Wednesday, March 7, 2012


today is "spread the word to end the word" day; the day that we ask everyone to take the pledge to STOP USING THE WORD RETARDED!!!!   guest blogger ashley, big sister to laura (one of wyatt's valentines) shares her thoughts on this subject in a recent blogpost from princess diaries:  notes from a daughter of the King!    enjoy.....and wyatt asks you to TAKE THE PLEDGE.....for HIM, LAURA, and their friends!!!!!!!!  

Ashley Quinn

It's a word I hear all too often. This word comes up casually in a conversation between friends. My heart drops suddenly when I hear this word. This word gives me strong feelings of anger and sadness whenever I hear it. This word makes me want to grab my baby sister, and hide her away from this cruel world we live in.

What's that word you may be wondering? The word is "retard" (or as I refer to it as "The R Word").

I think alot of people don't truly know what this word means. For some reason, people think it is a word to use lightly, and that it is okay make fun of people who are associated with this word. They feel the need to call their friends "retarded" when they are acting stupid.

Retard means "to be delayed".
Retarded refers to someone who is "delayed".

My baby sister has Down syndrome. Her name is Laura, and she's 2 1/2 years old. ( I have a blog for her that you can find HERE.)

Down syndrome (also known as Trisomy 21) occurs when a baby is conceived with one extra copy of the 21st chromosome. An "average" person has 46 chromosomes: 23 from their mom and 23 from their dad. People with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes.
Down syndrome causes people to be delayed in their speech, motor skills, etc. People with Down syndrome have distinct features that sometimes include creased palms, spaced toes (also referred to as "sandal toe"), curved pinky fingers, absent nasal bones, etc.
People with Down syndrome have a higher chance of:
-Being born with a heart defect.
- Getting childhood Leukemia.
- Getting early Alzheimer's.
and some other things as well.

In the medical world, individuals with Down syndrome used to be referred to as "retarded".
When people these days use that word, they are referring to someone or something that they think is stupid. When you use the "R" word, you are insulting my baby sister and every other individual with special needs even if "you don't mean it that way". If you call someone or something that you think is stupid "retarded" then people who are supposedly really "retarded" are stupid? No, absolutely not!
People try to excuse using that word by saying, "Oh, well, I don't think of Laura as retarded.", etc. Well, that's good because I know she's not retarded! Even if you don't mean it "that way", it hurts all the same. I try to be gentle with people when it comes to the "R" word because I know that most people don't mean it in "that way" or towards Laura or individuals with special needs. When I hear someone say the "R" word, I ask them not to use it and tell them why it hurts me. I educate them. It would be cruel to be mean to someone who didn't even realize the word was hurtful in the first place.
I admit.....I used to use the "R" word back before I knew Laura had Down syndrome. I am so ashamed that I did. It makes me sad to think of all the people I probably hurt by saying it. Now that I know how hurtful it is, it is my job to educate people on it.
Some people still choose to use the "R" word even after I educate them on it, and that hurts. Once you have been educated, you have no excuse anymore.

March 7th is "Spread The Word To End The Word". We, in the special needs community, are spreading the word about the "R" word to end the use of the word. This is something that is so very important to me. Will you please help me spread the word to end the word?

I would appreciate it. The special needs community would appreciate it. Most of all, Laura would appreciate it. Because it's not "just a word". It hurts. So come on.....

Let's spread the word to end the word!

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