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The Word ‘Retarded’ Pulled From All Of Michigan’s Legislation [Video]

I was told that my son was retarded as he went through some special testing as a preschooler. Just the way they said it, like a bad word, and the way they treated him from then on made me sick to my stomach.

I don’t think this word needs to be anywhere.

My family had a brush with “retarded” as one of my children was being tested for learning disabilities and delayed speech development. It goes without saying that I love my kids unconditionally, but with all honesty, my heart went straight into my stomach when they said he was retarded. It was hard to hear and that label left a very bad taste in my mouth because I was afraid to see how the rest of the world would view my wonderful child from then on. With special classes that addressed his special needs, he quickly caught up and went on to graduate with great grades and to attend Michigan State.

The first known use of the word “retarded” to define being mentally slow was back in 1895. It was not a derogatory term back then, and was used to replace uglier words such as imbecile, idiot and moron.

In the 1960’s that changed. Retarded as an adjective became retard as a noun. It only got uglier from there.

Last Friday, the State of Michigan did the right thing when it removed the word retarded from 15 different pieces of our state’s legislation. The Senate and the House unanimously passed the legislation, and Lt. Governor Brian Calley signed the “R-Word” package of bills last Friday.

That action was recommended by a mental health commission appointed by Governor Snyder. The word retarded will be replaced with terms such as “intellectually disabled” or “developmentally disabled.”

Lt. Governor Calley says “We want from this day forward in Michigan for “respect” to be the new “R-word.

What do you think? Worthwhile legislation or a waste of time?

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