It is time we Spread the Word to End the Word™ and build awareness for society to stop and think about its use of the R-word (retard). Most people don’t think of this word as hate speech, but that’s exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and friends. The R-word is just as cruel and offensive as any other slur. Visit www.r-word.org to make your pledge this Wednesday.
Today Playworld Systems is taking a stand and raising awareness of the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the R-word. We want to encourage others to do the same and to think before using the word.
We’re asking every person – young and old – to help eliminate the demeaning use of the R-word–a common taunt used to make fun of others. Often unwittingly, the word is used to denote behavior that is clumsy, hapless, and even hopeless. But whether intentional or not, the word conjures up a painful stereotype of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It hurts. Even if you don’t mean to be malicious, using the word is hurtful.
To ensure that Playworld Systems’ employees understand the importance of language when speaking about persons with disabilities the company offers inclusive play training, which includes a discussion of first person language. This is just one aspect of Playworld Systems commitment to ensure that all children have a chance to play in a welcoming environment.
As a leader in inclusive play, Playworld Systems commissioned the development of the Inclusive Play Design Guide, the most comprehensive free resource available for designing inclusive play spaces.
Playworld Systems also works with Let Kids Play to train their dealers around the country about the latest research in the design of play spaces. Playworld Systems’ product development team is committed to creating playground and fitness equipment that provides opportunities for children of all abilities to play together. Check out the latest inclusive climbing piece from Playworld Systems—The Triumph Climber.
Special Olympics’ Multi-National Public Opinion Study of Attitudes toward People with Intellectual Disabilities, conducted by Gallup, reveals that throughout the world, over 60 percent of people still believe that people with intellectual disabilities should be segregated in schools and in the workplace. This is intolerable. We at Playworld Systems are working to change these attitudes. Through our work we will address and help reverse the stigma that is destructive to the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and a barrier to growth.
We understand that language affects attitudes. Attitudes impact actions. Do you pledge to choose respectful people first language? If so, please remember to pledge at www.R-word.org, Wednesday March 6.