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Spread the Word… Campaign works to end the hurtful use of the R-word

Spread the Word 2013Monarch will again observe recognition of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month with several “Spread the Word to End the Word” rallies and events in the Outer Banks, New Bern and the Sandhills. The national campaign was launched in 2004 by Special Olympics, Best Buddies and the greater disability comunity. 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.

“Use of the word hurts, even if it is not directed at a person with disabilities,” explained Dr. Peggy Terhune, who is also the executive director of The Arc of Stanly County. “For too long, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have had to overcome the societal challenges put forth through stereotypes. The word is just as offensive as any other slur and further perpetuates the stigma and negative labels that tag people with intellectual disabilities.”

The R-word reinforces painful stereotypes of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as being less valued. The organization prefers to focus on people and their gifts and accomplishments, and to dispel negative attitudes and stereotypes.

To read more about  Spread the Word... click here.

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