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Bar The R-Word

Last week, I was in Idaho at the Special Olympics Youth Activation Summit. Well, when I was there, we talked a lot about how people use the word “retard” in really insensitive ways. We talked about how it effects other people, how much it hurts, and most important, how to STOP this from happening.

The r-word hurts. Even though many people are trying to keep others from saying it, it’s a big part of many kids’ vocabulary. I remember when we did our first session on trying to stop it from spreading, a man in our group said that it’s set in stone in our minds, and that some people say it without even trying to. I think that this is true, but horrible. I don’t think that it has to be, it just is.

We also talked about how the r-word is supposed to be for doctors to use. That’s how it was developed. It’s not acceptable that we turned something for medical uses into something that is an insult.

The Special Olympics’ site is raising awareness by asking others to make videos, write songs, or speak to others about the r-word. These are a couple  videos I liked. In the next few weeks, I’m going to be doing some work to “curb the word” as my friend Noah’s mom says. I’ll let you know what I’m up to as I plan. In the meantime, tell me what you think kids can do to prevent others from using this word in such a negative way.



Australian Bush Fire

Today I read about a bush fire in Victoria Australia, where Jenny Luca from Working together 2 Make a Difference lives. It started on Saturday, February 7th and so far authorities have reported 173 people killed. The number of deaths is supposed to rise to about 200 people  because all of the homes and buildings have not been checked yet.

I am hoping to spread lots of awarenessabout this and also to create some support for the people who live there along with Jenny Luca and her class. She is asking that you go here to donate money to help rebuild homes, schools, and the community that were destroyed in the fire.

This means so much to me because last year, I Skyped with Jenny Luca and her class, and made some friends through email and I really hope I can make a difference for them.


Today I read a little bit more about what the Special Olympics is doing for people with disibilities. I read about a law that advocates for people with disabilities are trying to get passed. It’s called the Fitness and Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities Act. This act is like the Title IX Act which gave girls equal treatment in school sports, but this time it’s for students with disabilities. I’m not so sure that this is a good thing yet because it could be unfair in some ways.  For example, if you are in a running competition, people with wheelchairs could end up competing against people on foot which gives them an advantage.

I also read and watched some more on the CRPD. The CRPD is working for …

  • The right to make one’s own decisions
  • The right to live in the community of one’s choice
  • The right for equality and protection from discrimination
  • The right to respect for physical & mental integrity
  • The right to freedom from torture, violent exploitation and abuse
  • The right to healthcare and to free and informed consent in health services
  • The right to education
  • The right to protection and safety during situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies
  • The right to vote and to participate in public & cultural life
  • The right to liberty of movement and nationality
  • The right to personal mobility (access to mobility devices and training)
  • The right to work, and to an adequate standard of living
  • The right to privacy
  • The right to access to justice
  • The right to freedom of expression and opinion
  • The right to habilitation & rehabilitation
  • The right to receive information in accessible formats
  • The right to marry and to divorce, and to share equally in child custody
  • The right to procreate, & the right to obtain contraception
  • The right to sign contracts, and own and inherit property
  • The right to accessible public transit and public accommodations

When I was reading this I was wondering why we need laws like this to protect people with disabilities because we are all humans and are all equal. Later, I learned that without these laws, it’s possible that some people might treat kids and adults with disabilities poorly. We need laws like this to stop that from happening. But I really want to know from you: do you think we need these laws or not? Please leave me a comment. I’m learning a lot from what I’m reading and from people who comment and email me.

Human Rights and the CRPD

The CRPD is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Every time a country ratifies this convention, they agree to:

  • Improve laws and make laws that protect the human rights of the disabled
  • Enforce laws
  • Protect people with disabilities
  • Educate the public about human rights
  • Involve people with disabilities in decisions
  • Tell the United Nations what they are doing for people with disabilities

All people with disabilities have the right to make their own decisions about their lives. We all have human rights and everyone deserves to have them protected. So I kinda wonder why my country hasn’t ratified this convention yet.

Please tell me what you think.

The Way We Treat People With Intellectual Disabilities

Today I started doing some reading so I can learn more about the Special Olympics before I go to Idaho. Most of what I read was about how people with intellectual disabilities are often treated in our communities. The things that I read were very informational and they really made me think .

I learned that there are different models for thinking about the way we treat people with intellectual disabilities. The Charity Model of Disability takes place when people try to feel sorry for or take extra care of people who have these disabilities. I learned that we shouldn’t feel bad for or try to take care of people with intellectual disabilities because it takes their power away. We should treat everyone equally, even if they’re different from us because people with disibilities are just as powerful as the next person.

Sometimes poeple think that intellectual disabilities are a sickness like the flu or cancer. This is called the Medical Model. When this happens, it leads to people focusing on a way to fix what they see as a health problem, instead of changing attitudes and treating people all as equals.

Both of these reactions isolate people with disabilities in their homes, hospitals, or institutions rather than simply welcoming them into the world. There is a way to do this though–by practicing the Social Model. The Social Model helps people with disabilities be accepted as regular people who make important contributions to their families and communities. It is the respectful way to treat people, and I like that.

The Special Olympics

“Let me win. But if I cannot  win, let me be brave in the attempt.”- The Special Olympics Athlete’s Oath

I think that quote is important to think of whenever you are competing in something. The Special Olympics is a non profit organization that was founded in 1968 and is held all over the world. They want to help kids and adults with intellectual disbilities to become healthier. I’ll be spending some time this year focusing on this because I was asked to go to Idaho this year, where the Special Olympics World Games are to attend the Global Youth Summit that  is linked to this organization.

One of the things I’ve learned a lot about over the last year is that some nonprofits really try to make a place for kids who want to make a difference. When they do this, it helps us feel more welcome and this way, we might want to help that group for a long time. The Special Olympics is like this, and I am really excited that Andrea Kahn called me and asked me if I would like to join the Global Youth Summit. I get to go there in February, and I plan to spend this much learning as much as I can about how I can serve this organization well. I plan to blog about what I learn here and about my experiences at the Global Youth Summit too.

I also plan to start sharing ideas for how kids can make a difference doing small things as often as I can. I’m learning a lot about this, and I hope that I can learn more but connecting to others who do the same thing.

Thank You to Those Who Make a Difference!

Over the last few weeks, a lot of people have been doing things to make a difference for an organization that I care about a lot. It’s called Compass House. During my December challenge, Kate Ellis and Theresa Gray each pledged to make a difference for them, and I was really grateful when they told me they were making some great donations. Mrs. VanEtten’s seventh graders also did a HUGE clothing drive for them too, which was really impressive AND inspiring.

I know I haven’t been blogging a lot lately. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do with my blog and with my service work. I’m learning more about the different ways in which people use blogs, and I have some ideas about what I want to do here for the next year. I like the idea of trying to use my blog as a way to share ideas for how people could do small things to make a difference for ANY cause.

Next month, I will be going to Idaho to take part in the Special Olympics World Games. There are so many great things that kids and grown ups can do to make a difference for this organization. I plan to use this month to blog about what I am learning about the Special Olympics. I also want to share some ideas that anyone can use if they want to make a difference for a cause they care about.