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Please join the Autism Society of North Carolina and many other organizations in the campaign to eliminate the derogatory use of “retarded” in common usage.  You might think that this isn’t very important, but consider this: words and how they are used can change attitudes, social policies and laws, and influence our feelings.  The civil rights movement effected a change in our language to eliminate the use of racial slurs—now we need to accord people with disabilities the same courtesies.  The Disability Rights Movement is working toward the same goal, beginning with People First Language.  Along those lines, the NC Legislature passed a bill last year to require People First language in all future laws.

Other organizations supporting this effort are the Autism Society of America, Autism Speaks, Best Buddies International, Council for Exceptional Children, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc., Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL), Disability Rights Center, Easter Seals, Arc of United States, First Signs, Inc., National Association of Councils on DD, and Special Olympics.  TV shows are getting into the act, too: a lead character on Scrubs was wearing a t-shirt with “Spread the Word to End the Word” on it!

As it says in IDEA, “Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society.”

Here’s the pledge: I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.


6 Responses

  1. Unfortunately, pledge pg. CAN’T be displayed on my PC!

  2. I would like to start a campaign to end the use of the word “autistic”. It angers me so that our children are labeled by this. Teachers, including special ed teachers, use it every day, and this is just wrong! My child has autism, he is NOT autistic. Autistic to me is just as offensive as “retarded.” We do not call children with cancer “canceristic”; let us get rid of this label. Children are defined by who they are as a person, not by anything that might impair them. I have migraines–they do not define me as a person. My son is artistic, not autistic!!! He’s a fabulous artist, that’s what I want him known as–along with his incredibly vibrant personality, his pure nature, and his ability to make everyone around him feel loved and happy. I would stop being offended by a word thrown out casually that is not meant to directly offend an individual and start worrying about the everyday purposeful usage of an antiquated label attached to our children on a daily basis that hinders other from seeing who they truly are!

    • Jackie: I understand what you’re saying exactly (and personally, I agree with you). We always encourage people to use People First Language, which means a person with autism, not an autistic person. However, I must also say that many people with autism do refer to themselves as “autistic”. I certainly can’t begin to correct someone with autism and how they refer to themselves. Because People First Language is new to many, I try to instruct people by my language. The words that we use DO matter, so it is important to change behavior–one person at a time! Good luck to you and your artistic child…who happens to have autism.

  3. My beautiful son is not r……., he is Autistic! You got my pledge! And I say NO to C.P.

    • Thanks for your support: saying No to the derogatory use of the r-word, and no to corporal punishment.

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