The “R” Word

I was at the local quick shop this morning to get my big cup of Diet Dr. Pepper. It is my favorite! As I was standing at the counter getting the lid for my big cup, a woman was standing next to me getting a lid. I watched her pick the wrong lid twice. She looked at me and said “oh my god, am I retarded or what?”

I don’t know what my facial expression was, but my internal voice was yelling at me to take a deep breath and walk away. Just walk away. The jolt of that R word was horrible. I wanted to yell at her, but I’m not sure what I would say or that she would even care to understand. It rolled off her tongue so easily. I paid for my soda, got in my car, and took some deep breaths.

What bothers me about that word is that it is used to convey stupidity. That if one is “retarded”, they are stupid and incapable.

Brandon’s IQ can not be reliably tested due to his limited communication skills. These limited skills are a result of his autism. One might think he has a low IQ, but let me list a few things he can do:

  • He figured out how to order 3 digital copies of Toy Story (and two DVDs that were delivered in the mail) before we figured out what was going on.
  • He can find any animal on the internet and will ask for help if he can’t spell the word.
  • Brandon can complete a 100-300 piece puzzle without knowing the the final result will look like.
  • He keeps his room organized and knows where everything is. He has a system…do not mess with the system.
  • He can put his clean clothes away (maybe he should teach his brothers that skill).
  • Brandon knows every single stuffed animal at Cabelas. Every single one.
  • He can dress himself.
  • He can make himself a snack of popcorn or melted cheese in a bowl.
  • Brandon will let Steve know when he wants help shaving or needs his nails clipped.
  • He can very easily find one of the hundreds of songs on his iPod.
  • He is really, really, really good at Mario Kart.
  • Brandon can navigate through his school independently.
  • He know exactly where the cookie cakes and pepperoni are at the grocery store.
  • He can read all of his Little Critters books.
  • Brandon will pick up his trash as well as others.
  • He picks up after himself after meals.
  • He knows exactly where the Skittles are hidden, even though we change the hiding spot every week or so.
  • He always asks for help if he needs it.

And you know what else he can do? He can find the right lid for his soda at the quick shop.

He also doesn’t call people names or make fun of those who are different from him. We could all take a lesson from Brandon about that.

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