Friday, July 25, 2008


The word no one likes, the word no mother or father wants to hear when a doctor is talking about their child. The word most people use when talking about something they dislike, or when referring to someone they see as less of a person. The word children are allowed to use in their daily vocabulary when talking about someone or even something they don't like. No one likes this word, no one wants to be called retarded. People hate the word retarded.
Here is the definition of the word.
"Mental retardation is a generalized, or triarchic, disorder, characterized by subaverage cognitive functioning and deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors with onset before the age of 18. Once focused almost entirely on cognition, the definition now includes both a component relating to mental functioning and one relating to the individual's functional skills in their environment."
So many people use the word retarded as slang.
To some of us it is personal, to some of us it is our children, our precious babies whom we love as much as any mother loves her precious child.
For some of us retarded is a word that involves our every day lives.
There isn't a joke involved, and there is no hate.
For some of us retarded brings us more love that we wouldn't have had the privilege of knowing otherwise.
This horrifying word to most people has made some of us stronger, better, and given us deeper lives. We all remember the first time the doctor used that word when talking about our child, maybe it was straight from their mouth, or in a medical report. We remember the day, the moment, but that child is the same child we fell in love with in our womb.
The word retarded hasnt changed our love, in fact its made it bigger, and made us better.
Next time you want to use or hear someone use the word retarded in a derogatory way, remember those of us who have been forever changed, and be changed too.
Remember those perfectly different people who see the world through the eyes of precious innocence.
Thanks, being changed daily......Jessica Pruitt


Tena said...

Beautifully said, I have goosebumps!

Myssie said...

well done Jessica! You said exactly what I have been thinking about the aweful word, it just needs to be deleted from everyone's vocabulary.

mary40 said...

You made me stop and think about what retarded means. I have not really thought about it that way.

Jacqui and Lloyd said...

Brilliantly, eloquently written in a way that draws in others to understand and change. You so easily (and justifiably) could've written this post with resentment and bitterness, but instead you have somehow managed to celebrate the "perfectly different people" that our children are. You are a brave, courageous woman. Your voice is powerful to break open stigma, yet gentle enough to invite the ignorant to feel comfortable in the midst of your joy and pain.

Christina said...

My daughter Emily has a chromosome deletion & I also googled the word "retarted" recently.

I read that the reason we get a discouraged look on our faces when people use that specific word is because over the years, you are right, people have used it loosely to describe things they don't like, called names, etc.

They also gave another list of words that could be used like mentally challenged.

I guess there's nothing we can do....since that word has been abused for so long...... we just need to find an appropriate way to describe our children to others.

God's special child. PERFECT! How about that? :)

brandi, of course! said...

I now that I do not know you at all, but somehow I stumbled across your blog and I think I ran across it for a great reason. My brother is also disabled and it is so encouraging to read your blog posts and see that there are others out there as well. My brother does not have the same condition as your son but it is comforting none the less to see that you and your family are full of so much love and that you are willing to make a statement about derogatory words. You're inspirational and best of luck to you and your family :] And thank you for loving life and your children equally :]

megan said...

So inspiring. Thank you!