in my opinion, that holds a great deal of disrespect.

I am a mother to a child with severe special needs and have had the “R” word said to me in reference to my daughter’s disability. I will never forget that moment, it will forever be burned into my memory. Thinking about it still turns my stomach into knots, but I have taken away a positive approach to educate anyone I hear using it.  This is exactly how I handled a co-worker who used it in a conversation with me.

I calmly interjected our conversation with, “do you know my daughter Olivia has Cerebral Palsy?” This was completely off topic, but I wanted her undivided attention. I continued to share with her our story of a lady who asked me, “is your daughter retarded?”. I explained how that word, the “R” word, holds so much disdain and disrespect and I would appreciate if she refrained from using it.

Never did I witness someone so remorseful. She felt terrible and apologized perfusly. I told her there were no hard feelings, but appreciated her apology. By sharing our story, my hope is it will forever be tied, in her mind to that word. I hope every time the “R” word pops into her mind, an image of my daughter follows. She will see her beautiful face, bright smile and loving eyes and remember how this one word disrespects, insults and holds a great deal of ugliness.

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And I hope every person who reads this post will learn from it, make a positive move forward, and spread the word to end the word! Let’s be change folks! Look at that beautiful face. Doesn’t she deserve to live in a world where being different shouldn’t mean being delayed, damaged or broken? Because each time you use the “R” word, whether or not you realize it, you are championing that notion.