Wednesday is the 4th National Spread
the Word to End the Word Awareness Day, a day to encourage the public to stop
using the words retard and retarded for good.
"The End the R-word Campaign is
another barrier we are trying to break by eliminating that word that has such a
negative connotation to it that's been used freely by many," said Rickey Lopez,
Area Director, Special Olympics.
In 2004 Special Olympics changed its
terminology from mental retardation to intellectual disabilities.
Deanna Ramsey's 10-year-old son Braden
was diagnosed with autism and mental retardation or MR.
She says she doesn't want her child
bullied for a condition he can't control.
"Its hard to see other people use
that word and even me even though his diagnosis is MR we don't MR we say
mentally challenged," said Ramsey.
Ramsey works in the special needs ministry
at her church as well as Lufkin Parks and Recreation and she says the
opportunity to compete is vital in molding their self esteem.
"As a parent you want your child
to feel as normal as possible and it can help them just grow as an individual
for camaraderie with other friends just to know you aren't alone."
Special Olympics Area Director Rickey Lopez
says the R-word is a degrading term and that special needs athletes are just as
valuable as anyone on and off the field.
"The beauty of Special Olympics
is that day when they are grabbing that metal and seeing their friends,
competitions are like the super bowl for them," said Lopez.
Officials believe the change in
terminology will move the community forward and boost the confidence of their
Special Olympics officials say
basketball season just ended for their athletes and they are moving into track
This year's spring games will be April
26th and 27th.
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:09:07 GMT
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