Ok, After reading a few of Ricks postings on another subject I began to think about this...Susan and I talked a while over it and now I am curious about how you all feel. The word Mentally retarded evokes some really bad feelings with me. I had written a long note saying I thought it was bad to use those words in a posting because I found it offensive...but maybe others do not. I looked it up in the dictionary and really it does not define our children..neither does mentally handicapped or disability. So how do you feel about this...please let me know what you think!
Renee, I agree, those words "mentally retarded" do seem a bit harsh when used to describe our children. I remember reading a book when Lewis was born pointing out all the positives about Down Syndrome and how wonderful these children really are, especially with all the opportunities given to them these days. Then it said but the truth is they ARE Mentally retarded. That statement hurt so much and I cried harder than ever then. Talk about conflicting information. I guess to some extent there is some truth in it, and the truth always hurts, but those words are too harsh. When talking to people now, I use the term Intellectually delayed, meaning they usually learn the same as other kids, just takes a bit longer sometimes. To me, the term Mentally Retarded brings up images I would rather not think about.
I am not a stranger, just a friend you havn't met yet...
I have to agree with you on this. When Jamie was born, the hospital social worker told me I should go fill out a paper called a Mental Retardation Waiver. It took everything I had not to throw her pen back at her. In my eyes, our children are not retarded in any way. In fact, the word is not ever allowed in our house. To me, it's as bad as a racial slur.
Honestly the word Mentally Retarded does not bother me WHEN used medically..BUT it does stir up OLD images for me..Now the word retard and retarded make me CRINGE....I hear the words daily T.V work etc..And I always get this feeling in the pit of my stomach as if someone punched me..
BUT I personally would NEVER use the term Mentally Retarded or Handicapped to describe my son or ANY child or person with Delays....
Its all symantics really. mentally retarded, intellectually delayed, etc. really all mean the same thing. Our childrens IQ's will never be as high as other children's without Down Syndrome.
I do say mentally retarded or developmentally delayed is a softer term I use too but the fact is most people are not as "politically correct" and will use words like retarded etc and the best we can do is educate them and not be offended. There was a time when DS kids were called Mongoloid and through persistance we have been able to take that association away from our children so maybe we can do the same for the other phrases that don't really apply to them too.
Don't let it anger you, let it be always an opportunity to educate. I have really found that most people have no idea that it can be a sensitive phrase and are open to knowing a new phrase instead.
I never knew anything about kids with DS til I had one so now I think I am more tolerant of others cuz I was once the same way as them. I thought mentally retarded was the appropriate phrase. Now I know there are better ones to use.
Just my thoughts on the subject.
Monique, mom of son Jameson (DS) , 10/28/2000 and Jasmine, 05/21/2002, Lexie(6/18/2004) &&
Post by heidi-ashlies_mom on Apr 23, 2002 13:46:31 GMT -5
i personally think the words "mentally retarded" are way to harsh to decribe our kids. i remember the first time i went to a physical with my husband for his job and the doctor tooked one look at ashlie and said oh you have a mongloid child im like what the hell are you talking about is said no i have a child with DS. i dont look at ashlie as she is retarded or mongloidism i look at her like my other 2 kids she gets treated the same disciplined the same and the same rewards. we have to work with ashlie more because she has some delays. thats all shes perfect al around. love to all heidi
Heidi~ Mommy to Ashlie 7 yrs old with DS, Izayah 5 yrs 3 mos, Taydem 3 yrs 5 mos and DH Roger!
I don't think of or refer to my daughter as MR.I think it's a term that's thrown around without a whole lot of meaning behind it.Just as IQ & SAT scores arn't really relavant outside the educational setting, no one really knows what any child's potential is.....remember that movie with Dustin Hoffman & Tom Cruise about the brothers.I've seen that alot of special people tend to have one area where they really excell just like any other person has talents & weaknesses.Alot of it is in how the talents are utelized and highlighted in one's life.
If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.
