Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Don't use the R-word

The R-word. Seriously, you have to have a better term, unless you're really just that incapable of coming up with anything witty. Because The R-word is not witty. It's not funny and it's not something you should use.

It's insulting to anyone who has developmental delays. It should be insulting to everyone. It is an outdated term and the R-word is no longer used in medical texts.

I "hear" it more often than I used to. I don't think it is used more often than it used to be, but I'm more aware of, or at least more sensitive to the true meaning.

I notice it when people use it perhaps because it stings.

It is hopefully unintended, but using that word as a joke is a derogatory way to talk about my daughter. You see, my daughter is blessed with an extra chromosome.

However, the R-word has changed meaning over time. Our language is a living thing and that medical term has become a joke and an insult.

It is no longer a medical term. The medical community recognized what the word had become and removed it from their descriptions of developmental delays.

The negative assumptions of her capabilities are what make it "funny." The things she works so hard to accomplish are summed up as a joke. Even today I am advocating to allow her to be involved in activities with typical peers because the world assumes she is not capable of being part of that world. That's the joke you are inferring when you use that word. The ha-ha, the funny. This is the history of segregating persons with developmental delay from the rest of society.

Don't pull my daughter out of the world because you cannot accept differences.

Most of all, don't use the R-word. Come up with something better.