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Events Raise Awareness for Special Education Students

Different organizations and clubs are working toward eliminating derogatory vocabulary and building recognition for people with disabilities.

Senior+Megan+Durell+teaches+special+education+students.
Senior Megan Durell teaches special education students.

Senior Megan Durell teaches special education students.

Leah Graham

Leah Graham

Senior Megan Durell teaches special education students.

Kaitlyn Bogdanovich, Source Editor

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On March 14 the Special Olympics World Winter Games officially began. This year the games are being held in Austria, featuring thousands of athletes from all around the world. The Special Olympics are the world’s largest sports organization for people with physical disabilities. Some of the sports featured are basketball, alpine skiing, volleyball and golf.
“I definitely think Special Olympics are super super important. That is because they give people the opportunity to be a part of something like a team,” senior Megan Durell said.
The Special Olympics works to spread acceptance throughout the world with trainings, competitions, health screenings and fundraising events.
While those all over the world are working and participating in the Special Olympics, students are taking part in another organization to help raise awareness for those with disabilities. Spread the Word to End the Word is a national campaign organized to help spread awareness to try to end the use of “retard.” This word has been used as a derogatory synonym for “dumb” or “stupid” for many years.
“People do not try and understand others. I find it completely offensive and insensitive to put down a group of people,” senior Brianna Zuhl said.
One of the main goals for this organization is to replace the R-word with a different one: respect. The term was once used as a medical term, but over the years became a taunt to put people with disabilities down. Many different websites offer people the opportunity to take the pledge and help end the use of this word. “I believe awareness is the key to knowledge. The more people communicate, the more other people become aware. Then we can all help Spread The Word To End The Word,” special education teacher Jeff Uberti said.
Student to Student has also been raising awareness for kids with disabilities. Club members work with these students and participate in different activities with them to help them feel more included.
“I joined because after doing a year of LINK class I became really interested in helping special ed kids, so I wanted to be more involved with them out of school and Student to Student,” junior Caitlin Smith said. “Deleting this word from everyone’s vocab means a lot to me because the kids I work with have had this used to describe them but they are just like us.”
Student to Student was formed two years ago.
“Myself and a former THS student, Bobby Hahn, created the club when I was a sophomore. I have always been a part of it,” Durell said.
The club recently became a class. Members of the class work with students with disabilities on different everyday activities.
“I plan on majoring in Special Education and Intervention Specialist at BGSU next year; it is a big passion of mine,” Durell said. “Most people do not see the damage they do when they carelessly throw around the R-word but it is time the use of this word came to an end and we start thinking before we speak.”

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Events Raise Awareness for Special Education Students