Renee, I really do like you a lot. I think we are on the same wave length. I do get irritated at those remarks also. My husbands family and friends which are from Honduras sometimes do not understand Down Syndrome or Sindrome de Down so they explain by saying mongoloid. I know my face squishes up everytime I hear it. Our friends now always use Sindrome de Down. Emma is definitely teaching people tolerance around here. ;D
Renee, I hope I have never offended you but I do use the term mentally retarded or mentally challenged. I use it because it means to me waht my son is..he is mentally slower then most. I however NEVER refer to anyone as a retard and take great offense to that term, especially when it is used to mean stupd, grrrrr, as so many of my students call one another. hugs bud, Robin mom to the very very bad Chase today
hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is like a broken winged bird who cannot fly mom to sons Mike 1976, David 1979, Chase (DS) 1992 and Zachary 1999
After reading all the posts, I decided to look up in my little Webster's 21 st Century Dictionary and it said under the word "Retarded" , adj., limited or slow in mental development. I can't say using Mentally retarded as a description in the right context offends me. The key for me, is using it in the right context. If someone was using the phrase for a nasty purpose YES I would be bothered but other then that I would have to say it really is no problem for me. I mean this with all due respect to you all but any child or person I have ever met with DS is slower in their mental development.
Christie..I too spent time with Susan looking up various words that "describe" Lauren.. I am not saying that Lauren is not slower than other children but I just don't feel like the phrase mentally retarded is what I want her to be labeled as. She is 3 and can tell me her colors, count to 5 ,tell me when I forgot to pray before we eat and do some of the alphabet...she can sign 50 words and is almost potty trained. I think there are typical 3 year olds who can't do that...there are children in school who have other learning issues but we don't label them Mentally retarded because they are slower...we just go with it because they are "Normal"
I do respect yours and Robins opinions. I am not offened at all. I love that we can come here and talk and I appreciate your openess! Thanks again!!!
This is my first post on the new BB so I hope I do it right.
I have a question...when Matt was a baby the people at our church used to refer to him as the "mongoloid baby" which offended me tremendously. Just why does this offend us Since we have just had the Olympics here in SLC I was watching the entrance of the athletes and as the country of Mongolia entered I have to say a twinge of guilt hit me. I could see the resemblence in our children with them...in the slanting of the eyes. Then I felt bad that we think it an insult that our children resemble them. I thought how offended I would be if someone thought it a negative thing to resemble an American or a caucasion etc etc. I think it's the idea of having to label them anything at all. I have always focused on introducing Matt as my son first. It bothers me to hear "my Downs child" or "Downs kids are so...." They are kids first. Kids who happen to have Down syndrome. Now adays people know what Down syndrome is from sight (even though they may need to be educated about how it's nothing to think negatively about) I don't feel a need to even make a point to bring it up..unless it's for medical purposes. I sign my son up for regular sports and when the coach calls to welcome us to their team I confirm that it is a recreational team and then they find out when we show up for our first practice. I'm sure some coaches are surprised at first but once Matt gets playing they see things will be ok. He's just a kid who likes to have fun. I feel it important that people get to know Matt for who he is and not what he has. Sure he may never get that winning goal but the kids learn alot by being his teachers in everyday life and Matt learns by being around people like us which is reality in the long run. I don't try to hide the fact that Matt has Ds (how could I do that???) but I don't want him to be labeled before anyone knows who he is and what he can do. I will admit I cringe everytime someone calls me a retard or I hear kids calling each other that..but then I put myself in the parents shoes of a child who may be severely retarded and again feel a twinge of guilt that one persons life is such a negative thing to another. I hope this makes sense once I send it...and isn't all run together into a bunch of muk. I am hoping I haven't gone off the subject here. I'm such a yakker and things don't always come out right in email versus a real conversation.
It's been amazing to read comments that I feel are my exact thoughts. I love knowing that there are others that feel the way I do and it makes me feel that it's ok to have alot of the feelings I do have. ok this is long now...I'm going Wendy yak yak yak ;D