Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 for 21: The "R" Word Controversy
Being in the special needs community for almost 8 years now, I am fully aware of all the 'Politically Correct' lingo that should be used. You know, you say "a child with Down syndrome", not a "Down syndrome child." And there are also certain words which just are not supposed to be said, the word "retard" being at the top of the list.

It took some getting used to for me, because my family has never been very "politically correct" :).

Over the years I've seen the issues that come up when certain popular individuals use the "R" word, when someone who has a child with DS has a friend say this word in a conversation, or when it's use is discussed on a forum. I've never said much about it, because I think a lot of people will have a problem with my view on it.

Last week though, Ann Coulter called President Obama a "retard" on Twitter. There has been a ton of outrage over her use of the "R" word. So, I feel it's time that I say something. I fully expect people to disagree with me, but I'm completely fine with that.

First and foremost, the First Amendment to the Constitution gives us, as Americans, freedom of speech. We should all have the freedom to use whatever words we want to. If someone is offended by a word, then apologize. But it should not be turned into this national campaign to "ban" the use of certain words. That's simply against the first amendment.

When people go on "campaigns" to stop the use of a word, promote "gay rights", advocate for "women's rights", etc, it becomes something that is part of the problem that our nation is in - people thinking that government is the answer.

Besides the above reasons as to why the "R" word should not be an issue, let's look at a little more technical things.

What is the definition of the word "retard"? According to Merriam-Websters it is:

to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.

When I think of this word, I think of it's true meaning. Just like the medical books will use it for "retarded growth" (slow growth) or "mental retardation" (slow mental development).

 I wonder if people who have children with Down syndrome get so upset about the use of this word, because they don't want to accept the fact that their child with Down syndrome does learn at a slower level? Or often times do grow/mature at a slower rate? I know full well that my brother, O, learns at a much slower pace than his twin sister who does not have DS. Is there something bad about that? No, not at all.

Another way people explain this word is that it refers to individuals with a lower I.Q. This again brings me to the point above. If my brother has a lower I.Q., does it matter? No, it doesn't. Just because someone may have a lower I.Q. does not mean they are stupid.

I've often heard that if someone says the word "retard," they are insulting your child or loved one with DS because they are calling them "stupid" or "worthless." You know what, I don't think so. I don't view my brother with DS as "stupid" or "worthless," so I don't even equate that to him. Just because someone uses this word that has been used in correlation with special needs in a way other than the proper use, does not mean they are "putting down" someone with special needs.

Not that I am defending Ann Coulter here at all, but I think she brought up an interesting point when she was discussing this on the Piers Morgan show. I have no problem with the word "retard" being used with the definition above. Languages do change though, so *if* the word does not mean the above definition (I'm not saying it does), and society has changed it to meaning "loser", then let go of the word. It's not applying to your child. It's being applied to something totally different!

There's been a few times over the years that I or my family have encountered someone using the "R" word in their conversation with us. What do we do with it? Do we get all angry or tweaked out about it? No, we use it as a chance to educate them. We make it a light thing, because I don't want them to feel bad for using the word around me, because it doesn't offend me. We tell them it does offend a lot of people. And we also tell them the actual meaning of the word (slow) and how it's not really that bad of a thing.

Do I go around saying the word all the time? No, because I know it causes great offense in the special needs community.

My brother is not stupid. He's a smart little guy, even though he may have a lower I.Q. (could care less about I.Q. tests though) or learn things at a slower rate.

Bottom line though, I think people need to be less sensitive. It's simply a word.  When people read into the motives as to why an individual would use a certain word (to hurt the special needs community), it gets us into all sorts of problems.

Let the word go. Don't let it offend you. Educate people.

Country Girl Designs 

Monday, October 29, 2012

31 for 21 - New

     New lives in the midst of our busy lives . . .

    My mom is leaving tomorrow to head back to CA so much of this evening was spent just hanging out with her . . . cutting stuff up for green salsa, playing a card game and sitting by the campfire. More later, Lord willing.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

31 for 21 - Today . . .

we went to the soccer field as usual for a Sunday game. Our team (Revolution) won today. Here are a few pics of that:

     After the game we went over to our friend's (the Youngs) to record the Change dance that we are working on. You'll just have to wait for the finished music video to be done (my daughters might work on it tomorrow). Anyway, after that we headed back to our house. One of my daughters was sitting in the way back of the truck and managed to snap some great driving home pics.

