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.