Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ending the use of the R word one country at a time

We can do it.  End the use of the R word.  Even it is one person at a time.  How about one country at a time?  Well, it has happened in Israel.    Can we make it happen in your community?

The end of the R word in Israel

Thursday, June 28, 2012

300x200 tali
Lin Kornhauser (right) celebrates her medal win at the World Summer Games in Athens 2011. This image won first prize in a Sport & Peace Photographic Competition

Significant Milestone

Following years of lobbying by Special Olympics Israel the term ‘people with intellectual disabilities’ has finally replaced the term ‘people with retardation’ in Israel. The R word will no longer be acceptable or tolerated in Israel when talking about people with intellectual disabilities.  Making the significant announcement this week, the Minister for Welfare Moshe Kahlon said the change in language was long overdue and reflects what should be paramount for all people with intellectual disabilities – respect and dignity.  He thanked Special Olympics Israel for never giving up on this issue and he was proud to officially announce the language change.
Lin Kornhauser from Raanana is an athlete with Special Olympics Israel and has won several medals for her country at world and national Games. Her mother Tali was one of those people campaigning for the term change. “My daughter is not retarded, she has achieved more than most and I am delighted the Minister has made this announcement. It is hugely important to people with intellectual disabilities and their families."

The effects of the R-word on people with ID and their families and friends

“Everyone has a gift and the world would be better off if we recognized it.” – Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics. 
The R-word is the word 'retard(ed)'. Why does it hurt? The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It’s offensive. It’s derogatory. The R-word is hate speech. See why supporters think the R-Word is hurtful when used in jokes or as part of everyday speech.

How "retardation" went from a clinical description to a word of derision

When they were originally introduced, the terms “mental retardation” or “mentally retarded” were medical terms with a specifically clinical connotation; however, the pejorative forms, “retard” and “retarded” have been used widely in today’s society to degrade and insult people with intellectual disabilities. Additionally, when “retard” and “retarded” are used as synonyms for “dumb” or “stupid” by people without disabilities, it only reinforces painful stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities being less valued members of humanity. 

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