I will confess, before.. I said it.. I joked about it.. but I didn't know.. I didn't know how valuable people with Down Syndrome and/or Autism were. I didn't realize that I was putting them down by joking about not being able to do something as easily as someone else. I didn't mean to hurt others. And perhaps, I didn't mean it that way... But guess what I also didn't know??? I didn't know that other ears were listening to me that may take offense to the word. Other people may have loved ones that inspire them and guide their paths and careers in life. Had I known the joy these people bring to all who get to know them, I would have long ago got involved with them in some form or another. Speech therapist, Physical therapist, Occupational therapist, Early Intervention teachers, summer camp programs, special education teachers.... I have spoken to MANY and I can tell you that each and every one of them say that the children and adults with Down Syndrome that they work with give them far more than they feel they can give back to them. The love and respect that just comes naturally from their hearts is almost embarrassing to me that we have to try so hard to "love thy neighbor" and its just the way people with Down Syndrome are made.
October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.. I am going to once again take the challenge to educate about Down Syndrome and share the joys (and challenges) we get to experience on a daily basis. Do NOT take that comment as meaning things are not rough for us sometimes raising 6 year old non-verbal identical twin boys both with Down Syndrome and PDD Autism. There are certainly challenges, and some we may never figure out how to make right.. but seeing the twins be who they are and love like they do is so humbling and heartfelt.
My message today is please PLEASE think about it when you use the retarded word. Instead try to think of something to lift the person up remembering that we are to love all mankind. God made us ALL perfect in his sight. It is the choices we make and the words we use that turn us away from good and seek evil. I do wish someone would have taught me that at a much younger age than I learned myself, and for that I am sorry. But now that I know, I know better... and my mission is to now educate others!!