I had a great night last night at our 80s fundraiser. Seriously it has to be my favourite era the music just fills me with nostalgia and happiness. A time of no stress or worry. A time when my brother Neil who passed away played soft cell from the room next door and my biggest worry was should I go for 1 or 2 bars on my pods. Good times.
My night was spoiled though as just before leaving My husband overheard my son Ellis who is 10 reacting to someone who said his brother Reilly had been referred to as a retard. Same old story though the person telling him couldn’t remember the name of the person that said it. Ellis was raging. Ive not seen this protective side to him before with regards to Reilly. Throughout the night I kept thinking about Reilly being referred to as a retard and I couldn’t shake it off, still can’t.
To me this was my first solid realisation that Reilly has a pretty high chance of being picked on, mocked, bullied whatever you want to call it. He’s different to other kids and they don’t really embrace different if they don’t understand it.
The word retard has been around for hundreds of years and was once perfectly acceptable. Times have changed and the word IS OFFENSIVE. It is filled with negativity and for me is hate speech. It broke my heart to hear that Reilly had been referred to as a retard. Reilly is Reilly he’s autistic. He doesn’t talk and he has some spectacular meltdowns but he has a photographic memory, he never forgets a turn in the road, he can engineer a 20ft bridge without a wobble for Thomas to get from a to b, he can mix 4 huge jigsaws together and turn them out like a pro without the pictures, he can hear an ambulance minutes before it will appear on your radar, he can spot an imposter muller corner blindfolded and he’s bloody brilliant.
He’s not a retard.
Loads of kids are horrible, I’ve heard Ellis say awful things, it happens. He has a greater understanding now after the conversations this weekend how a throw away comment doesn’t just affect that person, it has a ripple affect. I catch him he’ll be set straight and get a mega grounding. I was on occasions horrid when I was younger but PLEASE tell them it’s not ok to call people a retard it is offensive to so many. Education, education, education. These kids regardless of ability need to feel included, life is difficult enough. Happens again and I’ll blow the roof off.
There’s even a campaign to end the R-Word if you want to learn more and support them. http://www.r-word.org/