The words we use to define disabilities can have extremely adverse effects. More specifically, they can affect how society treats people with disabilities.
In addition, they can affect how people with disabilities views themselves. In short, the words we use can place inaccurate limitations on people with disabilities, creating barriers from achieving their best, independent lives.
Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign
The idea that words used to describe disabilities could be harmful was the basis for the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign. The goal of the campaign, which launched in 2009 as a grassroots effort, was to stop the use of the word “retard.”
The campaign encouraged people to take the pledge to stop using the r-word. It also supported fundraisers for Special Olympics and Best Buddies.
Founded by Soeren Palumbo Dame and Tim Shriver, who were college students at the time, the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign quickly spread around the globe.
A New Focus: Inclusion
After ten years, the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign is changing focus. Now, the campaign is shifting its focus to inclusivity.
In addition to supporting the removal of the r-word from everyday speech, the new campaign — called Spread the Word: Inclusion — wants to promote the idea of acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities.
Creating a New Reality of Inclusion
Did you know that over 60 percent of individuals surveyed believe that people with developmental and intellectual disabilities should be segregated in the workplace and schools? The Spread the Word: Inclusion campaign wants to change this perception.
In particular, the campaign is asking everyone to practice inclusion as a skill. The creators of the campaign want people to find ways to include individuals with intellectual disabilities in their communities.
How You Can Get Involved
Get involved in the Spread the Word: Inclusion campaign!
Start by taking the pledge to spread inclusion. To take the online pledge, you need to think of how you can improve inclusion in your community. By taking the pledge, you are committing to taking this action.
After you take the pledge, let your friends, family and online followers know! Spread the message on your social media platforms. More specifically, encourage your followers to take the pledge as well.
Finally, create an event in your community to promote the Spread the Word: Inclusion campaign. On the official website, you can find plenty of resources to support your event.