Tuesday, March 2, 2010

a gentle plea

My son has been diagnosed with mental retardation due to Fragile X Syndrome. My son loves presents.

My son was a baby who loved his ducky and naps in the sunshine.

My son is a giggling preschooler who loves burgers and cuddles with his momma.
My son is a sweetheart who grows stronger and brighter every day.
When I hear people say, "That's so retarded" or "I feel so retarded" or "This stupid, retarded thing," it breaks my heart; the word retarded here is being used as a substitute for defunct, broken, stupid, and ugly.
My son is mentally retarded; he has a medical condition. And his disability, his condition, has become a slang term -- an insult. So because he is mentally retarded, his name could just as easily be slipped into those hateful phrases listed above.
But he is more than his cognitive development. His disability helps shape who he is -- it doesn't define him. Would people come up to me and call my son broken and stupid and ugly? Probably not. And yet that is how those sentences feel. That is what they ultimately say.
The real joy in celebrating diversity is experiencing people beyond their labels.
My son is the most amazing child I've ever met. He can make a room full of adults dance on command. He can laugh at a joke. He can help me set the table and pick up his toys. He can tell me which direction to turn on days he's craving a donut after school. He hugs his friends and high-fives his teachers. He greets me with a, "I so happy a see you!" when I pick him up from school. He has a resilient spirit that carries me through the most difficult of days. I call him Child of God.

10 comments:

Sarah said...

I really liked this post. Thanks for writing it.

SB said...

AWESOME!!

Kristiem10 said...

Well said, Erika

監控 said...

路過~很有趣吶...........................................

Laura said...

Thank you for writing this. I don't use it anymore!!

Umma said...

Beautifully said.

Anonymous said...

Nice job Erika! You are a very special person!!!

Shelli said...

My daughter has Fragile X too. She is my hero. Your tribute was beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

Fishsticks and Fireflies said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post. I cannot stand to hear people use the term 'retarded' as slang or in a hurtful manner, and will NEVER allow my kids to use it that way.

1 Special Family said...

Perfectly put!