When Hallie Levine Sklar heard teenagers using the word ‘retard’ at her local pool while making fun of those with intellectual disabilities (correct terminology), she did what far too many people don’t do, she confronted the teens and set them straight.
As the parent of a young daughter with Down syndrome, Sklar had an especially vested interest in taking this action and took full advantage of a teachable moment. The reality is that many kids and adults still don’t get why it’s not okay to use the word retard in conversation, even though it is only used to put others down. Sklar helped ensure that just maybe these teens won’t use it again.
The article Mom Stands Up to Teens Who Use the Word Retard is well worth sharing, and food for thought for those who think words don’t matter. Read it here. You can read Sklar’s blog about her daughter, Johanna here.
And please, talk with all your children about why they should not use this word, and educate yourself, too.
Silence changes nothing.
Photo of RicStar’s Camp participant by Erik Taylor Photography 2011.