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UMSL students want people to 'Spread the Word to End the Word'

Language is the form of verbal communication that has been used for centuries. Although language itself has been around for hundreds of years, the words and their meaning or implication have changed over time. How one word is used may change from generation to generation, and in some cases the change is absolutely necessary.

The word “retard” or “retarded” may have once been used in a clinical sense. Although it arguably carried with it a negative connotation in the past, it certainly does so today. It is used as a slang term for something or someone that is stupid or dim-witted. Referencing an individual with an intellectual impairment in such a way is something that students at The University of Missouri St. Louis want to put a stop to.

Students and faculty at UMSL raised awareness for disabilities as a part of “Spread the Word to End the Word” on Wednesday, March 5. Professor April Regester said that the initiative is already having a noticeable effect. The campaign isn’t just focused on St. Louis either, with approximately 70 schools participating statewide to eliminate the “R-word” from today’s vocabulary.

An intellectual impairment is a part of what makes an individual unique, just as a religious conviction or cultural background does. This isn’t to say that a disability of this type doesn’t affect an individual’s life. When it impairs the ability to earn a living, an individual can apply for Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income.

Both of these federal programs help provide cash and medical benefits to those with an intellectual impairment, but the road to approval isn’t always easy. Many individuals even experience a denial of their initial application.

A SSD attorney in St. Louis will combine both legal training and experience with the Social Security Administration to help an applicant navigate the complex process.

Source: CBS St. Louis, “Missouri Schools Take Pledge to End the “R-Word,’” Allison Blood, March 5, 2014

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