     Sunset tonight at Liberty Ranch!

   Here is the moon rise over the ranch tonight.

More tomorrow, Lord willing!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 for 21 - Big Boys

   As usual, we had another busy day doing things. So, I am just going to post some pics of a few big bucks I bought the other night. More tomorrow, Lord willing!

Friday, October 26, 2012

31 for 21 - Friends

    Most people have friends. We have some very close friends that have been with us for years. They were at the hospital when I gave birth to my twins (the girl without Down syndrome and the boy with Down syndrome). They were right there looking things up online about Down syndrome for me when I was still in the hospital with little O. They were there to help us along this path of having a child with Down syndrome. They are such close friends that we actually refer to them as family. 
     The Young's run a sign shop and were a big part of the Tulsa Buddy Walk last year and this year. Here is a link to their Facebook page - Tahlequah's Sign Shop

Here are a few pics of various things we have done with these special friends of ours.

    Hair jobs!


Ice skating!

 Yearly pictures!

And, of course, the BUDDY WALK!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 for 21 - What A Blessed Life

    I tell my kids many ties that they are so blessed to grow up on a ranch like we have. It is so nice to be able to go outside and enjoy the beautiful area we live in. It is so nice to see trees, grass and animals everyday. The other day, little O and a few of his sisters went outside with our last Bullmastiffs, The weather was perfect, the sun was shining bright . Here are a few pics just to show how "normal" a little boy with Down syndrome is!
    Hiding behind a tree with sister!

    This is Canuck, the last Bullastiff that we have right now.

    Big sister, Ezriyah, with her "pup"!

     O, standing in the pasture.

    It seems as if the cow is looking at the kidos in the field to figure out what they are doing.

My little man with Down syndrome - WHAT A BLESSING!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 for 21 - What You Can DO!

   I think from the posts I have been doing this month, it should be apparent that our lives have not slowed down at all since our little blessing with Down syndrome has entered our lives. We feel that he is a BG blessing and an enhancement to our lives.
    As I was sitting here wondering what to write about today, I was reminded that many years ago (almost 8), I was told that my life would be different having a son with Down syndrome. I was told how he wouldn't walk at the same age as "normal" children. I was told that he would need WAY more work than "normal children. I was told a bunch of things that he wouldn't be able to do. I was given a very grime and sad picture as I sat in the hospital just days after giving birth to him.
    Well, being the family that we are - one that likes challenges, one that doesn't mind if things take a little bit of hard work, one that likes to try to overcome obstacles, one that goes against the grain of society in general - we set out to raise our little boy with Down syndrome in the best way that we felt we could. Little did we realize that there was SO much that we COULD do with him. Okay, so maybe there was a little extra work along the way, but it has been totally worth it.
     Because we were learning so much, we decided to put our thoughts and the information from others into a book that we called Down Syndrome - What You CAN Do. It is about 600 pages long and has lots and lots of info in it. We published it through an online publisher called lulu.com that prints the books as they are ordered. The little bit that we make on the books usually goes back into either buying more books that we have handed out or it has been used in other ways to promote the book. You can check it out here: Down Syndrome - What You CAN Do

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 for 21 - Just an Ordinary Day . . .

     I thought I would put up another picture post about things from around the ranch. Our morning started with the biggest stick bug we have ever seen. It was right on the milk room door. That is my 18 year old daughter's hand next to it! It was so big the kids were calling it a "branch bug"!

    This is Cougar, the resident male cat. He is the dad to several kitties that are running around this ranch right now! We lost his dad last year to lyme disease.

     This is Cuddles. She is an outside and inside kitty. Some nights she is in and some she is out. I think she is a good mouser.

    Here are some pictures of some of the beautiful chocolate Muscovies that were hatched out here this past year. There are 6 or 7 of them that are found hanging out in one of the hay trailers every morning. They have even begun to lay a clutch of eggs in the hay trailer. One of my daughters got a few pics of them flying today.

  Here is a picture of the red gate that goes out to the 40 acres. We close this most nights to keep the goats and sheep in when the early morning comes.

    A look towards the buck pen. Pretty cool wooden fence that one of my sons put up, huh?

    Martha, one of the resident female llamas. Her and the other 2 llamas have been staying out in the 40 at night lately. I guess there are enough hickory nuts and leaves out there to keep them full.

    Fall pictures are beautiful!

    One of the bottle Finn ewes that have grown up on our ranch. This one is bred for February lambs.