Few people use the term “retarded” anymore to refer to people with special needs. The word is considered offensive and derogatory, but one mother of a young boy with Down syndrome is defending her use of the controversial term.
The Daily Mail reports 31-year-old Sian Isaac said she sometimes uses the word around her 8-year-old son Josh, who has Down syndrome. She claims it will help him prepare for adulthood.
She wrote on her blog Unfiltered Mom: “I don’t call Josh a retard all of the time. I used that word, rightly or wrongly, before he was born.”
Isaac said she rarely uses the term, but when she does, she uses it indiscriminately with both her children.
“I’d say to Ollie, ‘Stop being a retard’ so I would not then not say it to Josh just because he has Down’s syndrome,” she wrote. “It’s not meant offensively. It’s just a word, and I’ve not stopped doing using it, just less.”
Here’s more from the report:
Sian, who lives with husband Anthony, 40, said among the occasions she has used the word was when she found Josh drinking water out of a dog’s bowl.
But she says she thinks it will make him stronger as grows older.
She added: ‘I have called Josh it sometimes such as when I found him on all fours drinking water out of the dog’s bowl when he was four.
‘Josh will have a lot of things thrown at him when he is older.
‘If he grows up with his mum and dad laughing at him and him laughing along it will teach him to laugh with people rather than educate millions of people not to use the word.
‘We are trying to teach him you don’t need to get offended by those people as it’s not worth it.
‘We are just a bit more realistic I suppose.
‘I would never use it as an offensive term at all and if anyone did in my presence I wouldn’t like it.’
When she first learned that Josh had Down syndrome, Isaac said she grieved that he had health problems. Eight years later, she said she loves her son just the way he is.
“Now I wouldn’t change him for the world, no more than I would change Ollie, and we are the best of friends,” she said. “Josh is just a normal child to me. He gets treated exactly the same as his brother; there is no special treatment.”
Most people probably will disagree with Isaac about using the term “retarded,” but she is right about one thing. Children with special needs like her son deserve to be treated the same way as every other human being. Their disabilities do not make their worth any less. Unfortunately, when babies are still in the womb, our culture says it’s OK to treat them differently and to take away their right to life.
No one knows how many unborn babies have been aborted because of a diagnosis about their health. What pro-lifers do know is that each one of those babies –whose only differences are their abilities and their location – deserved an equal right to life under the law.