Thursday, February 12, 2009

Retarded

Last night at our Wednesday night church service our regular pastor did not give the lesson because he had been gone all day to do a funeral service, which was a few hours away, and so one of the older men in our church gave the Bible study.It was a good Bible study but at one point during the lesson the speaker mentioned Ruby and said,"You can't understand what it's like to have a retarded child unless you have one yourself,you can have empathy for those parents but you don't know what it's like."The man that was speaking does understand because he has a grown son who has Williams syndrome. I honestly can not tell you now why he even brought it up because I was so shocked to hear someone say Ruby's name and then say she is retarded.I know she is I guess but I didn't want to hear it.I think even if he had used different words like, mentally disabled,I wouldn't have liked that either.

12 comments:

Monica said...

Wow, I'm sure that stings. It's an ugly word, because it's used too often in jest to make fun of people. Our therapists don't use it, either -- they say "cognitive delays" but the federal govt needs to see the diagnosis of "mentally retarded" to pay for services. Retarded means "slow" and, yes, I guess our kids are compared w/ typical kids, but I don't think of my guy as "retarded" either.

Little Miss E said...

My heart jumped when I saw the title of your post. I am so sorry you had to go through that. Our kids are going to be who they are, as quickly as they want to and are able. Lables are needed for medical reasons, but aside from that, really don't need to be used in that situation. I am so sorry.

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Lianna said...

I cannot even begin to understand why this man couldn't have known that using language like that would be acceptable. And how he could do that suddenly and in front of the group, makes me even more angry.

I truly believe that one day that word will be erased from all the descriptors of our children. I know that I am much more vocal than I was a mere four years ago when I first learned my son has Down syndrome. I refuse to let that term (even in disguise of medical evaluation) define my son.

Ruby is a precious little girl and her biggest challenges will be the ignorance that people perceive her in. But you know what? Her strength, beauty, intelligence, intuition and gentleness will most likely change so many perceptions that the last word to describe her will be the one you heard in church yesterday.

PS. I wanted to mention that you didn't offend me at all. I appreciate your comments, always.

COOLWHIP said...

I hear that word a lot. It doesn't bother me. I am very aware of Eva's disabilities, and if you want to call it redardation, That's what it is. I don't use the word. I don't call her retarded, and I will ask people not to call her retarded if they said it to her. Mostly because there is no need to lable her. I don't consider her retarded, but that's because I know her and see her strong points. I have other children that are slow in math, and reading and I would never say that to them, I will just encourage tham and help them where they need it. I will do the same for Eva.
I have a good friend who always uses the word retarded to refrence Eva, she had an older brother with DS, who was severely delayed. I feel she has earned the right to label DS the way she is comfortable.
I don't like the sound of the word. But I would rather heard it to reference correctly a child with a handicap, and in slang, like "that's retarded" I fell that is more derogatory. I don't use the word, I don't let me kids, But everyone has the choice. I would stop someone from saying the F word before I would stop them from staying the R word.

My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce. Oh I know how stinging that word can be. I truly do not believe he was trying to be mean in saying it. The word "retarded" has been used for so many years taken straight from the descriptor of IQ ranges. It has really only been in the last few decades that it has been used so negatively in a slang sense. Over the years with Sarah, I have tried to adjust my reaction to it and especially when it is an older person who is trying to help. If it is in an appropriate setting I might try to have a conversation with them latter. I try to recognize that I cannot expect everyone to be as astute on the subject as I am. I know I was not before having Sarah. It still doesn't take the sting out of hearing it, especially when your baby girl is just that, a baby girl. Hugs to you.

Beverly said...

Oh Cheryl, I am sure that was horrible. Its so hard to hear that word and some one saying it about your child. It stings my heart still, hearing it to label Noah, when he was in school or for Waivers for the state. We dont think of our kids that way, the way others may see them. To us they are just our kids and no label!

Ann said...

That would have hurt me as well. I wasn't there but his sentence made it sound like it was something horrible. I certainly don't think it's horrible. I think he was wrong on so many levels.

Laura said...

Boy that word can sting!!! I've never thought the word retard was in itself bad,it's what others have turned the word into...a nasty ugly word! The word started out to mean something simple, but over time has taken on a whole new meaning. I often times wornder what next, will mentally disabled one day take on the same meaning as the world has place on the word retard...just a thought!

I know the value that my God places on my retarded/mentally disabled child and it's far gteater that anything of this world!!! I feel blessed to be his Moma!

Great post!

Monica said...

I've just stumbled on your blog, Ruby is adorable!!! And I'm truly sorry for what happened to you last night. Especially at church were you should feel safe, I don't think he was trying to be hurtful, but still I know it would have stung me also. Funny how a "word" can have so much power, if we let it.

Loren Stow said...

That must have stunned you! It couldn't have been easy! I don't believe the word will ever dissapear, but I do believe that people use it sometimes without thinking of how it might hurt someone. I always just try and talk to them privately later and suggest a different kind of language or let them know that it hurt - most times they are really sorry and understand much better. Ruby is a beautiful little girl and you are an excellent mom! {{Hugs}} - if that's ok?

Ruby's Mom said...

Thanks for all the wonderful words and the hugs:)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most disturbing part of this story was that he spoke about your child's disability in a group setting without providing the positive. As a mother of five, my youngest with down syndrome, I can tell you that all children have gifts and imperfections. The imperfections in some children are more obvious than others, but sometimes the gifts are not as obvious either. The gifts are sometimes hidden in plain sight! I would not mind somebody discussing my daughter as long as they presented both sides of the coin. Her disability as well as her gifts! She is a joy and if that preacher could have described the joy as well as the disability, he would have gotten it right!