“Spread the Word Inclusion” Day on March 6
Spread the Word to End the Word
End the “R” word advocates believe the use of the word “retard” in colloquial and everyday speech is hurtful and dehumanizing to individuals with special needs. According to Rword.org, “The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It’s offensive. It’s derogatory.” They advocate for the use of language that respects the dignity of people with mental disabilities. Advocates believe individuals with cognitive disabilities are capable of enjoying life’s experiences and that causal references to the words retard or retarded makes a person with intellectual disabilities feel “less than human.” Many people who use the R-word to describe a person with special needs are simply unaware of how hurtful it is. While it is also hurtful to label someone as “a Downs Syndrome person,” the appropriate terminology is, “a person with Downs Syndrome” or “a person with special needs.”
Start with the “h” word.
The Spread the Word to End the Word movement was established in 2009 during the Special Olympics Global Youth Activation Summit at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The Spread the Word to End the Word movement was created by youth with and without intellectual disabilities. According to the Special Olympics:
“The motivation for the campaign was driven by a united passion to promote the positive contributions people with intellectual disabilities make to communities around the world combined with a simple call to action that also symbolizes positive attitude change and a commitment to make the world a more accepting place for all people.”
On March 31, 2009 the campaign celebrated the 1st Annual Spread the Word to End the Word National Awareness Day. Across the country, students of all ages made a pledge to eliminate “retard” from their vocabulary and encourage others to do the same. In 2010, the 2nd Annual Spread the Word to End the Word National Day of Awareness took place on March 3, 2010.