Eighty degrees is the cutoff for Caleb. His IEP clearly states that at that temperature or higher, he can only be outside for 10 minutes and even then he needs to be monitored. I'm thinking as I write this that Caleb may have crossed the line from having special needs to being medically fragile.
According to some of my friends who are athletes in Special Olympics, when they hear the word 'retard' being used in that context, they feel hurt, anger, sadness, disgust -- and I even heard "It's like a knife cutting into my heart."
This week's Chicken Soup For The Soul Moment is about a boy who inspires through his participation in the Special Olympics. Ian Shepherd participates in the Special Olympics not only for himself but to help inspire and teach other athletes.
I was born with cerebral palsy because I did not get oxygen for five minutes at birth. When I was just a few days old, the doctors told my parents that there was a very good chance that I would never sit up or swallow. The doctors were wrong.
When the people we entrust with our health and wellbeing use the term "retarded," they grant legitimacy to a word that has been deemed offensive by the culture at large. They cause harm to the very people they have pledged to heal.
When a student walked past my brother and yelled the "r-word" (retard) at Kevin and his classmates, I knew I had to stand up for my brother. I avoided physical confrontation, but I used my most powerful weapon -- my voice.