Thursday, 25 August 2011

I cringe

everytime I hear a certain word, and this morning I heard it from Harri which I couldn't believe.   He didn't even know what he was really saying, but has obviously heard it being said at school.  He was watching something on TV and didn't like the singer and what they were singing so he said

... 'that singer sounds retarded'. 

I asked him if he even knew that that meant and he said 'it means that he sounds dumb'. I explained to him that saying something 'is retarded' is a way of putting down someone and is especially a way of putting down someone who has a disability, which means he is putting down Noah. He then started crying as he realised it isn't a good thing to say. 

After Noah was diagnosed with hydranencephaly I really noticed how often I hear the phrase 'you are retarded'  or 'what a retard!' being used as way of putting down to someone else.  It's particularly common for teenagers to say it to each other and I cringe every time I hear it, and I actually don't think they are really thinking about what they are saying when they actually say it, just like Harri this morning, and I don't believe they are necessarily meaning to put down people with disabilities either, but are just by saying it.

Aaron says at school he always hears kids say it to each other and he will pull them up and will say 'my son is actually retarded and I don't like hearing that', and they are straight away embarrased and apologise to him about it.  I even hate the word 'retarded' even when it is used in context.  Yes, Noah is retarded in his development, but I think because the phrase is used so often as a put down, that I hate using it at all.  Instead I prefer to say 'Noah is disabled' or 'Noah has severe disabilities'.

Even though society is a lot more accepting of people with disabilities these days, there is still a long way to go before people with disabilities are really accepted and loved, the way that we love Noah.


  1. You tell em Lisa, it is only through eductaion that people will ever understand their words have meaning.

  2. Oh Lisa, you made me cry. Poor Harri must have been devestated when he knew what that word really meant. I also cringe when I hear it thrown around so flippantly, and not in it's true context.
    I have never seen Noah as retarded, only disabled, and we all know how much we treasure him, and what he means to us all.
    Love Mum.

  3. dito to what your mum said. I have needed to correct my kids once before when they came home from school saying it too. I also hate it when people use the word 'spastic'
    Sweet Noah xx

  4. i used to say that too...i dont say it anymore are right ...good on you Lisa for helping people understand the true meaning of what they are saying and how they should be using it in the right context...Noah will always be special to us all...the same only different ...more special and perfect...mmmmwwwwaahhhh Noah XXXXXX

  5. I agree Lisa, I hate hearing people put down others using that word. Disabled and disability are far better ways to describe our cherubs, I even dislike the word handicapped as it is also sometimes used in a negative way. Poor Harri feeling bad after realising, maybe he to will stand up to others at his school when they use the word knowing what it now means.

  6. Totally connected to everything you're saying Lisa! I used to get so upset when I was little and the other kids would use that word. Of course I still don't like it. I also hate the way kids say "that's so gay" they really have no idea (or don't care) about what they're saying. The more people who pull people up on it, the less people will say it. How often do we cringe when people use bad language and we often don't tell them that it offends us!

  7. I stand corrected. I've been known to use the word flippantly. Some words become corrupted when they become popular, like geriatric. When it was first used many years ago, people didn't even know what it meant. Then it was used as an insult, so it's not used much anymore.

  8. Mel - that's definitely another phrase ('you're so gay')that people use without thinking. I am no different to anyone else - I used to say the same things growing up, but am a lot more aware now about what these phrases actually mean, and that they are really putting down different groups of people.

  9. Well said Lisa. I totally agree.

  10. Amen!

    Also, what a GORGEOUS photo of Noah! He has such lovely wavy hair! :)

    North Dakota, USA


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