• English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish

Insurance Funding Request

Did you know Firefly products may be funded by your insurance?

Learn More
Back to Firefly Blog

I’m Not Ranting But Please Stop Using That Word!

I’m Not Ranting But Please Stop Using That Word!

I know many people feel like they’ve been bombarded with blog posts and articles online criticizing them for using the, “R Word.”

They feel that parents of children with disabilities are “too sensitive.”

This post isn’t one to belittle or chastise those in our lives that have used this word in our presence, or those that think we are hypersensitive.

It is rather an attempt to urge people to simply STOP using that word; to banish it from vocabulary altogether.

This is a post to educate and to turn moments where you may have nonchalantly used that word into teachable moments.

When I was younger, I’m sure I used that word in a joking manner.  I’m sure I laughed at that word when it was used in movies or on television shows.

In fact, I know I did.

While I can’t go back in time and change my past mishaps, I can move forward and share with the world why it was wrong.

Whether you are joking with friends in conversation, or sharing posts on Facebook using the “R Word”, you are unknowingly hurting others.

You probably aren’t vengeful or filled with hate, but you are inflicting wounds.

The word in itself means “characterized by a slowness or limitation in intellectual understanding and awareness, emotional development, academic progress, etc.”

Another definition for it is “slang –stupid or foolish.”  When my daughter was an infant, she was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, characterized by many traits.

One of those traits that forever stands out in my mind; one that I still remember staring harshly back at me from medical paperwork was “Moderate to severe Mental Retardation.”

From that moment on, I knew there was nothing funny, appropriate or acceptable about that word.

This word punched me in my gut and took away dreams and hopes that I had for my child, in an instant.

Although the reality can at times still be hard to swallow, the word has since been changed, thankfully, in medical literature to “having intellectual disabilities.”

Therefore, it shouldn’t be used anymore, ever, for any reason. Period.

When you call someone or something the “R Word”, you are saying they have intellectual disabilities.

My daughter is intellectually disabled, and I’m certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, she wouldn’t find any humor in jokes at her expense, or at the expense of others.  Neither does her Momma.

She is also the most amazing, smart, strong and beautiful little girl I’ve ever known.

One of my proudest parental moments EVER was when her older brother was playing a video game online with friends and a child used that word.

He immediately called him out, shouting: “Dude! What did you say? That is NOT cool!”

If you do still use this harsh, hurtful, outdated word in your own vocabulary, or if you laugh with others that do, please understand why we ask you to stop.

Surely you don’t have someone in your life with disabilities.  Or, perhaps you do, but haven’t fully evolved to see the ache that the word creates.  I hope that you will.

I know that I am not alone in saying that parents of disabled children feel sickened, infuriated and heartbroken when people use that word in our presence.  And rightfully so.

We urge you to think twice before you say it…there’s no need for it.

We’d be very happy to never hear that word again.

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

Jodi Shenal

Meet Our Blogger

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two amazing children. My son is on the Autism spectrum and my daughter has a rare genetic disorder and multiple disabilities. I am passionate about advocating for my children, writing about our experiences, and raising awareness for other families in our shoes. Our family lives for the little things and we've learned to appreciate all the beauty that surrounds us

View Jodi’s Profile

Become a Firefly Blogger

Would you like to write for Firefly? Join our blogger network of parents, therapists and professionals.

Get In Touch

Become a subscriber today

Join over 40,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter with insightful articles just when you need them.

Join Mailing List

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies. Click here for more info.

Accept & Close

No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on

Purchases on $99+

US Customers only. Subject to credit approval. See terms below

Paypal Credit

Pay now or pay over time with PayPal Credit. Just use PayPal Credit in PayPal checkout.

Subject to credit approval.

Purchases of $99+:

No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on purchases of $99 or more.

  • A minimum monthly payment is required and may or may not pay off the promotional purchase by the end of the 6 month period.
  • No interest will be charged on the purchase if you pay it off in full within 6 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the purchase from the purchase date at the Purchase APR applicable to your account.
  • For New Accounts: Variable Purchase APR is 25.49%. The APR is accurate as of 6/1/2018 and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate (as defined in your credit card agreement). Minimum interest charge is $2.00.
  • Individual items that are less than $99 qualify for special financing when combined for a total of $99 or more in a single transaction.
  • Multiple separate transactions of less than $99 per transaction cannot be combined to meet the minimum purchase amount.

Purchases of $98.99 or less:

Buy now and pay over time with PayPal Credit when you spend $98.99 or less.

  • If you pay your balance in full each month by the payment due date that is on your statement, you can avoid paying interest.
  • Or, make minimum monthly payments, or any additional amount of your choosing, until you've paid off your balance according to your standard account terms. Please note, interest charges may apply.
  • We'll send you email reminders when your payments are due. You can also keep track of your account and view your statements online at any time.

About PayPal Credit

  • PayPal Credit is a reusable credit line available on purchases at thousands of stores that accept PayPal. It's also available for purchases on eBay and exclusively at thousands of other online stores. Plus, it comes with the same security and flexibility you trust from PayPal.
  • If approved, we start you off with a minimum credit line of at least $250. See FAQs for more info.
  • For New Accounts: Variable Purchase APR is 25.49%. The APR is accurate as of 6/1/2018 and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate (as defined in your credit card agreement). Minimum interest charge is $2.00. See Terms and Conditions tab for more info.
  • If you miss a payment your late fee could be up to $38, even less if it's your first time. See FAQs for more info.

Please wait...