“You’re a retard.” People say this all the time, and many do not have malicious intent in saying it, but do you really know what you are saying? Do you know how it will effect my little brother who has Down Syndrome ? Probably not.
My brother Evan develops physically and mentally at a slower pace then the rest of us, but that does not mean he is any different than any of us. In fact, he is most likely better than most of us, myself especially. But maybe when you use this word you think you are just describing a situation or an action the you have deemed dumb, but this is not what the word means. Actually, as of 2010 the word does not really mean all that much.
In 2010 President Barack Obama signed into legislation “Rosa’s Law,” which, according to President Obama, “…amends the language in all federal health, education and labor laws to remove that same phrase and instead refer to Americans living with an “intellectual disability.”
Obama explained in his speech that the law stems from a 9-year-old girl with Down Syndrome named Rosa who accomplished this same idea in her own state of Maryland.
Intellectual Disabilities are not limited just to Down Syndrome, but any disability that affects intellectual growth and function. These disabilities are not rare, they can be seen all over. According to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, “approximately 6.5 million Americans” have some sort of an intellectual disability.
This blog is inspired not only by Evan but by all of the other 6.5 million Americans who can and are doing amazing things. Everyone is different, these are the people who happen to not only be different but also amazing. These amazing people will come from the East Valley area of Arizona, and hopefully their stories can inspire you.
Editor’s Note: If you are looking for something more to do to help out in a cause related to this check out www.r-word.org, an organization that is dedicated to ending this word.