#1e82a0##8ca532#e67323#8ca532#500000
Spread The WordHelp us raise awareness about the hurtfulness of the R-word by pledging and sharing your stories year round.Pledge Now  
Take The PledgeSpecial Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver invites U.S. presidential candidates to take the pledge, too.
Read what he said
Years of ProgressIn the years since the R-word campaign started, real change has taken place. Read more
"Join Our Quest"Special Olympics Virginia athlete John "Frank" Stephens shares a poem with the Huffington Post.
Read Frank's New Poem
R-word VideosSee the newest R-word videos on YouTube.Check them out
Tweet Your PledgeHere's your tweet-ready text:
I pledge #Respect thru my words & actions. Will you? Pledge now to create communities of inclusion for people with ID http://r-word.org  Here's how  

Your Stories

July 22, 2016 | North America: Michigan

"What's the matter with him?"

By Alexia Weber

Some years ago my youngest daughter (aged 4) was asked "what's the matter with him?" about her brother's best friendView Story ▼Some years ago my youngest daughter (aged 4) was asked "what's the matter with him?" about her brother's best friend (aged 6, before they were old enough to be Special Olympics athletes) by a pre-teenage boy. The young man in question has CP and is in a wheelchair. He is non-verbal and non-ambulatory. My daughter has been around him since she was born. She looks him up and down, smiles and says in typical 4-year-old fashion, "nothing." He wasn't crying or fussing so he was fine in her eyes. Older child tries to rephrase: "Why is he in the wheelchair?" Daughter doesn't miss a beat and responds with "because he isn't on the floor." Her innocence is what we all need to focus on. There was nothing wrong with her buddy; he was just fine to her. Just because someone may use a wheelchair doesn't mean anything is "wrong." Now I know what that boy was after -- he was looking for something more specific he would at age 13 work with. Well, don't ask a 4 year old...

About Alexia Weber:I am a parent, coach, training clinician, volunteer, whatever this wonderful organization needs. Special Olympics has been the best thing for our family. Really helps my son shine and grow into the wonderful young man he now is (age 20).
Share
View less ▲
July 20, 2016 | North America: Southern California

For my Aria ❤

By Olivia N.

I have never been very fond of the R-word in general especially because I knew people with disabilities.View Story ▼I have never been very fond of the R-word in general especially because I knew people with disabilities. I had my first daughter on August 23, 2013 -- one of the best days of my life, along with the births of my two other children. Aria had always been smart, loving and strong. She started to show delays at a very young age. She was recently officially diagnosed with Mild Intellectual Disability. We knew our baby had a delay but never thought she would be diagnosed with this. It was a little hard to take in. We did a lot of crying and praying. We were told we are already taking the right steps in helping her cope with her disability. Today, she is talking about lot more with the help of her speech therapist, she is getting along well with others and, even with the long road ahead of us, we know she is always in good hands. I pledge to NEVER use the R-word for you baby and for others like you, I pledge to educate others about not using it either. For you my Aria ❤

About Olivia N.:
Share
View less ▲
July 14, 2016 | North America: Canada

My Baby Brothers

By Kelsey Smith

I was 17 years old when my second baby brother was born (I am now 20). They changed my entire mindset and vocabulary.View Story ▼I was 17 years old when my second baby brother was born (I am now 20). My brother was born with a rare form of Down syndrome called mosaic Down syndrome. I changed my entire mindset and vocabulary. Before Hunter, I used the "R" word all the time and I am not embarrassed to share this because I'm proud of the person my brother has helped me to become. I am now an active Down syndrome advocate and receive emails all the time about how I have changed people's mindsets and how I have helped them to stop saying the word. Recently, my 4-year-old brother Ellery has been diagnosed with autism. I'm so proud of both of them. I thank God for my brothers each and every day.

About Kelsey Smith:
Share
View less ▲
July 06, 2016 | North America: Georgia

Sticks, Stones and Words That Hurt

By Linda Hoffman

Mother and daughter

I never expected my precious daughter to comprehend the "R-word" to the degree that she does. I remember Erin telling me as a teenager how she was made fun of at school.View Story ▼I have experienced many days of challenges as the mother of a daughter with Down syndrome. She's a twin but I never expected my precious daughter to comprehend the "R-word" to the degree that she does. I remember Erin telling me as a teenager how she was made fun of at school by some unkind students as they used the word to ridicule her. It left a lasting impression and made her cry. She came home in tears saying, "I wish I was like my sister, Heather." She knew then that she was different from the other teenagers and she longed to be respected. It affected her confidence and her attitude but with the support of family and peers, Erin has learned to defend herself by telling people not to use the R-word because it hurts her feelings. She has also spoken at our State Capital, encouraging others to strike the R-word from their vocabulary. We are proud of her and the campaign that continues to educate people on the effect this word has on our children.

About Linda Hoffman:I am a mother of 5 and grandmother of 7. Our daughter, Erin, was born with Down syndrome when I was 24 years old. I am proud of her continual motivation to succeed in life and her loving nature.
Share
View less ▲
July 05, 2016 | North America: Canada

Smile

By Dennis

Having a friend with a brother who has special needs made me very aware of how hurtful the word can be.View Story ▼Having a friend with a brother who has special needs made me very aware of how hurtful the word can be. Now I am very against it and make a point every time I hear the word. Truth is the people that use the word in my opinion need to look in the mirror. Call them selves that and see how they feel. All people I have met with special needs, or through special Olympics are amazing happy people. Always a pleasure to be around. Thank you for this site. Hopefully we can make this a better world that sees all of us equal.

About Dennis:
Share
View less ▲

Do you have a story to tell?

Tell us your story so we can publish it here for others to see.

Upcoming Events


Date

Event

Location

MORE »

Spread the Word 3.02.16

Our annual day of awareness was 2 March 2016. You can still take the pledge, and if you have a story to share, please do.

Join Us to End the Word

We are spreading the word on your favorite sites. Join us!

Act Now!

Pledge your support to eliminate the demeaning use of the r-word.

PledgeactPledges

We've Pledged!

  • I have worked with special needs for four years now, and to know this word still exists, hurts myself and MANY others. I pledge and support the elimination of the derogat...

    ...

    Ariel Sullivan

    South Berwick, Maine
    1132 hours ago

  • I have taken the pledge before. In fact my son ran a Spread the Word campaign during his 8th grade year at Brown Barge Middle School and got 460 people to take the pledge...

    ...

    Kim Stefansson

    Pensacola, Florida
    1134 hours ago

  • My sister had PMG, Microcephaly and a lot of other thing and I hate it when people use the r-word because I feel like it is aimed straight at her. I pledge to never use t...

    ...

    Lily Salazar

    Topeka, Kansas
    1145 hours ago

  • 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...

    ...

    Katherine

    Gierhahn, Illinois
    1149 hours ago

  • 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...

    ...

    Elleigh McDaniel

    Lexington, United States
    1227 hours ago

  • Find pledges by name, city, state/country, or school/organization

    Find
  • See All Pledges »

Get Our Newsletter

Get the latest R-word.org news.

Subscribe