Lots of people are talking about the "R" word.
Retarded. When I was little it was "Retard". When my mom was little it was "Mongoloid".
Was retard and then retarded the nicer versions?
I don't "think" of anyone as retarded. But if I were too have to explain a childish or odd social behavior, about my adult kids with special needs, it does quickly get to the point. I do like "special needs". Not sure why that isn't used more. My peers do not know what special needs means in regards to actions of a person.
By the time I was 26 (many many moons ago- 29 years!) the "new" word was "Developmental Disability". My son was 8 years old and he was expected to tell people he had a developmental disability if he tried to explain his confusion to others. I didn't even know what Developmental Disability meant, my son was new to me at age 7 1/2, I was his foster mom. I asked his Social Worker what it meant, even she couldn't explain it to me?????
I told my son he was retarded. He could say that word easily and his psychiatrist said it was from the root word Tardive- meaning slow. Slow to learn. But not unable to learn. We liked that. He liked that. It made sense to him. Until he turned 16 and the Special Ed teachers told him he could do anything he wanted to do. They said he had no "disabilities". He wanted to be a Fire man. I tried to explain that mom could not be or do anything I wanted because, we all have things we can't do. We all have abilities and well, disabilities too. He told me he wasn't stupid. I let it go. Then he got an Algebra book, and mainstreamed in classes with an aid standing by giving him simple addition papers instead of Algebra. He wanted to get rid of his aid, he wanted to be left alone in class to do what he wanted. So they loosened up and he was arrested at school for breaking the law. They didn't care. He was 19, the first special ed student in our district arrested. Because of that they moved the 18+ special ed kids out of the high school building! and made a transition program. Which gave them even less supervision and assistance. Soon he was in trouble again. :o(
It's a long story. But we won the court case after his first arrest. He was not prosecuted or found guilty. In order to win I had to find him "not competent" by testing his competency. It made me sad. But he truly did not intentionally commit a crime. The prosecution (the State of MN said I was an irate Day Care provider who'd do anything to find my son not guilty. No, I was an Adult Foster Care/Waivered Services provider who could not have a convicted felon in my home. And my son was innocent.)
Not competent....................is that worse than retarded? Something to ponder. Then I talked to an experienced psych who said people with mental disabilities had won the right to be prosecuted and get the death penalty. I told him then they might as well just kill my son, because he'd never understand why that was a hard won freedom.
At our County it's still called "the DD Unit" , for Developmental Disability. But then they've changed their name several times over the years also- from "S County Social Services" to "S County Services" and now "S County Human Services".
Hmmmmmm, they all sound the same to me.
I see my youngest boys now have "Global Delays", no more Developmental Delays. But I tell them they have Down Syndrome. Hopefully if they say they have DS, others will "get it"?? It's a special need.....right? My boys are pretty darn special- all my kids are! :o)
Thank goodness I'm smarter now, I think I know what global delays are.
But aren't all these things just words? Like sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me? We can re-name it, over and over. We can make it sound "good" like something you or I wish we had.
But are we just being silly?
I think so. But then that's my very humble opinion.
A p.s. about my then 8 year old son who is soon turning 37 in one month. Since leaving home at 22, he has been taken advantage of, hurt, broken bones, hit by a car, rode his bike into a building head first, hospitalized in psych wards, had tons of things stolen from him, given expensive electronics away, had his meds stolen to the point he had to stop the prescription, he's been taunted, teased, the butt of jokes, arrested, and humiliated, (sadly I could go on and on) all in the "S County Human Services" endeavor to treat him as a non-disabled man with their (questionable) "supports" in the community. And we can do nothing because we are not his "blood/birth" family. We adopted him. At 22 yrs old the County "took" him back by promising him he could do whatever he wanted so he contested our Guardianship. So he could then do what he wanted.
When we can't sleep at night, I'm glad that "they" can.