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Your Stories

June 23, 2017 | North America: Missouri

The R word ranks higher than the F word in our family

By Marisa M.

Shawn was at one my school functions and he was called the R word without me knowing and came home in tears asking mom if he was "retarded."View Story ▼My oldest brother has Cornelia De Lange Syndrome, it's on the rare side of genetic disorders and he is on the milder side. Shawn went to the local state school, he functions on the higher side of those with disabilities and he knows what the R word is. Shawn was at one my school functions and he was called the R word without me knowing and came home in tears asking mom if he was "retarded." I never found out who said it but my friends heard about this so whenever he was with me at a school function, he had a small entourage of people that stayed with him to make sure it didn't happen again. We lived in a small town and from that day forward, no one said the R word around me and if it "slipped" into a conversation, there was a fast apology and they corrected themselves. To this day, everyone that knows me knows this is not a word that is tolerated around myself or my family. The R word is more offensive than the F word in my world!

About Marisa M.:I am a sister of a brother with mental disability and the mother of a son with Aspergers. We make sure we help the less fortunate & participate in charity drives for people with disabilities like Special Olympics
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June 20, 2017 | North America: Ohio

My name is jake and I have autism

By Jake Estep

I used to get called the R word every day at my old job. The guy had autism too, and he thought it was funny.View Story ▼I used to get called the R word every day at my old job. The guy had autism too, and he thought it was funny. All my life I got called the R word, either from a bully at school or work or even outside my home. My niece was just diagnosed with autism and I'll be damned if I hear the r word going towards her.

About Jake Estep:I have autism. I achieved a lot in life with autism. I got a real job in the community
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June 20, 2017 | North America: Illinois

Best Buddy Fun

By Lauren Ludwig

My experiences have reinforced my pledge to never use the R word and to discourage those around me from ever using it.View Story ▼I was a member of the Best Buddies program while I attended college in Illinois. I had the most hilarious best buddy! She LOVED scary movies and we had a blast during our Best Buddy Halloween party. However, my best buddy loved scary movies so much that she wanted to take me to one of the scariest movies playing at that time, Annabelle. I reluctantly agreed and I am so glad I did!! During the movie, my best buddy was laughing almost the ENTIRE time! Her laugh made me laugh and by the time we walked out of the theatre, I realized that I never got scared once during the movie. My best buddy turned something frightening into something full of laughter and fun. That experience reinforced my pledge to never use the R word and to discourage those around me from ever using it.

About Lauren Ludwig:I am currently a 7th grade science teacher in the public schools system. I love what I do and I love the neurodiversity of my students. I believe that each and every mind is beautifully unique!
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June 05, 2017 | North America: Maryland

Our Beloved Paulie

By Donna

Pic taken around the time of his diagnosis. He never lost the gentle sweetness shown in this photo despite the challenges he faced throughout his life.

At one game, someone yelled "Hit the ball, retard!" when he came up to bat. My bro was about 10 and by far the best player on the field. I watched as pain fill my bro's eyes.View Story ▼My beloved brother Paulie passed away a few weeks ago.He was only 52. He was diagnosed in the late 60's with a 'borderline' intellectual disability. He became a hard working (decades of full-time employment , rarely took vacation time), conscientious, productive member of society. As kids, we'd play nightly summer baseball games in our neighborhood. Paulie was a great athlete. At one game, someone yelled "Hit the ball, retard!" when he came up to bat. My bro was about 10 yrs old (by far the best player on the field). I watched as pain fill my bro's eyes, he dropped the bat, ran to his bike and rode back home as fast as he could. I followed him and found him crouched behind our home, crying in pain & embarrassment. WORDS DO HURT! Paulie freely gave respect, compassion, kindness and a beautiful smile to all he came in contact with. For the rest of my days I will do my part in eradicating this humiliating,toxic 'R' word from our language. RIP my dear Paulie.

About Donna:I'm Paulie's sister. I was older than he, but he taught me what it means to be a truly decent, loving and forgiving human being.
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May 25, 2017 | North America: Hawaii

Stop the R-word!!!!

By Gary Winthorpe

My son Brian has been diagnosed with Down syndrome.View Story ▼My son Brian has been diagnosed with Down syndrome.

About Gary Winthorpe:I'm Gary Winthorpe. I'm a 47 year old brain surgeon, and my son has autism
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We've Pledged!

  • Each human is amazing and deserves respect for all types of differences.

    Avery Kozloski

    Monson , Massachusetts

  • I pledge to stand up for those who can't do so for themselves.

    Cheyenne March

    West Chester, Pennsylvania

  • I hear it all the time at school and try to stop it but it's too much to handle alone.

    Brigid McKeegan

    Granite Town, Maryland

  • I have learned so much from my son and these special people. They are God's gift to the world.

    Rita Vasquez

    Sacramento, California

  • I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabil...

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    Raelyn Walls

    Atlanta , Georgia

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