Today (3-3-10) is R-Word day, where we are encouraged to "spread the word to end the word." The word being retarded. By definition retarded means "slow". The campaign here is to stop using the r-word in everyday speech. In CHARGE, the R stands for retardation, not always necessarily in brain functioning, but it can be in growth or development as well (Josh had growth retardation). Clinically I am sure this term will not change, but this campaign is to stop using the r-word in everyday speech as an insult. Some people are born with intellectual disabilities and using the r-word is offensive. Click this link to hear the support on this issue from John C. McGinley (Dr. Cox from Scrubs), he has a son with Down Syndrome.
And here is the site to pledge to stop the r-word.
When you go to the pledge site you can read an article by John C. McGinley that has some great points. He acknowledges that we have the right to say what we want as in freedom of speech of our first amendment, but this is also what he says:
"Verbally assaulting those who have done absolutely nothing wrong and cannot even begin to defend themselves, is an exponentially more egregious transgression. Only bullies and cowards pick on the defenseless. However, it does seem fair to assume that a vast majority of people who use the R-word (i.e. "Retard" and "Retarded"), are not even aware that their language is offensive and hurtful to members of the special needs community. And at the risk of being redundant, perhaps there is some value in setting the record straight: the R-word hurts! And it makes no difference that a person with special needs is not in ear shot when the word is spoken. Using the R-word perpetuates a negative stigma that belittles people with special needs. And the casual nature in which the R-word is now thrown about only makes the impact even more insidious and and the trickle down affect more persistent. The R-word hurts."
So spread the word to end the word!