New Raymer may be a small town quite a distance from Fort Collins, but visiting Prairie School was quite worth the road trip!
The students, aged Kindergarten to high school Seniors, were all polite, helpful, supportive, and attentive.
Awesome in Action enjoyed presenting to the lower grades (K-5th), using the Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign.
The introduction for Nick, written by 5th grader, Simon, could not have been better! Here Nick is giving Simon “knuckles” after the speech.
The older grade kids helped us arrange their beautiful auditorium in order to experience life from Nick’s point of view in the “Walk in My Shoes” presentation
The students tried out Nick’s speech device by having conversations with their peers using only the assistive technology.
They also read Nick’s book, Helping in Action, and discussed proper disability etiquette.
Finally, the students each tried to get through a door , as well as maneuver around some obstacles, in a manual wheelchair. Here is our dedicated volunteer, Thalia, giving the wheelchair a try after the presentations.
A big Thank You to our new friend, Kaitlyn Birdsall, an amazing teacher who makes the drive every day from Fort Collins to teach in New Raymer; and who entertains Nick’s every whim…including providing him with a “Smelling Hotdog” after the presentations.
We loved spending time with all of the students and teachers of Prairie school! Thank you for inviting us to present to your school!
I like to do many activities that other able-bodied people do, it may look a little different and take a bit more support; but I have just as much fun as you.
One thing that can stop me in my tracks, though, is one little word that begins with the letter “R.”. The word “retard” is a hurtful word that means more than what many think it does. It’s not a light word to be thrown about among friends. It is a word that carries a lot of weight.
Just like anyone else, I don’t like to be labeled or referred to as anything less than the person who I am. When I hear the word, “Retard,” it makes me feel sad and hurt. It makes me feel like my power has been taken away; like I cannot do all of the things that I would like to. It makes me feel angry and resentful of the people that use it with such carelessness.
I don’t like to feel all of these negative emotions. I like to be positive and try my best. I like to believe we are only limited by our own imaginations. I like to think that if others truly understood the impact the word “retard” can have, they would stop using it, Completely; and not just brush away the concerns of the differently-abled by explaining they “didn’t mean it in that way.”
To all of those who use the r-word regularly,I have one simple request:
Think before you speak.
We all live in one community, one world, and we can make it better if we show each other the same amount of respect that we expect for ourselves and our loved ones. We all need to be aware of the power the words we chose to use can have.
Spread the Word to End the Word!