Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Take on the R Word...

"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." Elwyn Brooks White

The R word bothers me. I don't think I ever really thought it was a nice word to use when describing something negatively. Even before I had Kendall. And for me, personally, I would never have written that word down on Facebook, or used it in a professional environment. That's just because I know it can be a hurtful word. I think it makes the person using that word sound insensitive and ignorant. But I know I've used that word before. Many times. Out loud. In front of family and friends, and never really thought twice about it. Until recently.

I've heard my friends say it, and their kids. I've seen people make the gestures or the "sound effects." Again, I think it makes those people sound uneducated. That's their problem. I can't control people's comments, or what they say around their kids, or what their kids say. Depending on my mood, I may or may not voice my opinion. But I will only do it once. If I tell you that that word upsets me (and my husband) as a parent of a child with special needs, and you continue to use it. You suck. And I'm over it.

It recently came to my attention that when Kendall starts school at 3, in our public schools, she will have one of two labels. Autistic or Mentally Retarted. So, if in her file, that word describes my daughter, and my son knows that, then hears an adult use the R word to describe something "dumb" they've done, or calls someone the R word as a noun derogatorily, how do you think that makes us feel?

Look, I'm not an overly sensitive person. I think everyone is entitled to their freedom of speech. But if you've taken the time to get to know our beautiful, special, loving daughter, you would also think twice before using that word. It hurts.









8 comments:

ANewKindOfPerfect said...

It was hard to see that term on my daughter's very first IEP. It says "Profoundly Mentally Retarded". OUCH.

Your daughter is beautiful. Label or not!

Jessica said...

I think I'm your #1 fan....you are AWESOME!!! Love you all!!!!

Terri Limon said...

The only "R" word I see when I look at Kendall is "Remarkable" :)Just remember that a labels only define a condition; they will never define Kendall. Besides, she already has the most important label of her life: "Jocelyn's daughter" :)
Take care!
Terri

Bronx Cataldo's said...

Wow I didn't think they could put that on the IEP here they write a pre-school child with a disability and now Finnian is labeled a school agaed child with multiple disabilities.

jocalyn said...

yeah, i think texas is one of the only states where that is used on iep's and ard paperwork...go figure.

TMI Tara said...

I LOVE this. I agree 100%. Do you care if we share this on kidz?

Jennifer said...

Just for future reference, you do NOT have to allow them to put the MR label on IEPs in TX. If scoring comes up 70 or below, I think diagnosticians just automatically assume the code is necessary. But it's not! You, as a parent, have the right to deny it. It may become a fight, but if you don't agree, it's worth it. They'll tell you everything under the sun about why you should have the code--you'll get more services is their big one!!! But, you don't need the MR label to get more services in school! Plus, TX legislation--as well as federal--is trying to remove "mental retardation" from the language. I think they want to replace it with "intellectual disability".

From what I understand, the MR issue doesn't arise until school age. In PPCD they typically only have the other codes like SI (speech imparment), OHI (other health impairment), etc. In the district I worked in anyway. In the school district Wade will be in, he is just coded OI, SI, OHI. I will NOT allow the MR code.

Way to go standing up against the "R" word though! It does hurt!

Reagan Leigh said...

I think I'm a little less sensitive when it comes to this subject. I don't like people using it as a derogatory term...obviously. But realistically the word itself just means delayed! It is what it is. I hate the idea of someone referring to my daughter with that word but in reality, as much as I hate it, it's still true...right now, at this point in time, she still extremely delayed.