Heather McEntarfer is one mom who thinks the campaign to end the use of the “r-word” is absolutely important. The mama from Fredonia, New York got a major surprise—and not in a good way—when she saw her two-year-old son Evan’s official state paperwork. McEntarfer’s son has Down syndrome, but his paperwork describes him as “mentally retarded.” And she was not having it—nor should she have to.

Even though it may seem like the “r-word” isn’t part of anyone’s modern-day vocab anymore, apparently, that isn’t the case. McEntarfer went into full-on mama bear mode when she saw the word describing her son—and on official paperwork, no less!—and did something about it. This determined mama lodged a complaint with the state against the use of the “r-word.”

Not only did McEntarfer lodge a complaint, but her efforts were rewarded. Yep, pointing out the mega-problem with using the word “retarded” resulted in her state changing the term to “intellectual developmental disability.”

March 21 marks World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. And that means issues surrounding appropriate and respectful language use are about to get a spotlight. McEntarfer certainly isn’t the only person campaigning to end the use of the “r-word.” The organization R-Word: Spread the Word to End the Word has been working hard to help everyone understand that using the “r-word” just isn’t acceptable. Visit their website and pledge to never use the word. As of now, more than 764,600 people have!

Are you planning on signing the pledge to stop the use of the “R-word?” Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

—Erica Loop

Featured photo: Nathan Anderson via Unsplash


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