It can be difficult to know exactly how to talk about disability. I know that some people would rather avoid the conversation for fear of offending. And then there are those who don't know differently. When my Oma would ask about my girls, she would lovingly but ignorantly refer to Rachel and Janneke as retarded... because that was the language of her day.
Retarded has become an ugly word. It hurts. Mind you, I did not berate my aging grandmother for her outdated vernacular because one doesn't berate their aging grandmother for her outdated vernacular. And she has since passed away.
But, there's no excuse for the rest of us. We can learn and grow a new language and perspective.
Recently, Holland-Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital launched a public awareness campaign called Dear Everybody. The idea is to start conversations, challenge assumptions and end stigma related to disability and life.
Give this a read and a view. Print out a few statements and hang them up. Start the awkward conversation. You might be surprised by the amazing outcome.