Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The R-word

Okay, before I post my blog about my life changing weekend at autism camp, I need to first work out this adrenaline I have. A "friend" of my hubby's posted the Spread the word to end the word site today. Under it was the following comment:  LOL. Sorry but no. And saying retard is not like using a racial slur. Fuck people will complain about anything. 
Now, if that wasn't annoying enough, One of our mutual friends "liked" the post, and the other one commented "I completely agree." My eyes swim with tears because Chandler is playing a few feet from me with his blue ball. The word is like a nasty taste in mouth. Retard. It's not like a racial slur huh? Okay, Why don't you walk up to the parent of a gay child and say "fag", or a black child and say "what's up nigga?" Does that feel a little off? Maybe you don't know any families with special needs. My son has autism. And these people when they have to look at my face will say, "Oh I didn't mean your son." Who did you mean then? Because my other friends have children with PDD/NOS, Aspergers, William's syndrome, Smith-Magenis, Downs...? Which one? 
I'm tired of hearing people say that it is just a synonym for lame, stupid, or dumb. My child is none of those things either. I'm also sick of hearing that I'm being too sensitive. When you have to see children that are ostracized at school, that are taunted and called "retard", when it's your friends children, and people you care about, how would you feel? Many of my friends don't know a lot about autism. Chandler doesn't speak, so they think he doesn't understand. Many assumptions and myths, and stares. Sometimes I get very wrapped up in the education of strangers, but I am missing an important piece here. My friends that I don't see as often as my autism "family". You need to get how important this is to me. My child is smart, and funny, and totally handsome. He also has some things you don't. He picks up on vibes around people, he knows when people are nervous, sad, sick, and tense. He can hear things before you can. He knows what the weather will be. He has better balance than almost all children his age. He might even be smarter than you. When you think of a concept like red or mad. He feels all of it. None of the most powerful illegal drugs will get you to a bar of existence that he has. He interacts with his environment, and never judges anyone. Ever. Even when others stay away from him because they are afraid of what they don't know. When, as a parent, you hear assumptions, stereotypes, and watch as no birthday invitations come, and your phone never rings for a playdate, because all the other parents of kids in your child's class think "he probably can't understand", "it might be too overwhelming for him."...and you know that they realize this, even if they can't tell you. You watch comedians and celebrities do "the retard voice" and pretend that the person is a complete moron. Who are you imitating? Whose voice is that? Retard isn't a slur, huh? If my life is meaningful because I make it important to educate people to the beauty of neurodiversity, don't kick me in the face. You can talk to me, you can learn from me, but what happens when one of your children is born with a special need? Then will I be "too sensitive"?

1 comment:

  1. It's Learning Disability week here in England and this year the focus is on disability hate crime. The statistics are shocking http://www.mencap.org.uk/standbymesocial
    and ignorant language helps create an environment where these things can happen. Keep up your good work.